crafts

Christmas Crafts: Making Clay Tree Decorations

A couple of months ago I began organising an Advent Craft Swap. I tagged a few people I thought might be interested and they tagged a few more. Some strangers got in touch too and pretty soon I had more than enough takers to get the swap up and running. I even had to turn several people away, which I hated doing. If you are one of the lovely ladies taking part, thanks so much for joining in on the spontaneous idea I had one day in September in a pre-back-to-work panic about sacrificing my creativitiy for a paycheque.

The craft swap is up and running at the moment. Check out the photos over on Instagram under #AdventCraftSwap if you like. 

Through organising the swap I discovered several Instagram feeds I wasn’t aware of before. Among them I encountered Gathered Threads , a gorgeous blog by Janice on living simply and creatively. Over on Instagram a couple of weeks ago I saw a photo of white clay stars that Janice was making, imprinted with leaves and berries. I loved the idea and got straight to work on a version of my own, once I had checked with Janiece that she was ok with me being a copycat. The boys had a pack of modelling clay open and in danger of drying out. This seemed like the ideal  way to use it up.

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I enjoy all my craft projects and my renovations, but I really do like a good quick and pretty craft every so often. This one ticked all the right boxes – for Christmas but not over the top, easy to prepare, everything I needed within easy reach, a few simple steps from start to finish, involving a bit of foraging and creating something I hadn’t made before.

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Here is what I used for mine and how I went about making them.

Modelling clay

Christmassy foliage and berries – I used holly, pine needles and bark, all from the garden

A cookie cutter  – I used a star-shaped one

A rolling pin

A chop stick

Baking parchment

Very fine glitter powder

A soft paintbrush

Time needed: 15 minutes plus drying time

I began by rolling out the modelling clay on the baking parchment to about 1cm in thickness, making sure to roll as evenly as possible.

I lay the foliage and berries and bark (rough side down) on the modelling clay and pressed them down firmly to make an imprint.

Once I had removed the leaves, needles, berries and bark from the clay, I studied the pattern and chose the sections I liked best, then cut star shapes from those. I love the structure that the leaves and berries lend to the clay. It is like a little bit of nature has been captured, fossil-like, in these decorations.

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The chop stick was the perfect size to poke a hole in the star for threading a ribbon through.

Using very fine glitter powder (ok, ok, so it was glitzy eyeshadow powder I never use) I painted the stars, making sure to get the glitter into every crevice of the imprints.

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All that was left to do after that was leave the stars to air dry at room temperature for 2-3 days. When it comes time to put up the tree in a couple of weeks, I’ll thread a ribbon or some bakers’ twine through the hole in each star and add a touch a sparkle to this year’s tree.

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