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Once again it is time for the 2018 Holiday Ornament Exchange! I made my partner, Chelsea of Making Manzanita, this farmhouse Evergreen Sprig Polymer Clay Ornament for her tree. For more ornament tutorials see my Holiday page.
I needed some inspiration this time around. When that happens I just go walk the stores until something hits me. I saw this sweet Aspen Cove white bisque type ornament at Hobby Lobby and I knew it was the type of ornament I was going to make!
The simplicity and clean lines of this piece was a perfect match with the farmhouse style Chelsea loves. I added some beads and an evergreen sprig to give it my own twist and so it will have a more rustic feel to it.
The Hobby Lobby version was made from some type of ceramic material. I went with polymer clay thinking it would be the simplest way to go. I thought molding and working with this clay would be somewhat simple. Just mold, bake and paint.
It turned out to be pretty easy but there are some precautions you need to take while handling and baking this substance. Polymer clay is basically a plastic, similar to vinyl. So you really want to clean up any residue and take precautions not to burn it when baking in your home oven.
Let me walk you through the steps to make this rustic ornament.
Evergreen Sprig Polymer Clay Ornament
- Kato Polymer Clay: 2-White
- Clay Tools
- Clay Roller and Plastic Mat
- Cookie Cutter or Drinking Glass for Round Shape
- Acrylic Paint: Anita’s All Purpose in Olive Green, Decoart in Avocado
- Jute Twine String
- Floral Evergreen Sprig
- Wood Beads: 3/4 inch with 1/8 inch hole
- 1-2 pieces of Ceramic Tile for Flooring or Bath
- Old Sheet Pan
- Tin Foil Sheet or 2 Foil Pie Pans
- Sandpaper or Fingernail File: Fine to Medium
- Hot Glue & Gun
- Floral Wire
Unwrap the clay and roll it out thin. Work the clay with your hands. The heat from your hands will allow the clay to be more pliable.
Join the two clay bricks by smooshing them together and roll them out until they are one. Make the thickness of the ornament to be 2/8- inch thick.
Use a cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut a circle out of the clay. The circle is size 3 2/8 inch wide. Smooth and shape the clay to be even and flat as possible. Smooth the edges. You can wet your fingers with water to help smooth the clay.
Use a clay tool to make a hole in the top of the ornament. Push the tool through the clay and then flip it over and push it back through the same hole. Using a pointed clay tool make lines and dots for the evergreen sprig you will be painting on the clay. Smooth any rough edges down with fingers.
I read a bunch of articles by polymer clay artists and their methods for baking. The brand Kato Polymer Clay is baked at 300 degrees. You should use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is the correct heat it says it is. I did not have one so I used a tent type method so as not to burn the clay.
NOTE: Check your polymer clay brand for baking temperature. They all have different heat settings. Do not cook food on anything that came in contact with the polymer clay without thoroughly scrubbing and washing them first. The residue from the polymer will linger.
If you burn the clay in the oven it could cause a release of toxic fumes and possibly leave residue on your oven. Please note these can be harmful to children and pets. Make sure the room is well ventilated. I used an old plastic baking mat, an old sheet pan and then threw them away after I used them. I also have a self-cleaning oven so I ran the cycle when I was finished baking the ornament. See more on polymer clay safety here.
I preheated an old baking sheet with two subway tiles lying in the center to 300 degrees. (I used leftover subway tile I had from my kitchen makeover). I cut a plain piece of printer paper into a square and placed the polymer clay in the center. Add the paper with the clay on top to the top of the tile pieces. Use a sheet of tin foil to make a tent over the top of the tile. Bake for 30 minutes.
NOTE: You could use two foil pie pans inverted with the tile and clay inside like a tent. I just used what I had to make a tent. The foil tent will help prevent the clay from burning.
Remove the clay from the oven and let it cool completely. The Kato clay had a shiny gloss look to it after it was baked. I took sandpaper to sand off the top layer and make it a matte finish. Rinse the ornament with water when you are done the sanding the hardened clay. Rinsing the ornament will remove all of the dust. Dry the ornament off.
Paint thin evergreen needles on the clay on both sides of the ornament. Let it dry completely.
Glue twine to a floral evergreen sprig as a hanger. Wrap the twine around the sprig and make a loop. Glue the loop down to the twine.
Add a 30-inch strip of twine through the ornament hole.
Pull the twine ends until they are even. Add the evergreen spring to the twine. Add a small strip of floral wire and fold it over both pieces of twine. Pull the wire through a wood bead. This will add both ends of twine through the bead. Repeat with four beads. Tie the ends of the twine string making a loop as a hanger and that’s it! Hang the ornament on your tree and enjoy!
I am so thrilled with how this ornament turned out! I hope Chelsea will love it too!