And today… Sculpey! Or any polymer clay (Fimo, Sculpey, etc.). These ornaments are pretty easy to make. The list of materials is very long, but it’s not all strictly necessary.
- I used emerald, gold, silver and red Sculpey III and green, cadmium red, gold, silver, white, burnt umber, fuschia, cobalt blue, and cadmium yellow Sculpey Premo. I only used the Sculpey III for the glass balls, it’s simply not strong enough once baked for thin or delicate work.
- Pasta roller. Not necessary, unless polymer clay is a big hobby of yours. You can use a smooth tumbler or glass jar dusted with cornstarch.
- I used baby powder, but ordinary cornstarch would do. I dusted my fingers with it and my surface so that when rolling it in my fingers and rolling it out, it wouldn’t stick to anything.
- A sharp cutting tool. I used a thin, flexible craft razor but anything that will cut cleanly will work.
- Construction paper, or any other paper to make a template with. I find construction paper is a little stronger and doesn’t bend or move as much.
- Wire or tiny hooks. I would strongly recommend beading wire.
- Wire cutters and pliers.
- A smooth, flat surface. I use the glass insert from a picture frame. You could use a spare cutting mat (do not use for food after), a ceramic tile, etc.
- Toothpicks! Not necessary, but very, very handy.
- Pen or pencil for making your templates.
- Ruler. Not necessary, but extremely helpful.
- Oven capable of 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not microwave polymer clay. Whatever clay you use will have baking instructions on it.
- High gloss interior varnish, not necessary but makes the glass balls look better.
- Paintbrush for the varnish.
- Scissors for the paper
- Hot glue gun. Maybe not necessary, but helpful.
- Super glue, if you want the ornaments to be permanently on the tree and not able to be hung. When dried, polymer clay has a hard time sticking to hot glue gun glue after a while, but will stay very well with super glue.
- Baking sheet.
When putting in either your hook or wire, put it in before you bake anything. If you’re using wire, like I did, use about 3/4 inch of wire and bend it to form a hook AFTER the decorations are baked.
Every oven is different. Polymer clay will burn with just a minute of extra time and is pretty unpleasant when burnt. You may want to do a test bake of scrap clay that’s the same general size and thickness of what you’re actually baking to make sure you know how long to bake for. You can wait and bake everything at once, that’s what I did.
If you need to leave unbaked clay overnight, gently cover with a paper towel or something to keep dust out.
Roll 1/4 inch balls. I made six green, six red, 3 silver and 3 gold.
Insert the wire into the top and bake for 10 minutes. After baking, bend the wire to form a hook. (Obviously that’s a gingerbread man and not a ball, but the idea is the same.)
Varnish and allow to dry. How do you varnish a ball evenly without it sticking to something when you’re done?
Hold them by the wire, paint the varnish on, then hang them to dry.
I made 3 men and 3 women. Draw a template on paper about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch long and cut out.
This is where the baby powder comes in handy. Sprinkle some on your surface and rub it in. Flatten brown into 1/16 inch thick sheet- exact width not important. Just make sure it’s thick enough for the hook to stick into. Place your templates on top and cut around them. This took some time. If you accidentally cut off an arm or something, just put it back in place and smooth the top down and it’ll re-adhere to itself.
Decorate with tiny balls for the eyes and buttons and very thing strips of white for the icing. I used the fuschia, blue and yellow for the eyes, and red and green for the buttons. This is where the toothpick comes in handy. Drop the icing pieces approximately where you want them, and then push them into place and mold them with the toothpicks.
Gently push the wire into the top of the head and bake for 10 minutes. After baking, bend the wire over.
I made 6 1/4 inch silver stars, 6 1/4 inch gold star, and a 1/2 inch silver star for the top. I just drew and cut out templates from my construction paper, then flattened a 1/16 inch sheet of each gold and silver and cut around the templates. I put the wire in the top of the small stars and in the bottom of the 1/2 inch star and baked for 10 minutes. I bent the wire over for hooks on the small stars and left the wire unbent on the larger star so that it could be stuck in the top of the tree.
Then I decorated! If you want to attach them permanently, use super glue. The hot glue can only be helpful if you didn’t push the wire in the middle of the stars or gingerbread men and after baking, the wire fell out. You can reinsert the wire in the hole it came from and hot glue gun over it, like a patch to keep the wire in. While hot glue gun glue will stick well to the yarn of the tree, you’ll find that the polymer clay will just fall right off of it.