Nov 29, 2012

Personalized Christmas Ornaments

I get a lot of questions in my inbox.  I try really hard to stay on top of them and respond and I love getting your messages.  Last week was no different, well, except there were a few more messages than normal.  If you remember, I posted a picture of an ornament I made and was giving away to a few lucky readers.  After that post went live, my inbox did too.  I had repeating messages asking me how I made it, well, I'll show you.  Be warned though, they are kind of addicting.  Here's the exact ornament just in case you don't remember it...

Supplies Needed:

Polymer Clay, for this one I used Pearl Sculpey Clay with a small piece of red for the heart
Circle cookie or biscuit cutter
Paint, I use a dark brown
Poly urethane (not shown)
Sharp tool, I use a paper piercer from Lasting Impressions
Ribbon and embellishments (not shown)
paint brush (not shown)
Also keep on hand some water and paper towels (not shown)

Let's get started and be sure to stick with me to the end because I'll show some other ideas you can do using the same techniques.

Step 1:  Pick out your stamp.  I picked up my Angel stamp at Hobby Lobby.  Then, take a chunk of clay and condition it.  If you've never worked with polymer clay before conditioning just means you are going to knead it and squish it for a few minutes to soften it up really well.  Once it is soften, flatten it out and smooth as much as possible.  

Step 2:  Carefully but firmly push your stamp into your clay.  Depending on the softness of your clay will depend on how hard you need to push.  You want to leave a good impression but you also don't want it to be a really deep imprint either.  

When I was done stamping into my clay, it looked like the photo above.

Step 3:  Take your circle cutter - I used a biscuit cutter - and center it around your design and then cut your clay into a circle.  (I know mine was already in a circle but it just came that way when I flattened my clay, the cutter made the circle more uniform)

Here it is stamped and cut out.  We're getting there!

Step 4:  Next, grab your piercing tool.  Carefully poke small holes all along your stamped design.  You could totally by pass this step but I like the extra touch and I think it helps the paint stick into the design.

When you are done with step 4 it will look like the above photo.

Step 5:  Take a very tiny amount of red clay and condition it, then shape a small heart and press it in place onto your angel.

Step 6:  NOT SHOWN - Cook your clay in a pre-heated oven at 275 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Step 7:  Next, paint your design with the brown paint - don't use black - black paint tends to stain the clay.  So, brush on the paint and then, quickly before the paint dries, take a damp paper towel and wipe off the paint.  You want the paint to stay in the grooves of the design but it should come off of every where else.  

When you have removed all the paint it should look like the photo above.  Just enough paint to define the design.

Step 8:  Next, paint on a coat, or two, of polyurethane and let dry

Step 9:   Finish off your ornament with ribbons and embellishment as desired.  

Fun Right!  Ok, so what are some other things you can do to dress them up and personalize them?  Well, here's some more ideas....

Idea 1:  Before you add the coat of polyurethane, paint on some color.  I love using Lumiere.  It's an iridescent looking metallic acrylic item that has some sparkle it.  You can paint it on just like other paints.  It's cool.  It comes in lots of different colors.  You can see more samples of ornaments where I used it below. 

Idea 2:  before baking your clay, after your front is designed, add a holiday greeting to the back

Idea 3:  Use other colors of clay.  Red, green, blue, anything goes.  If you use a colored clay, think about using a light colored paint like white so your design will show well.

Idea 4:  Personalize the back of the ornament with a family name and give them as gifts or use them as personalized tags for gifts.

Idea 5:  Add some cute little embellishments like hanging beads and such.  This also shows a message on the back.

just a cute tree

Idea 6:  Use multiple colors of paint or Lumiere to paint your stamped design.  Again, this has to be done before you add the polyurethane.  

Idea 7:  Similar to the others, only this one shows that you can add a family name or message to the front instead of the back.

So, there you have it - have fun and email me if you have questions.

Oh, and should you want to by pass the whole creative process, I do have these in my Etsy shop and I'm happy to do custom orders!  Plus, good news.  I'm now excepting credit cards in my shop so no need to go through Paypal if you don't want too!