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Create Your Own Nature Themed Ornaments

Create Your Own Nature Themed Ornaments main article image
Posted on April 1, 2021 by Jan Hunter

Decorating for a holiday or your favorite season of the year brings fond memories to mind.  But putting it all away in tubs or boxes for a whole year seems a waste at time.  These polymer clay ornaments can stay out all year long…  and even more delightful, are made using files found at Creative Fabrica and a few easy to find materials. 

Polymer clay, in this case, Sculpey, is generally very easy to source through local or online stores and was chosen for this project.  White was used for these ornaments, but other colors could also be used. 

If you plan to use cookie cutters for yours, be sure to purchase another set for baking.  Once the cutter has been used with the polymer clay, don’t use them in the kitchen with food.  Have a surface you can use that is exclusive to clay – and won’t be used with foods or other edible items.  A pasta machine isn’t necessary but is nice if you plan to make quite a few ornaments in one setting as it helps to warm and condition the clay quickly. 

Layered mandala files and zentagle files could be used as well as doodles. Stencil materials included:  silkscreen, stencil material and basic cardstock. 

Tools and supplies

  • Sculpey ®clay – white 8oz will make about a dozen or so medium size ornaments at ¼ inch thick.
  • Cutters –  in different sizes and shapes as desired
  • Acrylic roller
  • Stencil materials, silk screen material, cardstock, acetate stencil material
  • Stencil patterns from Creative Fabrica ( Butterfly 5652403, Maple Leaf Zentangle, Heart Mandela 3968220, Bee Bundle 2, Moroccan Stencil Cut File) other stencils as desired
  • Pasta machine (optional)
  • Ceramic tile or foil covered pan for baking
  • Plastic wrap
  • Straw or bamboo skewer (to make the holes for hanging)
  • Pearl Ex, mica or Pretty Pearls (Bronze)
  • Acrylic paint  (Full body tube paint)
  • Foam brush
  • Decor Foil (Glimmer Foil or WRMK Foil Quill Foils)
  • 1/8 inch off white satin ribbon
  • Printer
  • Electronic die cutting machine and associated software (eclips2 and eCal3 were used for cutting stencils)

Let’s get started

Select the files for your stencils.  A few of the files used here were:
List file and designer with link

The ornaments for this project were a maximum of 2 inches in diameter or smaller.  The smaller intricate butterfly mandala silkscreen stencil did lose some of the details while being washed out, but for the most part, was still usable.  The doodle stencils from the Bee Bundle were quick and easy to wash out due to the bold lines of the drawings.

The cardstock stencil works well with the Pearl EX, but not the foil.  Plastic stencil material worked much better with the clay and foil. 

Choose your designs and make your stencils.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the silkscreen stencils. For the cardstock or stencil film, most of the overall filled designs worked well reduced to approximately 5 inches in width and can be used multiple times.  Just don’t use a wet medium with the cardstock – unless you use an airbrush system – let the stock dry thoroughly before using again. 

Once all your stencils have been prepared, it’s time to get that clay out and ready for use.  Condition a small amount of the clay well.  Working with your hands or rolling in a pasta machine multiple times on 1 or 2.  Clay in this project was not conditioned with a pasta machine.  Repeat as needed, keeping the extra clay in a small plastic bag until needed. 

Once the clay has been sufficiently conditioned and is easy to work with, using the acrylic roller, roll the clay into a flat rectangle approximately ¼ inch thick.  Make sure there are no air bubbles in the clay and the surface is clean.  (White picks up everything including dust on your work surface). 

Before using the silk screen stencils, cut the clay in the shapes of the ornaments in the desired sizes. (For a rounded edge, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and cut with the cutter, remove the plastic wrap and continue to cut the shape using a flexible blade or the cutter)

The silk screen stencils can then be placed directly on the clay, pressing lightly to adhere to the surface so that the design makes contact with the surface of the clay.  Using a cotton swab or dauber, apply a small amount of Pearl Ex onto the screen.  You don’t need to scrub the color into the surface, just daub.  Remove any excess with a paper towel or facial tissue.  Only the first layer of Pearl Ex will adhere to the surface.  Once the coloring has been achieved, remove the stencil. Wash the stencil and dry.    

Add your hanging hole with a small straw (cocktail straws are perfect or a bamboo skewer) and bake according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The cardstock stencils are perfect to use with the Pearl Ex.  You can select just a portion of the design for a small portion of the clay or an overall design and then cut the clay.  Lay the cardstock on the surface of the clay (it will eventually pick up some of the oils in the clay – but the stencil can be recut on your cutting machine as many times as you want).  Apply the Pearl Ex as above and cut the clay as desired. 

Stencil material – the stencil design used for this sample was a purchased stencil.  Using the acrylic roller, lightly press the stencil into the surface of the clay.  The clay shouldn’t rise above the stencil.  Lay a piece of foil across the area you want to foil.  Rub the foil with the acrylic roller until you can see the impression of the stencil in the foil.    When you remove the foil sheet the foil should remain on the clay, leaving the design as shown in the image below.  Some foils adhere better than others.  If your foil isn’t adhering, try using some Deco Art gel transfer medium.  Be sure to wash the stencil quickly so the medium doesn’t dry on your stencil. 

TIP:  If you can’t clean the stencils immediately, have a tub with some warm water in it and lay the stencils in there to soak until you can get to them to clean them.

All ornaments can be baked according to the manufacturer’s directions.  (These ornaments were baked for 15 minutes at 275 degrees F.) Let cool thoroughly before touching.  Some excess Pearl Ex may brush off if it wasn’t removed before baking.  Seal if desired using a glossy glaze for clay.   Once dry, add some thread, twine or ribbon to hang the ornaments as desired. 

We hope you’ll share any makes or inspiration you get from this post.  Please visit Jan’s author page or blog for additional ideas. 

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