So Pretty! Clay Ornaments You Can Make

The other day I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and was lucky enough to see a lovely photo by Rogene Manas, the author of Artful Paper Clay. Rogene was using her mixed-media knowledge and skills to make paper clay ornaments that are as beautiful as the art I’ve come to know her for. Scroll down to see the pieces for yourself and to read Rogene’s description so that you, too, can make beautiful ornaments! ~Cherie

Paper clay ornaments | Rogene Manas,

Paper Clay Ornaments To Make At Home

by Rogene Manas

Paper clay holiday ornaments are fun and easy to create, and make wonderful personalized gifts. I love sketching my ideas and developing them into simple patterns. Then I copy my patterns onto tracing paper so I can transfer them to the clay.

I demonstrate the process for working with clay in my book, Artful Paper Clay, but I’ll go over a few basics here. I begin by rolling paper clay between sheets of plastic to make a slab about 1/8″ inch thick. Then I transfer my design onto the clay using a ballpoint pen. I like using basic shapes and adding detail as I go to make each ornament different.

Paper clay ideas | Rogene Manas,
An example of how you can wipe off the paint to bring out the details. Learn more about air-drying clay and how you can create beautiful mixed-media art with it in Rogene’s Artful Paper Clay: Techniques for Adding Dimension to Your Art.

Using a sharp craft knife, I cut around the ornament and place it on a small piece of plastic sheeting (read about making appliqués on page 33 in my book). I always smooth all the rough-cut edges of the clay with my finger and a bit of water. Next, I go over all of my lines with a wooden sculpting tool (shown on pages 6 and 7), making sure that the impressions are nice and deep. Then I take my time and sculpt the details that make each ornament special, using my sculpting tool and a variety of household items: stamps, punches, stencils, and whatever else I can find.

Paper clay ideas and handmade ornaments | Rogene Manas,
Air-dry clay project ideas

When finished with my clay work, I peel away the plastic so the clay can dry on both sides. A food dehydrator works wonderfully for drying clay quickly. Plus, it holds a lot of ornaments so you can get together with friends and, in just a few hours, make and paint everything.

Air-drying clay projects | Rogene Manas,
Cool clay ideas from Rogene Manas

The ornaments are lovely in natural white or you can paint them. When my ornaments are completely dry, I paint them with two coats of acrylic medium to seal and protect them. A simple way to bring out the detail is by adding a wash. I make a wash with a darker color of acrylic paint and paint it all over the ornament, making sure it gets into all the impressions. Before it dries, I wipe the surface with a damp paper towel, leaving paint in all the crevices. Because the clay is protected with medium, the surface returns to white, and the paint enhances the design.

Paper clay art | Rogene Manas,

If you want to take the painting further, you can paint all the white areas with acrylic and add some bling with glitter or metallic markers, or glue on embellishments like beads and jewels. To make the ornaments sturdier, I glue decorative paper on the back of each one, and trim around the edges with a craft knife. Before the glue dries, sandwich in a loop of string at the top as a hanger. And voila, fabulous ornaments made by you! ~Rogene

handmade ornament templates | Rogene Manas,
Click the image above for a downloadable version of these templates for handmade ornaments.
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