Make It: Acorn and Cloud Ornaments

12/07/12

 

Dress up brown paper packages tied up with string with handmade glittery ornaments just as sparkly parked under or upon the Christmas Tree. Scattered across the table, left in a dish or perched on top of a stack of books these metallic talismans can be formed by kids as young as five or six with good form and patience. Use our instructions for shaping acorns and clouds or follow your creative intuition.

Materials:

  • air dry clay
  • Fine pointed paint brushes
  • a selection of Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Metallic and Glitter Paint
  • water and cup
  • toothpick
  • malleable wire, string or yarn for hanging as an ornament (a wide needle is helpful for guiding it through)
  • parchment paper

Method 1, acorn: 

  1. Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Pull a chunk of clay from the air dry clay parcel. We used the ready mixed type that comes stored in a plastic container. Begin rolling “the nut” a ball (about 1/2 an inch wide) between the palms of your hands, an irregular slightly pointy or egg shaped ball would be fine. Set aside. 
  2. Roll a second, smaller ball in the same way. Set it on the table and press gently in the center to form the top or the “cupule” of the acorn. The edges will curl upward and may break apart slightly which will be easy to smooth with a paint brush and water.
  3. Leaving the acorn top on the work surface dab a drop of water to help connect the nut. Gently press and join the two parts. Use a toothpick to create a clear edge as you smooth out the separations in clay.
  4. Pinch a bit of the top, then pinch in the other direction creating a raised cross. Once you are happy with the shape and smoothness you can use a toothpick to pierce the cross, creating a tunnel for string. You could also shape a small piece of clay into a loop, but I found that tiny joints were easily broken. 
  5. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Select two colors of multi-surface craft paint and paint the bottom of the acorn. Allow it to dry to the touch (it’s quick) and paint a second coat. Paint the top of the acorn with a darker metallic color or glitter paint, dry and apply a second coat. 
  7. Lace a string or ornament wire through the tunnel and hang or decorate those packages! 
Method 2, cloud:
  1. Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Pull a 2-3″ clump of clay from the air dry clay parcel. We used the pre-mixed type that comes stored in a plastic container.
  2. Shape the clay into a flat-ish oval and use your fingers or the edge of a paintbrush to indent the cloud puffs at strategic, irregular points. Try for soft edges and consider that variances in the depth of the cloud surface will result in a more dimensional cloud. Try pinching the edges if you don’t want something marshmallow-y.  
  3. Use water to smooth the surfaces.
  4. If you wish to hang it as an ornament or decorate a package be sure to pierce the upper edge of one of the cloud peaks with a toothpick.  You could go straight through the cloud for a single loop or go through the back at two points which will result in a more balanced hanging effect. 
  5. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Paint at least two coats on each side (dry between applications) with multi-surface metallic paint. 
  7. Lace string or wire through the channel and hang or wrap. If you did not make a channel you might use this as a fabulous paperweight.

Paint Suggestions: Gold, Yellow Gold, Florentine Gold, Silver, Jet Stream, Sterling, Fire Opal by Martha Stewart for Plaid

This entry was posted on Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.