Home made Christmas decoration is special, especially made with small hands – somehow they shine a little more. The moment you look at them you can see the kids making them, even if it was years back. Today I’ll tell you how we made very pretty modeling clay tree ornaments. We first made them 5 years ago, when my eldest was 3,5 years old. He could easily manage with a bit of supervision. He made a whole pile and was super proud! We gave a few to the grandparents (of course) and decorated our Christmas tree. And.. we still have them! We actually have not broken any (even though some have fallen), after making them for years!
So, we want *pretty* ornaments that will last for a long time. Think about it – in a few year’s time you will decorate your Christmas tree and think back of the time the ornaments were made and wonder how fast time is flying… So there’s a lot of responsibility when making modeling clay tree ornaments – and I’m here to help ; )
(Psst, if you like more screen-free activities with your kids, check these out: DIY monster game with marbles, make your own birthday calendar (recommended project that you’ll keep for years!), make a suncatcher in any shape, and Lego DUPLO croquet..)
Why making them?
- Easy to do at home
- not messy (no paint)
- improves fine motor skills
- classroom crafts idea (for suitable ages)
- pretty result
- keeps for years
- they don’t break easily (in contrast to other decor)
- gift for the grandparents
- (white) modeling clay, air dry clay or DIY salt dough
- rolling pin
- cookie cutter (xmas theme: stars, circles, trees)
- wooden skewer or thin straw
- large blunt needle
- cotton thread, embroidery thread or yarn (red)
Initially I made these modeling clay tree ornaments with salt dough. While that’s easy to do, you’ll need to paint them to make them prettier..
How to make laced modeling clay tree ornaments
Step 1. Make shapes.
Take a piece of modeling clay and use a rolling pin to flatten it. Make a nice smooth layer of roughly 0.5 cm / 0.2′ thick. Use the cookie cutter to cut a star/round/tree shape.
Pick a hole in the star shape using a toothpick or a thin straw. Make sure you go all the way through to the bottom (wiggle a bit) to make clean open holes. This will make the lacing a lot easier later on.
Let the clay stars dry until they are completely hard (the oven speeds this up!).
Take a blunt needle (one that is age appropriate) and insert the embroidery thread. Start lacing after tying a knot at the back. I used red cotton yarn, as I really like the red-white colours scheme for Christmas.
It’s fun to see elementary school kids make pretty patterns when making holes and doing the lacing activity, whereas preschoolers are simply enjoying the activity as a whole, learning as they do..
- 20 minutes: rolling clay and cutting shapes
- 1 day: letting the clay dry (or use an oven to speed things up)
- lacing: 10 minutes per flower.
Of course you can use any shape you wish! We made flower shapes in spring, and you can consider making egg-shaped ornaments for Easter and leaves/pumpkin shapes in fall, etc. Have fun!
And there’s more..
If you’re looking for more crafts projects for kids, have a look here. There’s fall crafts, monster games, marble games, outdoor activities, and more!And my little shoppe stocks pretty Christmas printables.