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Crafting with L.O.V.E.S. - Air Dry Clay Ornaments

Air Dry Clay Ornaments:

We're excited to share another Crafting with L.O.V.E.S. activity! We like to be hands-on whenever possible, and Christmas ornaments are no different! Today, we will share a quick way to make your own air dry clay which you can cut or shape into ornaments or whatever else you'd like! Our ornaments were even used as super cute tags for a special gift wrapping post by Our Creative Nest.

Materials List:

  • 1 Cup Baking Soda

  • 1/2 Cup Corn Starch

  • 3/4 Cup Water

  • Saucepan

  • Dish cloth or similar to wrap the dough

  • Parchment or freezer paper for your work surface

  • Rolling pin

  • Cookie cutters, stamps, miscellaneous items to make imprints

  • Items needed for decorating (paint, glitter, etc)


  1. Add the baking soda, corn starch and water to your saucepan.

  2. Turn your stove burner to medium heat and heat the mixture, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn on the bottom.

3. The mixture will be liquid to start, make sure you break up any lumps while stirring.

4. After about 3-5 minutes the mixture will start to thicken and eventually clump up, keep stirring.

5. When the mixture starts to look like dough and no longer has water around it, turn the burner off and remove from heat.

6. Cover the dough in a damp cloth to cool, the cloth will keep the dough from drying out.

7. Put down your parchment or freezer paper and gather any cutters you'd like to use.

8. Roll the dough out to around 3/8-1/4" thick. Cut out desired shapes if you are using cookie cutters or other tool, or grab a chunk and start shaping by hand.

9. If you want to make an imprint in the clay (handprint, thumbprint, stamp, pine needles, etc) now is the time! It is also best to add the hole for the ribbon or string now, too. If you would like to add paint or glitter, you can do that now as well so it all dries together. We used a straw for the larger holes and a toothpick (making little circles that gradually got bigger) to make the smaller holes.

10. Place the cut-outs or other creations on a drying surface and turn every few hours to ensure they dry evenly.

The ornaments are completely dry usually between 24-48 hours later, depending on thickness. At this point you can paint them, add more decorations, or hang them just as they are!

Remember, these are not waterproof, the clay will get soft again with the addition of water. If you would like to add more decorations, some good old-fashioned paint, markers, or some glue and glitter will work, as long as there isn't too much moisture resting on the ornaments. Feel free to experiment, and we would like to hear what you tried and how it turned out.

Some common issues:

My Clay is too dry: If the clay won't hold together or is getting powdery, that's ok, add small amounts of water to rehydrate the clay, literally just a few drops at a time can do the trick. You can take rock hard clay from a week ago and rehydrate it, so don't panic!

My Clay is too wet: If the clay is sticky and too wet, then add a little corn starch to the ball or work surface to get rid of the stickiness, or let rest for a while to dry out naturally.

My Ornaments are cracking: Unfortunately this happens. If the cracks are small, you can mix some water with a little chunk of clay and create a slurry which can be applied to cracks. If the cracks are major, you may just want to start over rather than trying to fix the crack.

My ornaments are all the same color and you don't want to paint them: Yep, baking soda and corn starch are white, so your dough will be too, unless you add food coloring! Just a drop of food coloring should be plenty to tint your clay any color you'd like. Just remember, food coloring can stain surfaces and clothing, so make sure you cover what you don't want dyed! Also, your color will lighten as it dries, so take that into account.

My ornaments aren't smooth: The ornaments will unlikely be naturally smooth, but you can encourage them to be! You can use water on your fingertips to rub around the surface of the ornament. You can also use a soft bristle paintbrush that has been moistened and smooth out the surface of the clay. You can touch-up your ornaments as they dry, but understand this will cause the drying time to lengthen.

We hope you take the time to make some of these cute, air dry clay ornaments and we would love to see your creations! Tag us @lovesoutrdooreducation on your Instagram or Facebook posts, or send the pictures straight to us. Be sure to include any names you want credited with the creations! We will be hosting a free zoom class (Password: LOVES) and Facebook Live at 5pm PST, Friday, December 18, 2020 to make these as a group. We'd love for you to join us!

Until next time,

L.O.V.E.S. Outdoor Education

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