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Handmade Clay Holiday Figure Decorations

I am in Loooveee with these little guys! (And honestly, really sort-of obsessed.)  They are so fun and easy to make I had to share these with you.  I started out by making the little snowman ornaments (click here) but ended up expanding on the idea a little bigger.  I am certain you can do it too–you just have to use your imagination and try try again!

Here’s how I did it:

First I got the supplies I needed, which were essentially the same as the ones I used for my snowman ornaments.

  • Sculptey clay, this can be the most expensive thing, but if you use your local craft-store coupons you actually can get it at a reasonable price!
  • Acrylic Paint, various colors to taste.  It really depends on what you want to make.  For the santa I used red, black, brown, white, pink, green etc.  It is really up to your imagination!
  • Small wooden dowels, thickness as desired for legs, and any various add-ons you create.  You will see the reindeer holding a sign, and the santa holding a tree that used the dowels.  I used a smaller dowel for the add ons and a thicker dowel for the legs.
  • Buttons, ribbons, etc.  Anything you want to use to make your figure fancy!
  • A small wooden base.  I got these at the local craft store for about $.59, cheap and easy!
  • Fake snow paint
  • Antiquing stain.  It doesn’t take much, so a little can will do!  I didn’t see this at the craft store, I had mine from an antiquing kit that I used to refinish some furniture in my home.  I got the kit at a local home repair/hardware store.
  • barbecue skewers or something similar for adding texture and attaching pieces.
  • Parchment paper
  • cooking sheets
  • oven
  • paint brushes, from very fine to fairly thick
  • Hot glue gun

After I had my supplies together I started creating!  The first step to mold, shape and create your figure.  The easiest thing to make is the snowman, so I will start with that.

  • Start by rolling two balls, one smaller than the other.
  • Place one on top of the other and use the skewer to mush the clay together where it connects.  Use your finger to smooth it out, and they should be delicately stuck. (this area will get covered by ribbon for a scarf later, so no worries)
  • Put the body down and create everything else separately
  • Make the nose, shape a small piece of clay into a cone shape.  Curve the tip of it up or to the side a little to create character. Next make little lines along the side of it with the tip of the skewer to add texture.  These texture areas are where the stain will fill and give it the old antique look!
  • Make the hat.  This is similar to making the nose, but is it an area where you can be really creative!  Make it straight up, fold it to the side, or make it completely unique!  Don’t be afraid to poke and prod and draw in it with the skewer,  these type of additions make it truly unique and give the stain somewhere to lay. If you want the brim of the hat to look different than the rest (see the santa picture, I’m talking about where it is white) I simply made a long skinny snake-like strip of clay and put it on the base of the hat and flattened it there. I would then roll the round part of the skewer along it or push it in for texture.  I did the same thing with the ball of the hat.  See the picture of putting indents into the ball of the hat for the technique.
  • Make the gloves.  To do this, I simply took a little piece of clay and formed it into a glove shape that I liked.  Then I put the stick I was going to use for the arm in it so that when I baked it the  hole would be there.  It is okay to widen the hole  little, the bigger the better.  If you want to draw and designs onto your gloves with your skewer, do it while on the stick.  While the dowels are in the gloves, place wholes in the body of your snowman where desired as well.   Remove the stick and place these on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Make the boots.  The boots are made similar to the gloves.  Take a chunk of clay, and put it on a flat surface.  Push the dowel that you are going to use for the legs into the clay while on the flat surface.  Mold the boot to your liking and repeat for the second boot.  Feel free to add texture and lines with your skewer while the dowel is still in place.  While the dowels are in the boots, press them into the bottom of the body of the snowman where desired as well.  You need to have all holes in place before you bake your snowman.   When done, remove the dowel and place the boots on the baking sheet.
  • Place the hat and the nose (one at a time) onto the snowman body.  Use the skewer to push the clay together where you are connecting them, the same as you did when you connected the body.
  • Make the eyes and the mouth.  To make the eyes, use the blunt edge of your skewer to press into the snowman head and make two indented eyes.  If you mess up, or don’t like them, simply smooth out the clay and start over!  You can do the same thing for the mouth, making a “coal” smile, by making several indents in a smile shape, or with the pointy edge of your skewer you can draw a smile in as desired.  When everything is attached and you are happy with the body and head, place on baking sheet carefully.
  • Bake your snowman, boots and gloves according to the directions on the clay box.  Mine was 275 for 15 minutes, but I baked them a little longer because they are so thick.  Just be careful not to go too long because it will crack.  Also, make sure you do not bake and of the wooden dowels.
  • Let your snowman cool almost completely.
  • Paint everything as desired.  It make take several coats, because the clay sucks everything in.  Just make sure you let each coat dry in-between the next.  Don’t forget to pain the wooden base as desired as well.
  • Once everything is painted, assemble your snowman.  Gently put the dowels in the bottom of the body of the snowman where you made your holes, and into the boots.  If anything feels loose, put a small dot of hot glue on the dowel and then press in.  Do not force in because clay will crack.  Do the same with the arms and gloves.
  • Once everything is assembled, place your snowman on the wooden stand where desired and glue in place with hot glue.  Your figure should now be self standing.
  • Make sure all paint is dry.
  • Using a SLIGHTLY damp paper towel or rag dip one corner slightly into the stain.  Rub on small area until covered and all crevices are saturated.  Using a clean paper towel or rag, dry or SLIGHTLY damp, GENTLY wipe the stain away until you have your desired look.   When doing this step don’t rub too hard because you will rub the paint right off of your figure. Continue to do this until you have the desired look.  It is important to make sure any indents/lines/eyes/mouth are filled with stain initially so that when you wipe it away they remain darker than the rest of the smoother areas.
  • Let this dry for a few minutes, until not sticky.
  • Paint fake snow paint on the base around the boots as desired.  Let dry overnight.

You did it!!!

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