However, I happen to think that my early efforts were totally worth it for this little project.
In the midst of what I like to refer to "the agony of the first 18 weeks of pregnancy" I found myself flipping through some seasonal decor magazines looking for some holiday craft inspiration. I came upon some simple ornaments sculpted from paper clay. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the magazine and am not about to sift through the online versions of any number of holiday issues. If, however, you happen to have looked at the same magazine, I would be delighted to know what it was! Anyway, I thought, "Hmmm...I suppose you could sculpt just about anything from paper clay....", and it turns out I was right!
So, here is what I did:
First, I bought some paper clay, small Styrofoam balls, and thin wooden dowels. I used the Styrofoam balls as the "base" to sculpt the heads. I wanted these to be able to hang on a tree, so they couldn't be too heavy. Additionally, have you ever tried to make an even ball out of clay?? Not so easy. You also use surprisingly little clay when simply covering the ball!
I added small amounts of clay to create cheeks and a nose and smoothed everything out so it looked even. Finally, I poked a hole in the bottom (right into the Styrofoam ball) with the wooden dowel. (These babies are MUCH easier to paint when sitting atop a dowel than when holding in your hands.)
I let them dry overnight and then baked them a little in the oven (lowest temp setting on oven for about half an hour). They did get some small cracks in them during the drying process, but I didn't let this bother me.
Then, the fun part - painting!! I cut one of the Styrofoam balls in half and used it to anchor the wooden dowel, which I had reinserted into the clay head. I started by painting all of the heads a solid white. I did this by hand, but next time would definitely use spray paint to save time and energy! Once dry, I mixed up a small amount of acrylic paint that looked to me like a 'flesh tone' and lightly sponged it all over the head. I used acrylic paint and a combination of sponges, paintbrushes, and fine tip markers/paint pens to create the rest of the faces and designs.
The rest was really all about creativity. I purchased some glittery, seasonal flowers and embellishments from Michaels and then to create the 'bases' under the heads. Because there were already holes, I simply used hot glue and stuck a bit of the stem into the hole. I put small jingle bells on some and the hair was really just trial and error with two different types of yarn. That was kind of a process and I am not really sure how to explain what I did.
The Santa head was actually a mistake! I dropped my elbow while paining the mouth on and was left with a big, splotchy mess. I probably could have waited until dry, sanded off, and started over....but clearly I have not the patience for that. So, I stuck a piece of candy cane in his mouth and added some facial hair : ) I have to admit that he has turned into my favorite : )
Once they were entirely finished and dry, I had my husband take them outside and spray with an acrylic sealer.
I also made this little guy. He's not an ornament, but is still pretty cute. Same process, just different creative thinking.
So, there you have it! The first of many Christmas decorating posts to come!
I am linking this post up to The CSI Project's Handmade Holiday Challenge. I encourage everyone to stop by a take a look at all the projects!