December 21, 2023 No Comments

I love giving my young budding artists the opportunity to create special holiday keepsakes. Not everyone agrees with offering holiday projects because not all students celebrate certain holidays. However, since most of my students celebrate Christmas, I give them the choice of creating clay ornaments.

Most students enjoy creating the ornaments because they can have success and create something that can be used. Many give their ornaments as gifts. The ornaments are especially beautiful when glazed, however, since I don’t have a kiln, I use air dry clay painted with acrylics. I usually do these with grades 3-5, but they were also a huge hit when I taught middle school. If students choose not to make an ornament, they can still use the clay to create something else of their choice.

  • Clay cut into small blocks (I use Crayola air dry)
  • Clay tools
  • Water for attaching details
  • Acrylic paint (or glaze) and brushes
  • Plastic holiday cookie cutters
  • Thin string
  1. Students start by flattening their clay using either the palm of their hand or a small rolling pin. They should keep their ornaments about 1/4 inch thick. If the ornament is too thin, it might crack, break or curl upwards. Next, they press the cookie cutter mold into the clay and take off all of the extra clay on the sides of the mold. Then they need to carefully push their clay out of the mold.
  2. Next, they can add texture and other details using clay tools. If they make attachments (such as adding garland or ornaments on a tree) they need to make a score mark (small indent in clay) and add water.
  3. Once their ornament is finished, they need to poke a small hole at the top for the string. I usually check these to make sure that the hole is big enough and went all the way through. They can also “write” their name and year on the back using a clay needle tool.
  4. Allow to dry and paint (or fire and glaze!). Due to time constraints, some of my classes painted their ornaments while the clay was still wet and they came out perfectly fine!
  5. Add strings and wrap carefully. I like to have red and green tissue paper on hand and plain white lunch bags for them to create decorative gift bags.

Lisa Blanchette

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Welcome to my blog! I’ve been an art teacher for over 20 years and have worked with a variety of age levels. I am passionate about art, teaching and learning. I’m excited to share lessons, resources, tips and tricks that I currently use in my elementary choice-based art room. Read More