Impressions Ornaments

Impressions Ornaments 29

I saw this leaf imprint necklace at Happy Hour Projects and I thought it was neat. While I wasn’t that interested in the jewelry aspect of it, I thought that the technique would make for some great Christmas ornaments. What you need to do this is simply some oven-bake polymer clay (like Sculpey) and some leaves or other items to make impressions in the clay. Everything else, the silicone work surface, the craft paint, the bits and bobs, those are all up to you. A note on polymer clay – it is not food-safe. Whatever you use to cut or otherwise work the clay should not be used for food items.

Impressions Ornaments 1

So. Grab your clay. I used a plain white. Work some of it between your hands to soften it and then flatten it onto your work surface. I’d aim for a thickness between 1/8″ and 1/4″.

Impressions Ornaments 2

Impressions Ornaments 3

Then take a leaf or whatever else you’d like to impress, and place it on the clay. This leaf is about 2″ wide, to give you an idea of scale.

Impressions Ornaments 4

Press the leaf into the surface of the clay so that it leaves a full and detailed impression. You won’t get as much detail with the small leaves on polymer clay as you would on natural clay (like with the clay leaf bowls) simply because the substance is more resilient.

Impressions Ornaments 5

Carefully remove the leaf and then cut it out with a cookie cutter or knife. You can cut it off-centre or however you would like. I’m not grading you on these.

Impressions Ornaments 6

Use a skewer or some other pokey object to put a hole through for stringing.

Impressions Ornaments 7

We even got Grenadier in on the action, though he wasn’t happy about it. If you want him to step on something, suddenly his paw is a delicate flower and he can do no harm. If you don’t want him to step on something, he will immediately put his full 40lbs of weight behind it.

Impressions Ornaments 8

So these impressions were not as deep as I would like.

Impressions Ornaments 9

But they worked out well enough that I figured they’d do.

Impressions Ornaments 10

Place your finished items on a sheet of parchment and bake at 275°F for 15 minutes per 1/4″ of thickness of your clay. Let them cool completely before handling.

Impressions Ornaments 11

Done.

Impressions Ornaments 12

Now we paint. If you want. I used some craft paint  and a small paintbrush to swipe colour over the impression.

Impressions Ornaments 14

This one I used a dry paper towel to wipe it off, which left the colour on the majority of the ornament.

Impressions Ornaments 15

This one I just filled in the leaf part as close as I could.

Impressions Ornaments 17

Then I used a wet flannel cloth to wipe it gently off.

Impressions Ornaments 18

The Gren ones took a few applications of paint.

Impressions Ornaments 19

Then I strung them with some hemp line and some wee bells.

Impressions Ornaments 26

These would make a great addition to your gift wrap arsenal, a cute personalized stocking stuffer, or you could give a few to a person just starting to collect their own Christmas ornaments.

Impressions Ornaments 28

Advertisements

Sweet Heart Place Markers

Salt Dough Hearts 20

On Friday we’re having a few people over for dinner.  It’s not that we really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it’s a good excuse to have a super fancy dinner party — where all the attendees are wearing sweat pants.  And really I think that Valentine’s Day is overhyped as a generically heterosexual romantic thing when really, why can’t we use it as a time to celebrate our love for friends and family?

Salt Dough Hearts 12

Anyway, this is the idea I came up with for place markers for each diner’s plate: SALT DOUGH!  You remember salt dough, right?  I guarantee you made it at least once as a child, or made it for a child as an adult.  If not, then NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!

It’s easy peasy.  Preheat your oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or not, your choice).  Start with a bowl, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup fine salt, and 1/2 cup water.  I like to add in a pair of gloves because this stuff is majorly drying to the skin, and you’re gonna have to knead it.  Plus I intend to colour it with gel paste colouring, which has a tendency to stain.

Salt Dough Hearts 1

Mix the flour and salt together, then add the water in bit by bit.  Sometimes you won’t need it all.  Today, given that Ottawa is SO FREAKING dry right now (neither Gren nor the Pie will come near me because I’m a walking static shock machine), I used it all.

Salt Dough Hearts 2

Use your hands to get everything properly mixed together.

Salt Dough Hearts 3

The dough will be very dry.  If it sticks to your hands then you need more flour.

Salt Dough Hearts 4

Here’s where I added the gel paste.  You can leave that out and paint the ornaments later, or leave them as is for a nice soft white finish.

Salt Dough Hearts 5

I got bored kneading in the gel paste and ended up liking this marbled texture so I rolled with it.

Salt Dough Hearts 6

And rolled it out with a rolling pin.  Not too thick, or the dough will puff up in the oven and take too long to dry, and not too thin, or it will just break.  But it’s not rocket science, so don’t worry too much about it. You can always re-roll scraps, too. It’s not like you’re worried about it being tough — you don’t eat this stuff.

Salt Dough Hearts 7

Then I used a cookie cutter to slice out the shapes I wanted.  Decorate them however you want with other dough or whatever. I was originally going to imprint my guests names into the soft dough, but I forgot about the whole gluten-equals-springy-dough thing and it didn’t work out.  Oh well.

Salt Dough Hearts 9

I used a skewer to poke a hole so they could be hung them up if the guests wanted to.

Salt Dough Hearts 8

In the end I had fifteen 3″ hearts, with only a little scrap of dough left.

Salt Dough Hearts 10

Salt Dough Hearts 11

Lay the ornaments flat on the parchment and bake for an hour, flipping them halfway through.  If your oven burns hot, put the rack on the upper portion of the oven and/or turn down the heat if possible.

Salt Dough Hearts 13

Remove the “cooked” ornaments to a rack to cool completely.

Salt Dough Hearts 17

I used a silver Sharpie to write my guest names on each ornament and strung them with coloured thread.

Salt Dough Hearts 23

The blank hearts I hung from the light fixture in the middle of the dining room, to give a bit of height to the table decoration.

Salt Dough Hearts 25