Ready to learn how to make Christmas ornaments using IOD molds and air-dry clay? For this project, I started with plain, inexpensive ornaments purchased at a big box store, and in a few easy steps - I crafted these beauties!
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This video tutorial was edited from the weekly Tuesday morning “Coffee & Create” you can find on our Facebook page. We devoted a few weeks of projects to “Crafting our Christmas” - our answer to supply chain issues getting in the way of Christmas shopping. But, truth be told, we just love crafting these one-of-a-kind gifts and keepsakes!
Watch this video to see the steps I took to create the ornaments with IOD molds and air-dry clay. Or, if you like to read through craft project instructions and get your list of supplies to order, scroll past the video to find everything you need.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THESE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS WITH IOD
🎄IOD Decor Mould (combine for a full set of ornaments)
🎄Large, round Christmas Ornaments (look for inexpensive, simple balls)
🎄 Alene’s Tacky Glue
🎄 Rethunk Junk Paint in Snowy Day (for the base coat on the ornament)
🎄 Rethunk Junk Paint (choose colors for your decor)
🎄Exacto blade or razor blade
🎄Egg Carton (styrofoam works great for me)
🎄Paintbrush (2) (soft bristle, narrow enough to smooth glue onto castings)
🎄Blue Painters Tape (have on hand just in case to hold a molding in place)
CRAFTING CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS
STEP 1: GIVE THE ORNAMENTS A TOPCOAT OF PAINT
The ornaments I used came in silver, brassy gold, and basically plain. I gave each one a base coat using Rethunk Junk Paint in Snowy Day and let them dry overnight.
You can use another color for the base coat, matching the Christmas decorations in your home. Or pick a color scheme and make sets of ornaments to give away as teacher gifts, Secret Santa gifts, hostess gifts, and stocking stuffers.
STEP 2: MOULDS AND CLAY
You might find the ornament you choose to work with will dictate the mould you decide to use. That’s what I did for my first two ornaments, featured in the video. First up was an ornament that had vertical lines. I chose the IOD Lock and Key mold to make castings that would run on the vertical lines.
Once you’ve selected the mould you’ll start with, open the package of IOD Air-Dry Clay and pinch off enough to make one casting. Using your thumb and fingers, push the clay into the mould and press down to catch all of the detail in the mould.
Use your fingers, or a flat edge tool like a paint scraper or dough scraper, and skim off the excess clay. Put it immediately back into the package and put the package in a baggie. Make sure you get as much air out of the package as you can before closing it.
As you scrape the clay off the back, remember the moulds have micro-rims to help and you want to get a flat back. You’ll be gluing these castings onto the surface of the round ornaments.
Now you can almost immediately pop the casting out of the mould. Try working the sides of the casting away from the mould a bit, then turn the mold upside down on a flat work surface. Now take the edge of the mold nearest the casting you’re removing. Roll up the edge slowly and the casting will pop out.
But you might notice I lost one of the intricate tips of the casting as I was removing it from the mould. No problem! It will be glued to the rest of the casting right on the ornament - and the separation won’t be visible.
STEP 3: GLUE THE CASTINGS
The first ornament has vertical lines, so I’m adding one casting to each quadrant of the ornament. I make one casting at a time, then stop and glue it onto the ornament using Alene’s Tacky Glue. For this ornament, I chose the IOD Lock and Key mould.
Run a line of the Tacky Glue vertically on one of the lines of the ornament and smooth it out. I use my finger, but you can use a thin paintbrush as well. Place the casting on the line of glue and gently push the edges down to make sure they are all attached to the ornament surface.
Gentle pressure is key to maintaining all the detail in the casting from the mould. If you still have spaces between the edge of the casting and the ornament surface, you can use a small tube of DAP caulking to fill it in.
When you’re ready to glue on the next casting, lay the ornament down on the egg carton you’re using. My egg carton was made of styrofoam and does a great job of holding the ornament gently while I get ready to add the Tacky Glue. Just place the ornament in a position that keeps the castings already glued on safe from being flattened.
STEP 4: PAINTING THE CASTINGS
When all four castings are attached to the ornament, take a small soft paintbrush and begin painting. Because my ornaments are in Snowy Day, that’s the color I painted my castings too.
It’s important to paint the castings as soon as they’re glued on because the Air-Dry Clay will begin to dry right away. The paint will keep the clay from excessive cracking as the top layer dries more quickly. Choose the color that fits with your scheme and get your castings covered.
Now set the ornament aside to dry before you finish it up. Once it’s dry, you can choose how you want your ornament to look - and that will determine the next step. I added Rethunk Junk Classic Black Glaze to my first ornament. Adding glaze is easy - you apply it onto the ornament, and then use a soft cloth to wipe off most of it.
But, you’ll see that the glaze remains in the crevices of the details of the casting, and also gives a vintage/antiqued look overall. Or, you can cover the ornament lightly with glue (I like to paint the glue on thinly) and sprinkle a fine glitter all over. Make sure to shake off all the excess and let it dry thoroughly.
STEP 5: CHANGE IT UP ON THE NEXT ORNAMENT
I chose an ornament with horizontal lines for my second project. It reminded me of a beehive - so that’s the direction I went with it! I made a bee casting and some trim using the IOD Laurel Mould and Air-Dry Clay.
The steps are very similar to those I took with the first ornament. The unique part of crafting this ornament was making two castings of the trimming and using a razor blade to cut off the excess of the second casting. I wanted to make the two pieces fit perfectly - as if made from one casting. But the size of the ornament was just slightly smaller than the length of the two castings.
Pro-Tip: for these castings, I applied the glue to the back of each casting rather than on the ornament directly. After squeezing on a thin line of the Tacky Glue, I used a small, long-handled paintbrush and smoothed the glue over the entire back surface of the castings. Then I positioned the casting and gently pressed it onto the ornament.
In order to measure accurately, I glued the first trimming casting onto the ornament. Then I glued the Bee casting on as well. Scroll back up to how I describe gently pushing the sides down to make sure they connect with the ornament surface - I did the same thing with the Bee casting.
Now I’m ready for the second trimming. I measured by holding one end up to and end of the glued on casting and wrapping it around the ornament. I determined where the two pieces overlapped and then took the loose casting off. Using a razor blade, I made a precise cut on the trimming casting and removed the excess.
Then I proceeded to glue the casting so that each end met with the previously glued casting. It looks wonderful! Not sure how I will finish this ornament? A little honey bee color or some glittery sparkle?
STEP 6: MAKE ANOTHER ORNAMENT
With these easy steps using limited supplies, you can use a little creativity on each of the ornaments. All by combining different moulds and castings, using a different finish, and varying the paint colors used.
For one of my ornaments, I even used a bit of Rethunk Gunk Decoupage Medium and some bits of sheet music to cover a smooth ornament. Then I used the IOD Birdsong Mould and cast a beautiful bird, painting it with Rethunk Junk Ruby Red.
I have to admit - I’m excited to see what you create. You can never have enough beautiful ornaments - because you can always get one more tree to decorate. And don’t forget those friends, teachers, aunts and uncles. These are the perfect gift!