I recently received the below recipe for Clay Christmas Ornaments from a friend in our homeschool group, and decided we would make them today. Here is the conversation that followed:
ME: Guess what, girls! We are going to use the oven to make some special Christmas decorations today!
LIL YODA: Ooh! Mommy! We should make the Decoration of Independence!
...We haven't actually reached that point in history, we have only gotten as far as Captain John Smith, so I let it slide. She must have learned the term from watching National Treasure the other night. ;)
We had a lot of fun making these ornaments. This recipe made about 10 ornaments. I must warn you that this is a very long, all day sort of project. After prepping the "batter" we spent about 1 1/2 hours shaping the ornaments, then baked them, cooled them, and spent another hour, at least, painting them. Then they had to dry. Then the varnish and more drying time. Then we flipped them, varnished the back, and waited again. We started about 10 this morning and finished about 6 this evening. (OK we played a lot in between but you get the picture! The point is that this project took over my kitchen for the whole day - just thought I'd warn you.) The results were definitely worth it though!
Here's the recipe, from http://www.teachartathome.com/ :
Christmas Clay Ornaments
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
tempera paints, various colors
clear nail polish, polyurethane or liquid floorwax for glazing
yarn or ribbon
1. Mix together the flour, salt and enough water to make a smooth, soft dough that is not sticky. (If it is sticky, add a little bit more flour).
2. You can either add tempera paints to the clay to create various colors or wait until after the ornaments are hard to paint them. (Creating colored clay is better for younger children who can't paint well).
3. Be sure to create a hole as your last step using a small paintbrush handle.
4. Bake ornaments on a baking sheet that has been dusted with flour for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, or until hard but not heavily browned.
5. If you used white dough only, paint with tempera paints when cooled.
6. When the paint is dry, brush with one of the following glazing mediums to make it shiny: clear nail polish, polyurethane varnish or liquid floor wax. (This step works well wiht the colored dough, but it may cause paints to run if painted after baked. That is only the case, however, if the glazing medium is put on too heavily or brushed a lot). Allow to dry thoroughly. Turn over and glaze the back too. Allow to dry.
7. String with a loop of yarn or ribbon for hanging.