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DIY Air Dry Clay Christmas Ornaments

Step by step directions with photos for making DIY air dry clay Christmas ornaments. These charming little tags make the perfect handmade gift!

air dry clay christmas ornaments on cookie sheet

A few months ago, I wrote a post telling the story of how air dry clay Christmas ornaments became a best seller in my handmade online shop. Writing that post was emotional for me, but like everything hard we do, it was worth it in the end. I promised I would do my best to get you a tutorial so you can make the ornaments yourself…and in time for this holiday season. I wasn’t sure I would make it, but here we are. It’s finished and ready to go. These sweet ornaments are a lovely handmade gift for a loved one…or for yourself. Enjoy!

To read our clay ornament story, click {HERE.}

air dry clay christmas ornaments supplies needed

Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

Air Dry Clay Christmas Ornaments Supplies Needed:

To begin, prepare the rolling area by taping down two skewers about six inches apart. (You need a hard, smooth surface.)

Tear off a chunk of clay and mold it in your hands. The chunk should be about the size of the palm of your hand. Knead it several times until it warms up.

Place the clay between the skewers and begin to roll.

air dry clay christmas ornaments clay on surface

The skewers will gauge the thickness of the tags, so roll and smooth until the pin glides smoothly over the skewers. Even though these air dry clay Christmas ornaments will not be perfect, it’s important to make them all the same thickness. This can only be accomplished by using skewers, or something similar, as guides.

Using cookie cutters, cut out as many tags as will fit on the clay. It’s best to cut out 3 or 4 ornaments at a time. Don’t try to roll out a large piece of clay because it will dry quickly, and be more difficult to work with.

air dry clay christmas ornaments cookie cutter on clay

Gently pull off the clay around the tags.

air dry clay christmas ornaments cutting out

Pick up each tag, and before placing on a cookie sheet, smooth the edges with your fingers.

After placing on a cookie sheet, make sure each tag is as flat as possible. When you have a cookie sheet filled, it’s time to do your stamping (if desired.) Stamp the ornaments one tray at a time. Again, the clay will dry quickly, so stamping when they are still moist will garner the best results.

Air Dry Clay Stamping Tips:

  • Choose short words. Six letters or less is about all that fits on a tag.
  • Hold the alphabet stamps tight together (as pictured below) and stamp an entire word at the same time. For the word “peace,” I stamped the first four letters and then added the “e” on the end.
  • Watch the pressure when you apply the stamps. If you press too hard, the outline of the stamp will show. This is one step in the process where practice will make the job easier. Before stamping on ornaments to keep, it’s best to roll out a piece of clay, and try out your words. Practice lining up the stamps, and get a feel for how much pressure you need to make the letters legible.

air dry clay christmas ornaments stamping

Using the sucker stick, make a hole in the top of each tag.

Let dry for 24 hours.

Carefully turn each tag and let dry for another 24 hours.

When completely dry, tie on a piece of twine for a hanger.

air dry clay christmas ornaments stars gingerbread men christmas trees

Air Dry Clay Christmas Ornaments Tips

  • As mentioned above, the skewers guarantee that the tags will be uniform in thickness. If you use a wider rolling pin (ours is 8 inches) place the skewers further apart.
  • Anything will work for a rolling area as long as it’s smooth. If you have a pie crust mat, that’s perfect. The clay easily washes off with soap and water.
  • Practice makes (almost) perfect. It’s helpful to practice rolling and cutting a few times before making tags to keep.

air dry clay christmas ornaments trees

  • Leftover clay can be re-used. The clay that is pulled off around the cut-outs can be re-rolled. If you make a mistake, just mold and roll again.
  • When the ornaments are dry, the edges can be smoothed with a small nail file.
  • How many ornaments can you get from the 2.2 lb. package of air dry clay? That depends on so many things…but my best guess is between 30 and 35. That’s if you roll out with scewers, and use 3 -4 inch cutters.
  • These air dry clay Christmas ornaments will last for years if stored properly. They need to be stored completely flat, so layer them in a plastic bin with an air-tight lid. Use parchment paper or wax paper in between the layers.

air dry clay christmas ornaments gingerbread man

These ornaments are far from perfect…there are wrinkles and cracks. I believe that’s part of their charm, so just embrace the imperfections. No two are alike, and if you give them as gifts, the recipients will know you took the time to make them something handmade. I think that’s pretty special. This is a Christmas craft that takes a little planning, and some time. However, the outcome is so worth the effort. A handmade gift is something that you make with your hands, and it comes from your heart. This is a timeless gift for friends and family of all ages.

air dry clay christmas ornaments doves hearts

A printable copy of this tutorial is available to my email subscriber’s in the Member’s Only Library. If you aren’t on my list, and would like to join, just fill out the short form below, and the eBook will be sent directly to your inbox.

air dry clay christmas ornaments tutorial pin

If you read our clay tag story, you know that these ornaments are close to my heart. I can’t tell you how happy I am that this tutorial is finished and at your fingertips. I’ve been thinking about it for two years and I’m honestly not sure what actually made me finally do it. Whatever it was, I’m glad the inspiration hit at exactly the right time. Thank you so much for taking a look. Until next time…

57 Comments

  1. Gail L Martin says:

    Ann, When you first started making and selling these ornaments, I bought 3 of them. They have remained beloved ornaments that I putout every year. Thanks for all you do to put love into our homes.

  2. Good Morning Ann,
    I have been a member of your blog family for years. I love your new home! I love your comment about getting boxes out of the garage before the snow flies! I am a native Montanan, have been in Oregon for forty one years. That saying, “before the snow flies” was spoken often there, in fact it is already flying there. I miss Montana and its beauty but not the cold winters.
    Thanks for a super, informative blog and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  3. Hello!
    These are all darling and I love the way the watercolors settled into the lettering. It gives it such a nice soft touch with a little bit of punch. I have to admit Fimo is one of my favorite air drying clays to work with too. We just struggle to find the white one here.

  4. It is great that you make your own ornaments it makes them more special. This is really a cute idea for ornaments. I have always wanted to make something like this for holiday ornaments. A handmade gift is something that you make with your hands, and it comes from your heart. I am glad I find this post.

  5. Barbie Hillenbrand says:

    I love the texture on the dove you make. May I ask where that print came from and would I be able to get one.
    I have never done this before and thought it would be nice to make personalized ornaments for each of our grandkids each you so they would have something unique to remember me by.

    Thanks so much for you sharing you joy here.

    God bless,
    Barbie Hillenbrand

  6. Cindy Kersting says:

    5 stars
    Love making homemade….well anything. The ornaments / tags are adorable. Thanks.

  7. Steve arnold says:

    5 stars
    Have you ever tried to add dye or coloring to the clay?

  8. These are lovely! Do they need any type of sealant to make them last longer? If so, what would you recommend?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Jean…I’ve never sealed them with anything. I have ornaments from several years ago that are just perfect!

  9. Karen Howard says:

    I was checking this recipe out to see what you had used it for & I decided to make some Bunnies & Lilies for Easter. I can rough out the lilies, but I have n old Copper Bunny Cookie Cutter. I might as well put it to use.

  10. Aww I found your tutorial too late. I will definitely do these gorgeous tags for Christmas 2020. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your skills, so kind.

  11. This was so much fun to do! I followed her tutorial exactly. This will be my own tradition to do every year. I used watered down wood glue to seal them. It made them slightly shiny and very smooth, almost plastic feeling. I hope it will help make them last.

  12. Kay Sutcliffe says:

    Just another little tip when stamping the letters: I use a small rubber band to hold my letters together before stamping. I also do this when using ink.

  13. Can these ornaments be painted and if so, what kind of paint would you recommend for them? And would you seal the paint? Thank you!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Susan! First of all, my apologies for the delay in answering your question. I totally missed these new comments on this post. Honestly, I am not sure. We never painted them, and I don’t know anything about the different kinds of paint that are available. So in the end, I am no help anyway! If you do paint them, let me know how they come out. Thank you!

    2. I have made something similar (although not as lovely as these Christmas ornaments) and I have had success with both acrylic paints and with mica powders to add color. Also, any polycrylic varnish will do- I’ve found that Mod Podge yellows over time- but, for true water-proofing (if using for outdoor decor, for example) try yacht varnish. It will seal anything!

  14. I made these last Christmas and they came out so cute! Where did you find the tiny heart that you have punched out inside your ornaments?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Sue! First of all, I’m sorry for the delay in answering your question. I completely missed these new comments on this post. I linked to a set of mini cutters in the post. I couldn’t find a listing for just mini hearts. Here is the link: https://amzn.to/2LHEEaQ. I’m glad you enjoyed making the tags!

  15. What a lovely, bittersweet story and what beautiful ornaments! Thank you so much for sharing the story and for the tutorial. The ornaments are beautiful. I cannot wait to try my hand at these.

  16. These ornaments are so sweet.

  17. Ann,
    I love your blog and save them until I am able to take time to go through your links. I read your clay ornaments tutorial and your story. I think I will do this activity with my mom who just turned 99 July 4th. She has memory and mobility issues but I think this would be something she would enjoy. It would also be something we could have as a keepsake. I am going to look to order some clay today.
    Thank you Margaret

  18. Melinda C Voss-Selee says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the story of your ornaments. I know how hard it is to lose a parent and to care for a surviving parent as well. On one version of your doves it shows an embossed design on the birds. What did you use to make the design, it’s lovely.?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Melinda…my business partner did the embossing and I’m not sure where she got her mats. I found a very similar one that you can see here: https://amzn.to/2Jq0DRB. After you roll out the clay, lightly emboss it with the mat, and then cut out your ornaments. Enjoy!

  19. Jan Kinman says:

    Ann,
    You have touched my heart and inspired me. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. My sweet MomMa passed away this year and this is something she would of enjoyed. I plan to make a garland of ornaments in her remembrance.
    Blessings to you, Jan

  20. These are beautiful…thinking about doing it with my older grandkids!

  21. Thank you so much Ann for this wonderful tutorial. My friend and I will enjoy making these. Another favorite of mine were your mini grainsack stockings …they were beautiful ! Your blog is my favorite…thank you for all you do..you are the best !

  22. Glenda Shine says:

    I was so touched by your story. Each of us has had to give up things in our lives to devote to time to ones we love. In 2003, my husband was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. The next several years were very difficult as I became his wife, his advocate and his mother all in one. ( while still mothering two teenagers and running our business. Thank God for those who gave to me during this time also)
    I would love to make these clay tags to gift to my family!
    Can you tell me how you embossed the ones like the dove you showed in your post? I think this is so beautiful.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Glenda…thank you for sharing your story. I have never embossed any tags…my business partner was the expert on that. You can buy embossers on Amazon or at any craft store. Once you roll out the clay, lightly press with the embosser, and then cut out the tag. I hope this helps!

  23. Merilee Estes says:

    What is the recipe for the air dry clay?

  24. Anne….I always love reading your stories. This was a lovely story because it tells about how you and yr friend did something you both loved doing. Now both are still doing what you love…just different things. I love your blod and read it all the time.💕

  25. Ann, Happy New Year, well almost! As everyone else in the world I get too many emails…mostly junk and I have done my best to get rid of things I don’t need in my life. But your blog is one I just could not get rid of. I may not check everyday but when I do I find something I want to do, or make or print. Your amazing! Every new year I pick some projects that I can do thruout the year for Christmas gifts. This clay project will be one I do for close friends. Thank you again. And I can’t wait to get going. This project is soooo much better than bakers clay and it looks just like porcelain in the pictures. I love the “classy” look of the formal porcelain mixed with the jute or “country” cording. Thanks again for the inspiration!!!

  26. Ann, Happy New Year, well almost! As everyone else in the world I get too many emails…mostly junk and I have done my best to get rid of things I don’t need in my life. But your blog is one I just could not get rid of. I may not check everyday but when I do I find something I want to do, or make or print. Your amazing! Every new year I pick some projects that I can do thruout the year for Christmas gifts. This clay project will be one I do for close friends. Thank you again. And I can’t wait to get going. This project is soooo much better than bakers clay and it looks just like porcelain in the pictures. I love the “classy” look of the formal porcelain mixed with the jute or “country” cording. Thanks again for the inspiration!!!

  27. Thank you so much for posting! I can’t wait to make these with my girls for Christmas this year!

  28. Thank you so much for sharing your story and beautiful pictures of the ornaments you made & sold on Etsy. I read your article and that very day I bought clay and cookie cutters! I loved working with the clay so much I started selling my ornaments and in just the past two months, I’ve sold well over a hundred!! (And managed to collect dozens of cookie and fondant cutters!) I know you’ve mentioned that post was particularly difficult for you to write, and I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom, but I wanted you to know that it literally changed my life! Thank you!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh my gosh Susan…I am so happy for you! It’s not an easy task to try something new so you should be very proud of yourself. The very best of luck and happy holidays!

  29. Hi Ann,
    I love your air dry ornaments! They are so beautiful and pristine. Gifts given from the heart.
    Thank you for every email you send out…I save them and it’s my favorite place to go when I want to relax and look at beautiful things.❤️

  30. Thank You. I so admired the selections you had before life intervened. I didn’t purchase then because my life had taken a terrible turn and ornaments were not on my mind. The death of my Son has caused me to mark time differently. Since I am only marginally crafty, I have hesitated working with clay. Your tutorial makes sense of the process and tomorrow I will head to the craft store and give it a whirl. Those sentinal events of our lives certainly do form our lives and our memories.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss…blessings to you this Christmas season!

    2. Cheryll,
      I lost my son in 2013, so I completely understand marking your time differently. You will find your new normal. I started a craft day with my daughter and we try to do some different things every Christmas season. This isn’t a club anyone wants to join, and only a mother truly understands how each and every day is changed forever.

      1. So sorry you also are living this grief. These little ornaments remind me of much better times. I went to a local craft store, no clay but I was told a new shipment would arrive probably before Christmas. Your craft day with your daughter sounds so nice. I am a quilter and spend precious time with quilting friends. Truly, they saved me. Have a blessed Christmas.

  31. Love your heart and style, Ann.

  32. Eddie Malley says:

    Ann,
    I was one of your customers. Your little doves grace my mantle at Christmas and a heart-wreath for Valentines. Thank you for enriching the holidays for so many people.
    Eddie

  33. I love these tags and hope I can make some Christmas tags for all the little ones in my family. Can you share how you got the lovely design in the ornaments?
    Thank you for sharing your stories.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Susan…I’m not sure what you mean? Are you looking at the pictures in the “clay ornament story” post?

  34. MARY M SULLIVAN says:

    Ann, thanks so much for the tutorial and the links to buy the different items. I’ve ordered it all and cannot wait to get started. I’ve put small tabletop trees in each of my guest bedrooms and plan to decorated those trees with your clay ornaments and ribbons of color that I know each guest is fond of. Also plan to use short words that mean something to each of them as well as your ideas. LOVE LOVE your site. Thanks for taking the time to write us this lesson and for all the freebies you send us.

  35. carol bittner says:

    Thank you for your story; it’s very touching. I am glad you and your friend did what was best for you both. I’m so glad you decided to share these lovely clay tags with us. I will try making a few (maybe for my gr. grandchildren) for the family Christmas tree. Thanks again and have a Merry Christmas Ann.

  36. I love these! Thanks for the tutorial! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  37. Susan Gaul says:

    I’m not talented in any shape or form but these are adorable and I’m going to try my hand at it. I wanted to ask how you did the scroll on some of the doves?
    I always love seeing your projects and look forward to your posts.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Susan…the scroll design is called embossing. I have never done that so I didn’t include it in my tutorial. You can buy clay embossing sheets that are about 5 inches by 7 inches. Sometimes they are called texture tiles. You can also get rolling pins that emboss. The embossing is done after you roll but before you cut out. That’s about all I know. I hope this helps!

  38. Thank you! Your timing is perfect, I bought the clay yesterday and was going to look for the directions today.
    I had bought the tags from you in the past and just loved them. Wish me luck!

  39. Shirley Glines says:

    Hi, Ann.
    Thank you for the tutorial in making these darling tags. Have you painted them before? If so, what type of paint works best?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Shirley…no we never painted our ornaments so I have no idea what sort of paint would be best. If you give it a try, let us know!

  40. Deanna Simle says:

    Ann
    I read your story a few months back and forgot about it. When I opened my email, I seen that you had done this tutorial. It is the first email I will read today.
    I know these meant a lot to you. Thank you sooo much for sharing. Your techniques are very helpful. I will be making some gift tags today. It is a tradition for me to tie an ornament or something special on my children’s packages. Now the grand children as well. You are always an inspiration..

  41. Ann thanks so much for the tutorial! If time allows I think I’ll try to make them… I love them tied on the outside of packages. Have a great day!

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