DIY Air Dry Clay Christmas Ornaments

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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

Several years ago, when I sold handmade items in my Etsy shop, one of our bestsellers was a line of Christmas ornaments made from air dry clay. For many reasons, I decided to stop selling handmade items, but I also wanted you to be able to decorate with these darling ornaments. What follows is an easy tutorial with detailed instructions and sources. These sweet tags make the loveliest handmade gift for a loved one…or for yourself. Enjoy!

air dry clay christmas ornaments supplies needed

How To Make These Darling Ornaments

  • 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.
  • Pick up each tag, and before placing on a cookie sheet, smooth the edges with your fingers.
air dry clay christmas ornaments cutting out
  • 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.
  • 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 stamping

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.
  • From a reader: “I use a small rubber band to hold my letters together before stamping.”
  • 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 stars gingerbread men christmas trees

Basic Tips For Success

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to seal these ornaments?

When we sold these in the Etsy shop, we did not seal them. I have made them a few times since then, and have not sealed mine…and they are still perfect. A reader left a comment saying she sealed her ornaments with watered down wood glue. She said the ornaments looked slightly shiny and very smooth.

Can these ornaments be painted and what kind of paint should be used?

We did not paint the ornaments for the Etsy shop, and I didn’t paint the ones I made for myself. So I have never personally tried. My best advice would be to try acrylic paint on one ornament and see if you like it.

Can I use stamps with ink to add the letters?

I feel like a broken record, but again, I have never tried it. I don’t know if the ink would bleed into the clay or not. Experiment with one ornament and see what happens!

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. In my opinion, 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, but it comes from your heart. This is a timeless gift for friends and family of all ages.

air dry clay christmas ornaments doves hearts

Get A Printable Tutorial

If you want a printable copy of this tutorial, just fill out the form at the end of the post. It will be sent directly to your email inbox. **Please note: if you are already an OSP email subscriber, go ahead and fill out the form below. I will send the download straight to your inbox. My email company makes sure you won’t have duplicate subscriptions.

air dry clay christmas ornaments tutorial pin

These ornaments are very special to me. I hope you decide to plan a craft session, and make them for yourself, and as gifts.

More Christmas Crafts

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  1. These are lovely, please send me how to make them.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Jo…just fill out the form at the end of the post, and the directions will be sent to your email inbox. Happy Holidays!

  2. Please send me the tutorial for the clay ornaments.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Jennifer…just fill out the form at the end of the post and the tutorial will be delivered to your email inbox. Happy Holidays!

  3. Hi Ann
    Remember making these with my grandsons years ago.
    We used them for place cards for Thanksgiving.
    What a treasure time it was. Thanks for the memories!!!!

  4. Hi dear ,, thanks for this. Have u tried with stamp pad for the letters and then stamping onto the clay?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Arlene, no I haven’t tried stamps. It may work though…if you give it a try, let us know!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Cindy Kersting says:

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. These ornaments are so sweet.

  14. 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

  15. 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 are the best !

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

  17. 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.❤️

  18. Love your heart and style, Ann.

  19. Eddie Malley says:

    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.

  20. 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.

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