CraftSanity on TV: Paper Clay Halloween Ornament Tutorial

Running out of fresh Halloween decorating ideas? I was, too.

So I jumped at the chance to test out some sample cookie molds from House on the Hill, an Illinois-based company that sells reproductions of the antique springerle cookie molds, some dating back to the 1600s.

Instead of making cookies, I used non-toxic, paper clay modeling material to create holiday ornaments to decorate a $3.99 wreath. While most of my project tutorials offer readers dirt cheap DIY ideas, every now and then I like to splurge a bit when I come across something cool. The cookie molds I used for this project retail for $24 to $54 each, so this requires a bit of an investment on the front end. The thing that makes it worth it is that you can use the molds for crafting and baking. And you can start with just one mold and add a new one each year if you want to start a new Halloween family tradition.

Note: An inexpensive alternative to this project would be to cut out paper clay ornaments using Halloween cookie cutters. This option isn’t as exciting to me, but it will work.

Okay, so let’s make some paper clay Halloween ornaments.

Supplies:

*Cookie mold
* Paper clay (I experimented with both Delight and Creative Paperclay brands and work both great. Delight is a bit lighter, so it’s especially good for making larger ornaments. I got some of my clay from House on the Hill, and then ran out to resupply for my TV segment at a local craft store.)
* Corn starch
* Acrylic paint in your favorite Halloween colors
* Paint brushes
* Rolling pin
* Pastry brush (to dust molds)
* Wire cooling rack
* Kitchen knife
* Gloss or matte spray acryllic sealer
* Ribbon or yarn to make ornament hangers

Step 1: Roll out the paper clay medium with a rolling pin. Keep the clay thicker than you think you should because you want to make sure there’s enough clay to get a good impression. The thickness required depends on the depth of the mold, so eyeball it and adjust as needed.

Step 2: Press a cookie mold dusted with corn starch into the clay. Gently lift up the mold and use a knife to cut around the edges. Use the round end of a small paint brush to poke a hole near the top for a ribbon or yarn hanger. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let dry for for at least a day. (Repeat process for each ornament.)

Step 3:  Paint the ornaments and let them dry overnight. To seal your designs, spray with a coat of clear acrylic sealer in a well ventilated area. Thread hangers and hand on a spooky tree fashioned from a group of twigs or embellish a store bought wreath like I did.

Have fun!

Here’s a clip of Amelia and I making ornaments on today’s “Take Five” segment on WZZM here in West Michigan.

P.S. I’m curious – do any of you readers have any antique cookie molds in your possession. I’d love to see photos of the originals and hear the story of who used to use them to bake.

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