Craft How to....

This is the 4th year that we have made these super easy handprint Father Christmas tree decorations. I missed one year when Bear was 2 as my health was horrifically bad at this point and I’m gutted about that but there’s nothing I can do about that and so I shall just keep making them until he no longer wants to (or maybe I’ll still make him!) 

I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook and asked if anyone would like a tutorial and a couple of people said yes and so here it is. If you prefer to watch, I’ve included a video of the full process, below.

 


 

As I make these ones, I’ll actually be decorating the last 2 years of them (I made but never got round to decorating them) and showing you how not to make the mistakes I have made. 

First though, you start with a cheap, easy and lovely clay recipe that comes together into a beautiful white dough that is smooth and easy to work with.

You will need:

  • 1 cup bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2 cup corn flour (corn starch)
  • 3/4 cup of warm water
  • a saucepan
  • a piece of kitchen roll
  • a rolling pin 
  • greaseproof paper

 

Simply mix the bicarb and corn flour in your pan. Add the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Put the pan on your hob on medium heat and stir continuously until you reach a mashed potato consistency. 

Turn the dough out onto a chopping board and cover loosely with a damp piece of kitchen roll. The damp kitchen roll stops a crust from forming as you leave it to cool until it’s safe for you and the children to handle.

When you can knead it without burning your hands, give it a good knead and that’s that. Beautiful white clay, done.

Now you need to roll out a length of baking paper before you roll the clay out on top, to be about a cm thick. Place your child’s hand onto the clay and press along each finger and the palm. Ensure you have a good imprint. Re- do this as many times as decorations you would like to make.

Next, take a sharp knife and leaving a little border, say 5 mm around the imprint, ‘cut’ out the hand. MAKE SURE you are generous at the bottom of the palm as this is where you are going to put the hole to make it hangable. So cut around the fingers and in the middle of the all, make the border a little wider and using a straw, cut out a generous hole for ribbon or string.

Cut around your decorations on the baking paper so that you can move each one individually and arrange them on a baking tray.

 

father christmas homemade clay handprint decorations white clay cornflour clay

 

Heat your over to 100 degrees c , 200 F and bake your decorations for 30 minutes before turning over and baking for a further 30 mins. Repeat this until they are hard and dry – this could take 2 hrs. Timings will depend on the thickness of your clay and you may need to reduce or add time.

You can leave them to air dry for a couple of days in an ambient temperature – I wouldn’t put them on a radiator as they heat can be too intense and the change in temperature as they heat and cool can effect the clay

When they are cooled, you will need:

  • Red paint – acrylic is best but if you don’t have this, add a good blob of PVA glue to it
  • White paint as above
  • Black marker pen 
  • PVA Glue or Varnish
  • Ribbon or string to hang

Turn your handprint upside down so that the fingers are facing downwards and mark out in pencil, lightly, where you will leave the white bobble, the fur trim of the hat and the face area.

I like to paint the whole hand white – I know the clay is white but just for consistency, when it dries, dab on the pink face area. Then paint the hat red and a little nose, then leave the paint to dry thoroughly. Take a sharpie and add the eyes, nose and other details. You might want to write the year on the back as whilst you think you might remember everything as this point, trust me, in 20 years you’ll struggle to count back! 

 

homemade clay white clay father christmas handprints

 

Now you just need to varnish the hand and this is when you will face a problem if you have not used acrylic paints or added glue to the paint. Even if you have added glue, gently dab on the varnish or glue – better yet, buy some spray varnish as when you ‘paint’ it on, the paint can smudge and believe me, you will be gutted. Leave the red hat till last!

Add ribbon and hang or give as gifts. Make sure the decorations are stored in a dry place during the year – wrap them in tissue paper and keep in a tin to make them last as long as possible. I say this as my poor sister had a bit of a flood in her cellar and her santa hand that we made her warped a little. Sad times.

 

homemade clay white clay father christmas handprints

 

Here’s the full tutorial in video


If you have clay left over, you can roll and use cutters to make all number of decorations. You could take a piece of lace, roll it onto the clay to give your decorations a lovely texture or add a good sprinkle of glitter to the clay and knead it it. 

Another thing that you can make is little finger print decorations or snowman finger print decorations. Roll out the clay, white thin, press your finger in and then cut it out with a shaped cookie cutter. for the snowman, press two or three finger prints in a line. Cut out the decoration and when dry, paint the border a contrasting colour and then add details with sharpies.

 

homemade clay white clay handprints fingerprints snowman father christmas decorations

 

I do hope you like these idea’s and give them a go.

Love

 

6 Comments

  1. Awwww wow! These are such a lovely idea! I am going to check we have all the ingredients and try and make one this weekend! Sim xx

  2. I love these and what a lovely idea to do the same thing every year, I might have missed the boat considering my youngest is now 13 but I still love the idea of making decorations for the tree which are personal #weekendblogshare

    • I’m glad you like them. We’re so lucky in this era with Pinterest etc as there are so many more accessible ideas for us to take advantage of

  3. Oh I love this, what a fab idea x #weekendblogshare

  4. This sounds like such a fun activity. I have used many forms of clay but never made my own clay with sodium bicarbonate and corn flour.

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