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Easy DIY Clay Christmas Ornaments

Creating your own DIY Clay Christmas ornaments is a delightful way to infuse warmth and creativity into your festive celebrations. Easy to make air dry clay Christmas ornaments are perfect on the tree but don’t just stop there, they make great gift tags!

The holiday season is upon us and I don’t know about you, but the season has me itching to make all sorts of handmade ornaments, there is nothing quite like a handmade Christmas.

christmas ornaments from clay

Air Drying Clay, Salt Dough, or Polymer Clay?

I have chosen to work with air-drying clay for a variety of reasons, here’s some of the pro’s and con’s of each option.

Air-Drying Clay:


  1. No Baking Required: One of the biggest advantages of air-drying clay is that it doesn’t require baking. Simply let your creations air-dry, reducing the need for specialized equipment.
  2. Kid-Friendly: Air-drying clay is generally safe and non-toxic, making it an excellent choice for crafting with children. It’s easy to work with and doesn’t involve the use of ovens.
  3. Affordability: Air-drying clay is often more budget-friendly than polymer clay, making it a great option for those looking to create without breaking the bank.


  1. Fragility: While air-drying clay is suitable for many projects, it tends to be more fragile and can break easily compared to polymer clay.
  2. Drying Time: The drying process can take an extended period, sometimes requiring several days for larger or thicker creations to fully dry. Patience is key.
  3. Limited Color Options: Air-drying clay may have fewer color options compared to polymer clay, limiting your palette for creative projects.

Polymer Clay:


  1. Durability: Polymer clay is known for its durability once baked. It becomes hard and strong, making it suitable for various projects, including jewelry and intricate designs.
  2. Wide Color Range: Polymer clay comes in an extensive range of colors, allowing for intricate and vibrant designs without the need for painting.
  3. Detail Retention: This type of clay can retain fine details, making it ideal for projects that require precision and intricate patterns.


  1. Baking Required: Polymer clay must be baked in an oven to cure properly, which can be a drawback for those without access to an oven or who want to avoid using one.
  2. Toxic Fumes: When baking polymer clay, there may be slight emissions of toxic fumes. It’s crucial to follow safety guidelines, such as proper ventilation, when working with polymer clay.
  3. Not as Kid-Friendly: While older children can work with polymer clay under supervision, it may not be as suitable for younger kids due to the need for baking.

Salt Dough:


  1. Common Kitchen Ingredients: Salt dough can be made from simple kitchen ingredients—flour, salt, and water, making it easily accessible and cost-effective.
  2. Kid-Friendly: Similar to air-drying clay, salt dough is safe for kids and can be a fun family activity. It is non-toxic and easy to work with.
  3. Easy to Shape: Salt dough is pliable and easy to shape, making it a great option for creating larger, free-form projects.


  1. Brittleness: While salt dough is suitable for decorative items, it can be brittle and prone to breaking, especially if the finished product is thin or delicate.
  2. Limited Detail: Salt dough may not retain fine details as well as polymer clay, making it better suited for more straightforward, rustic designs.
  3. Not as Durable: Compared to polymer clay, salt dough is less durable and may not withstand rough handling or external elements as well.

Each type of clay has its unique strengths and weaknesses, so the choice depends on the specific needs of your project, your skill level, and the desired outcome. Experimenting with different clays can lead to discovering which one best suits your project.

DIY Air-dry Clay Ornaments

Materials for Clay Christmas Tree Ornaments:

Before diving into the creative process, ensure you have the following materials on hand:

  1. Air Drying Clay: Choose a variety of colors to unleash your creativity.
  2. Rolling Pin: For flattening the clay to an even thickness.
  3. Cookie Cutters: Select shapes that resonate with the holiday spirit.
  4. Baking Sheet/Tray: to set aside the homemade clay ornaments to dry.
  5. Acrylic Paints: For adding vibrant hues to your ornaments.
  6. Paintbrushes: Various sizes for detailed painting.
  7. Ribbon or String: To create loops for hanging your ornaments.
  8. Craft Glue: For securing any additional embellishments.
  9. Parchment Paper: To prevent the clay from sticking to surfaces.
  10. Optional: Sea glass, Glitter, rhinestones, and other decorative elements for a personalized touch.

Step-by-Step Instructions for handmade clay Christmas ornaments:

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace Set up a clean and spacious work area. Lay down parchment or wax paper to protect surfaces and prevent the clay from sticking. Ensure you have easy access to all your materials so you can immerse yourself in the process.

materials for making homemade christmas tree ornaments

Step 2: Knead and Roll the Clay Take a portion of air drying clay and knead it until it becomes pliable. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it reaches your desired thickness (approx 3mm).

At this stage you may wish to add texture and patterns to your clay before cutting the shapes out. You can use anything and everything! I have used rosemary, letter stamps, a piece of card and even a drinks coaster.

christmas clay ornaments

christmas clay ornaments

If you choose to indent seaglass or other materials I suggest adding them whilst you have the cutter in place this will stop the ornament stretching out of shape.

You can gather excess clay up and re roll for more decorations or if you wish to store it for a later day I suggest wrapping in cling film and placing in an air-tight container.

Step 3: Cut Out Shapes 
Use festive cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the rolled-out clay. Get creative with stars, snowflakes, and traditional holiday symbols. 

If you don’t have the cookie cutter shape you are looking for consider crafting free-form shapes using a knife.

 step by step clay ornaments using a paper stencil

Here I have made a paper template as a cutting guide for my Christmas Tree clay ornament.

Step 4: Make Hanging Holes Use a straw or toothpick to create a small hole near the top of the ornament. This is where you’ll thread the ribbon or string for hanging later.

christmas ornaments clay ideas

Step 5: Smooth edges Dip your finger in water and run along the edges of the clay ornament, this will smooth the edges and give a more professional finish.

Step 6: Drying Process Place your shaped ornaments on a baking sheet (or cookie sheet) and set aside to dry. I suggest turning once or twice a day to help them dry flat.

christmas tree clay ornaments

how to make clay ornaments for christmas

Step 7: Paint and Decorate Once the ornaments have dried (2-3 days), unleash your artistic flair with acrylic paints. Paint each ornament in festive colors, and add intricate details for a personalized touch. 

Step 8: Attach Hanging Loops Thread a ribbon or string through the hole you created earlier, tying a knot to form a loop. This loop will serve as the hanger for your beautiful clay ornament.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: How long does it take for the air drying clay to dry? The drying time depends on the thickness of the clay. Mine took 2- 3days to dry.

Q2: Can I make these ornaments with kids? Absolutely! Crafting clay ornaments is a family-friendly activity. Supervise younger children, and let their imaginations run wild.

Crafting your own clay Christmas ornaments is a fantastic way to celebrate the season and create lasting memories. Enjoy the easy Christmas craft project, and let your unique style shine through with handmade Christmas decorations. 

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Tuesday 5th of March 2024

This is a brilliant idea to get younger children involved in craft, it doesn't have to be for xmas, it could be any time, I'm going to send my niece some airdry clay to craft with her daughter who is nearly 4, she loves crafty things, I sent her a paper crafting kit that I put together for xmas

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