Blogmas Day #8: DIY Clay Poinsettia Ornaments

It is now the second week of Blogmas, and I'm stressing out a little. I feel so behind already, and I'm trying really hard to catch up and get ahead of everything. I've got to write several more posts and take photos for them too. It is frightening how quickly this month is flying by, and I can scarcely believe that there are only two weeks and three more days till the big day. I'm rushing to complete the other Blogmas posts because I only wrote about half of them.

Up today is a tutorial on how to make your own poinsettia ornaments out of cold porcelain clay. I made these ornaments for my tree, inspired by a few pictures that I found on Pinterest. I couldn't find a tutorial that I liked, so I went with something that was both easy, made use of what I had, and didn't require a lot of effort.

I had the clematis veiner in my cake decorating kit, and I really wanted my poinsettias to have veining that looked somewhat realistic, but you can use something pointy like a toothpick to draw it on. I made cold porcelain by adapting a bunch of recipes to use what I already had, and at first, I wasn't impressed with the clay as it kept losing its shape. However, I found that leaving it to sit for at least a day made it stiffer and hold its shape better. I can't remember where I found the main recipe because I'd made it over a month ago.

It dries white and hard like porcelain and doesn't break easily unless you drop it or use heavy pressure to snap the pieces. They shrink a little while drying but the size reduction isn't wholly noticeable when you put everything together.

Cold porcelain
Cornflour (cornstarch)
Some form of mat, surface or board to work on
Rolling pin
Leaf-shaped cutter in two sizes
Round cutters, two sizes
Sharp knife
Clematis or poinsettia veiner (optional)
Drying rack
A soft brush
Fine sandpaper
Hot glue gun
Hot glue stick
PVA, craft or wood glue
Pearl and gold beads
Bakers twine or string of preference

1. Condition the clay so that it is pliable and no longer crumbly, and remove a small piece from the main dough. The main dough should be wrapped up so that it doesn't dry out before you get to use it - this is also called the virgin dough in baking terms.
2. Dust your surface with a little bit of cornflour so that the clay doesn't stick to it, and roll out your piece so that it is about 1-2mm thick. Cut out a leaf about 10cm/4" in length. There are generally 5 leaves per layer for the poinsettia plant, so make sure you have five of each size.
3. Dust the veiner liberally with the cornflour as the dough tends to stick to it, and place a leaf in the centre of the bottom mould. Put the top mould over the leaf and press firmly but gently enough to not squash it completely. Remove the leaf and repeat for the rest of them.
4. Using the small round cutters, or a knife, cut concaves into the sides of the leaves and if you didn't use a veiner, now is the time to indent veins using your pointy implement. Leave to dry on the drying rack.

5. Take a bit of virgin dough and condition it into the used dough to make it pliable again and repeat steps 2-4 for each round of leaves, though you want to make the leaves smaller the closer it gets to the center, so ideally the next layer should be around 7.5cm/3" in length, and the next one about 5cm/2", five of each for every flower.
6. The uppermost round can have anywhere from 3-5 leaves, and to make these I used a sharp knife to cut a small leaf, and then remove bits from them so that they look uneven/misshapen. Vein using the veiner or toothpick and then let dry.
7. It'll take about a day or two for them to dry completely, depending on the atmosphere. Once dry, use the sandpaper to clean up the edges, and the brush to dust the excess cornflour off.
8. Heat up your hot glue and sort the leaves into groups so that you know which goes where. Start with five of the biggest leaves, and let it set before adding the second, smaller layer, so on and so forth.

Oh, hey there, Sookie!

9. Once you have finished your flowers, add a bit of wood glue to the centre of each flower and add the beads. Using hot glue is much easier and cleaner but you'll have to work really quickly to add the beads before it sets.
10. Cut lengths of the twine or your string of choice long enough to tie the ends together, and properly hang the poinsettia on the tree. I tie the ends so that the glue has something more solid to anchor it to the flowers.

That's pretty much it for the poinsettia ornaments! I hope you guys are going to try this activity out, it's super fun to get your hands dirty while watching something, Gilmore Girls in my case. This took about a day total to make, but I was taking my time with them. After all, crafternoons are meant to be fun and relaxing. This was my (proper) first time making something using cold porcelain, and I like how cheap and easy it was to make and use, without having to use an oven to cure it, like polymer clay.

Have you used cold porcelain before? What did you make with it?


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