Big Ceramic Store Blog

Kids Clay and Cookie Cutters Equal Great Holiday Ornaments

"Nana, can I come in the studio and play with clay"? How many times have you heard something similar? And how many times is the answer "No honey, not right now"?

With all the pieces I have in different stages of completion, I worry about the kids being kids, and breaking something. It's hard to put that worry away since so much time and effort has gone into each piece.

Every now and again though, I loosen the reins, and let them in. One of the easiest things I do with them, is cookie cutter shapes. During the summer months, we do wind chimes with the shapes, but also prepare for the upcoming holiday season by doing ornaments and gift tags.

Not only is this is a really easy project, but the kids love giving the ornaments as gifts, and I love seeing the artistic and creative side in each one of them. Being able to share art with children is extremley rewarding!

Here are a few tips and examples of the shapes we use, and the different ways we decorate them.

  • Roll out a slab of clay about 1/8-1/4" thick.
  • Use a rubber rib or other tool and smooth the clay in all directions to align the platelets. Not doing this step, will increase the risk of warping.
  • Select the cookie cutters you want to use.

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  • To make it easier to release the shape, you can dip the cookie cutter in corn starch before you press it into the clay.
  • Cut out the shapes you want.

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  • Place your cutouts on a ware board (drywall).
  • Using a damp finger, paint brush or sponge, clean up the edges for a finished look.
  • This is the fun part! Decorate your shapes. Be creative! I use natural twigs, leaves, spanish moss, loofa sponges, etc... to get texture on some of them, and sgraffito or underglaze others. Ps... don't forget to punch holes for hanging.

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  • Put a second ware board on top of them for a couple hours. The drywall will absorb the moisture evenly from both sides, reducing the risk of warping.
  • Remove them from the ware board and put them on a drying shelf.
  • Cover with plastic and allow them to dry slowly. Depending on the humidity in your work area, they may be ready to fire in a couple days, or it could be a week or so.
  • Glaze and fire. I only glaze one side however; some potters use a high temp wire to hang them in the kiln, and glaze both sides.

Do you have an idea or project you'd like to share, or would you like to try your hand at writing an article for us? Shoot us an e-mail at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com

Look for more great ideas on the "How-to" page of our website.

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