Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paperclay Gingerbread Ornament

Gingerbread Heart Ornament

Technique:  Stamping

air drying paperclay
Gingerbread House Heart by High Hopes rubber stamp
acrylic paints
drying retarder (or stain of your choice)
ribbon, felt & adhesive

This was a very simple ornament to make.  I often prefer working with paperclay because you can use it instantly, it doesn't require conditioning like polymer clay, and there's no baking, no need for separate equipment, no toxicity etc.

Tthought I should add a little more info on the paperclay as a few have never worked with it before.  I use a brand called Darwi, mostly because that is what is available here, but there is also Creative Paperclay and I think even companies like Crayola make a version branded for children.

Paperclay doesn't require any firing, depending on the thickness it will air dry in around 24 hours.  As soon as you open the packet put it in a zip loc bag and only take out as much as you will need.  I find it easier to work with if I wet my hands first, and you will notice that you get a fine, silky "slip" on your hands the same way as you would with real clay.  It needs minimal kneading to get it to soften, and any tears or splits while you are working with it can be quickly and easily repaired with a damp brush.

To make this ornament, roll out a piece of paperclay on a baking sheet or non stick craft mat  with a rolling pin.  Use a firm pressure to stamp your image directly onto the clay.  I used a mounted red rubber stamp  from High Hopes and got a nice, deep, clean impression.  I haven't tried acrylic stamps, so I can't vouch for the success of those, they don't tend to be as deep so it may now give as good as an impression.

With a sharp knife or scalpel cut around the outside of the stamped image, depending on the stamp you used you could use a cookie cutter for this step.  Set aside to dry over night.

Once thoroughly dry the paperclay can be painted.  I gave mine a base coat of a brown biscuit colour and then when that was dry, I mixed a little burnt umber paint with some drying retarder so that I could use it as a stain (which is primarily what ready bought stains are, a colour medium with a drying retarder so you have time to work with it).  Using a soft cloth I rubbed it over the entire 'cookie' making sure it sat heavily in the stamped image to create a contrast.

Once dry I finished with a few coats of spray varnish, adding a ribbon at the back to hang it on the tree and covering the back with brown felt for neatness.


Make It Monday #55:  Anything Goes
Simon Says Stamp:  Sing It (I'll Be Home for Christmas)
High Hopes Stamps:  Home For The Holidays

For more information on paperclay and other air drying clay, The New Clay News is an excellent place to start.


  1. Wow! Looks like a real cookie! makes gorgeous tree decoration - I'm tempted to have a go :-))
    Sue xx

  2. Hi Morgan...I love the tree decoration. It looks good enough to eat.
    Debbie x

  3. Oh goodness, this is adorable! Looks like an heirloom...beautiful!

  4. Sorry, I forgot to tell you I found your blog via MIM.

  5. Beautiful, a lovely ornament, I've never hear of paper clay before, thanks for explaining how to make it, I saw this beauty over at Make It Monday, good luck in the challenge,

  6. I saw this on MIM and it reminds me of a typical German/Austrian ornament but there is nothing typical about it as it is really beautiful and I love it as it reminds me of family. Lovely!

  7. Beautiful and it sounds so easy! Gorgeous creation xx

  8. Oh my gosh!! This is amazing!! I am the High Hopes Lead Designer and I would love to showcase this on the High Hopes Blog!! Please let me know if that would be ok with you. Of course, we would give you full credit and link it to your post.
    Oh, thanks for playing along with the High Hopes Challenge! We will have another fun one tomorrow!
    High Hopes Lead Designer

  9. This is fabulous! I'm gonna have to check out paperclay...never played with it before!

  10. Hi Lacey :) This would be more than ok, I can think of no higher praise and I would be thrilled and honoured at being mentioned, thank you so much!

    Likewise to all the kind comments, thank you <3

  11. Hi Morgan!
    This ornament is so so cool for the Christmas Tree!! I love it. Thank you for this great inspiration!!!!!