How To Make A Baby Ornament


Choosing the Right Materials

When it comes to creating a memorable and cherished baby ornament, selecting the right materials is crucial. The materials you choose will determine the durability, appearance, and overall quality of the ornament. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the materials:

Type of Clay: There are various types of clay available in the market, such as air-dry clay, polymer clay, and salt dough. Each type has its own unique properties and benefits. Air-dry clay is convenient as it doesn’t require baking, while polymer clay offers a wide range of vibrant colors. Salt dough is an economical and easy-to-make option.

Safety: It’s essential to prioritize the safety of your little one. Ensure that the materials you choose are non-toxic and child-safe. Look for labels or certifications that guarantee the product’s safety for use with infants and children.

Texture: Consider the texture you prefer for the ornament. Clay with a smooth texture will give a sleek and polished look, while a textured clay will add depth and interest to the design. Experiment with different textures to find the one that suits your vision.

Color: Decide whether you want to leave the ornament in its natural color or add colors to enhance its appearance. You can choose from a variety of paint options, including acrylic paints, metallic paints, or even glitter for a touch of sparkle.

Additional Materials: Depending on your design and personal preference, you may need additional materials such as rolling pins, cookie cutters, alphabet stamps, paintbrushes, and sealants. Plan ahead to ensure you have all the necessary materials on hand before starting your project.

By carefully selecting the right materials for your baby ornament, you are setting the foundation for a beautiful and long-lasting keepsake. Take your time in considering each aspect and make choices that reflect your style and the uniqueness of your baby’s ornament.

Preparing the Clay

Before you can start working on your baby ornament, it’s important to properly prepare the clay. The preparation process ensures that the clay is ready for molding and creates the best conditions for a successful outcome. Here’s how to prepare the clay:

Kneading: Take a small portion of the clay and begin kneading it in your hands. This helps to soften the clay and remove any air bubbles that may be trapped inside. Kneading also makes the clay more malleable, allowing you to shape it easily.

Dusting: If you find the clay sticking to your hands or the work surface, lightly dust it with some cornstarch or talcum powder. This prevents it from getting too sticky and makes it easier to handle.

Rolling: Use a rolling pin to flatten the clay to your desired thickness. Ensure that the clay is evenly rolled out and not too thin or too thick. This step provides a smooth and even surface for creating the handprint or footprint.

Trimming: If you’re using a mold or a cookie cutter to shape the ornament, carefully trim away any excess clay around the edges. This gives your ornament a clean and defined shape.

Smooth Edges: Use your fingertips or a small tool to smooth out any rough or uneven edges. This adds a professional touch to the ornament and prevents it from cracking or crumbling during the drying process.

Piercing Holes: If you plan to hang the ornament, use a toothpick or a straw to gently poke a hole near the top of the clay. Make sure the hole is large enough to accommodate a ribbon or hook but not too close to the edge, as it may cause the clay to break.

By properly preparing the clay, you are setting a solid foundation for creating your baby ornament. Take your time with each step and ensure that the clay is in the best possible condition before moving on to the next stage. This will contribute to the overall success of your project and help you create a beautiful keepsake to treasure for years to come.

Creating the Handprint or Footprint

One of the most precious and personalized aspects of a baby ornament is the handprint or footprint. This unique impression captures the tiny size and delicate features of your little one. Here’s how you can create the handprint or footprint for your baby ornament:

Positioning: Place your baby’s hand or foot gently onto the prepared clay. Ensure that the hand or foot is positioned securely and straight. You may need another person to help hold or stabilize your baby during this process.

Pressing: With gentle and even pressure, press your baby’s hand or foot into the clay. Make sure to press firmly enough to leave a clear impression but not so hard that it distorts the shape or causes discomfort to your baby.

Adjusting: If the impression doesn’t turn out as desired, don’t worry! You can carefully lift the hand or foot and try again. Smooth out the clay surface and reposition the hand or foot for a fresh attempt. It may take a few tries to get the perfect impression.

Detailing: If you wish to enhance the details of the handprint or footprint, use a toothpick or a small tool to gently trace along the lines and creases. This adds depth and definition to the impression and makes it more visually striking.

Cleaning: Once you are satisfied with the handprint or footprint, use a damp cloth or baby wipe to gently clean your baby’s hand or foot. Also, ensure that any excess clay or residue is wiped away from the surrounding area.

Smoothing: Use your fingertips or a soft brush to smooth out any imperfections or rough edges around the handprint or footprint. This step gives the ornament a polished and professional finish.

Creating the handprint or footprint is a heartfelt and sentimental moment. It captures a fleeting stage in your baby’s life and preserves it for years to come. Take your time and be patient during this process, ensuring that you create a clear and precise impression that truly reflects your baby’s unique little hand or foot.

Decorating the Ornament

Once you have created the handprint or footprint on the clay, it’s time to unleash your creativity and personalize the ornament. Decorating the ornament allows you to add unique touches and make it truly special. Here are some ideas on how to decorate your baby ornament:

Painting: Use acrylic paints or specialized ceramic paints to add color to the ornament. You can choose soft pastel colors for a delicate look or vibrant hues to make it eye-catching. Consider using multiple colors or adding small details like polka dots or stripes.

Embellishments: Add some sparkle and dimension to the ornament by incorporating embellishments. Glitter, sequins, beads, or rhinestones can be glued onto the clay to create a dazzling effect. Just make sure to use non-toxic adhesive suitable for the chosen material.

Personalization: Make the ornament extra special by adding your baby’s name, birthdate, or a heartfelt message. You can use alphabet stamps, a fine-tip brush, or even a permanent marker to write the details on the clay. This personal touch will make the ornament a cherished keepsake.

Texture and Patterns: Experiment with different textures and patterns to give your ornament a unique look. You can use textured fabric, lace, or even leaves to create interesting imprints on the clay. Alternatively, you can carve patterns or designs using small tools.

Decoupage: Cut out small images or patterns from decorative paper or fabric and adhere them to the clay using decoupage glue. This technique adds texture and visual interest to the ornament, allowing you to create intricate and personalized designs.

Sealing: To protect and preserve the decoration, consider applying a clear sealant or varnish over the painted or embellished surface. This will provide a protective layer and ensure that your ornament lasts for years without fading or getting damaged.

Remember, decorating the ornament is an opportunity to let your creativity shine and make it truly unique. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and materials. Enjoy the process of bringing your vision to life and creating a beautiful, customized baby ornament that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Attaching the Ribbon or Hook

Once you have finished decorating your baby ornament, it’s time to add the finishing touch by attaching a ribbon or hook. This step not only allows you to hang the ornament but also adds a decorative element. Here’s how you can securely attach the ribbon or hook:

Choose the Right Ribbon: Select a ribbon that complements the design and colors of your ornament. Satin, organza, or grosgrain ribbons are popular choices. Ensure that the ribbon is wide enough to support the weight of the ornament and has a color that complements the overall aesthetic.

Measure and Cut: Determine the desired length of the ribbon for hanging and carefully cut it using sharp scissors. Allow extra length for creating a loop or bow at the top. It’s better to have more ribbon than necessary as you can always trim it later if needed.

Insert and Secure: Depending on the design of your ornament, you may need to insert the ends of the ribbon into the clay or attach a hook to the ornament. For inserting the ribbon, gently fold one end and press it into the clay near the top. Ensure it’s secure but not so tight that it damages the clay. For attaching a hook, use a strong adhesive or, if possible, a small wire loop embedded in the clay during the shaping process.

Create a Loop or Bow: If you chose to have a hanging loop, bring the other end of the ribbon over and loop it through the inserted end. Adjust the length of the loop as desired and make sure it hangs evenly. If you prefer a bow, tie the two ends into a secure knot, leaving enough ribbon to form a bow shape. Trim any excess if needed.

Double-check the Attachment: After attaching the ribbon or hook, gently give it a tug to ensure it’s securely in place. You don’t want your precious ornament to fall off or get damaged due to a loose attachment. Make any necessary adjustments or re-securing if needed.

By attentively attaching the ribbon or hook, you not only enable the ornament to be displayed but also add an elegant and finished look to your creation. Take your time during this step to ensure that the attachment is secure and visually pleasing, allowing your baby ornament to be safely showcased and enjoyed for years to come.

Allowing the Clay to Dry

After completing the ornament’s decoration and attaching the ribbon or hook, it’s important to allow the clay to properly dry. The drying process is crucial for ensuring that the ornament maintains its shape and durability. Here are some key steps to follow when letting the clay dry:

Choose the Drying Method: Depending on the type of clay you used, there are different drying methods available. Air-dry clay requires exposure to air and time for evaporation to occur. Polymer clay usually needs to be baked in an oven at a specific temperature for a specific duration of time. Salt dough can be air-dried or baked in an oven at a low temperature.

Follow the Recommended Drying Time: Each type of clay has a specific recommended drying time. Refer to the packaging or instructions provided by the manufacturer to determine how long it takes for the clay to fully dry. Follow these guidelines closely to avoid any issues with the clay’s integrity.

Provide Adequate Ventilation: If you’re drying air-dry clay, ensure that the ornament is placed in a well-ventilated area. This allows proper airflow and helps speed up the drying process. Avoid enclosing the ornament in a sealed container, as it can trap moisture and lead to prolonged drying times or even mold growth.

Ensure Even Drying: Turn the ornament occasionally during the drying process, especially if it’s drying on a flat surface. This helps prevent any potential warping or uneven drying. If the ornament is hanging, ensure that it hangs freely without touching any surfaces to avoid distortion.

Be Patient: It’s important to be patient during the drying process, as rushing can result in cracked or warped ornaments. Avoid handling the ornament until it has thoroughly dried to prevent any damage. Check the ornament periodically for any signs of moisture, and if needed, extend the drying time accordingly.

Extra Precautions for Baking: If you’re baking polymer clay or salt dough, it’s crucial to follow the specific baking instructions. Ensure that the oven temperature is accurate and that the ornament is placed on a baking sheet or parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the surface or getting discolored.

By allowing the clay to dry properly, you are ensuring the longevity and stability of your baby ornament. Follow the recommended drying method, be patient, and take necessary precautions to maintain the ornament’s shape and preserve the decorative elements. Once the clay has completely dried, you’ll be able to move on to the final steps of personalizing and displaying your precious baby ornament.

Baking the Clay (if applicable)

If you’re using polymer clay or salt dough for your baby ornament, baking is an essential step in the process. Baking ensures that the clay hardens and retains its shape, allowing it to be more durable and long-lasting. Here’s how you can properly bake the clay for your ornament:

Preheat the Oven: Before you begin, preheat your oven to the temperature specified on the packaging or instructions for the clay you’re using. Ensuring the correct temperature is crucial for successful baking.

Prepare a Baking Sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil to prevent the clay from sticking to the surface. This will also make it easier to remove the ornament once it’s baked.

Place the Ornaments: Carefully place the decorated ornaments on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other or any other surfaces in the oven. This ensures even heat distribution and prevents sticking or distortion.

Monitor the Baking Time: Refer to the packaging or instructions to determine the recommended baking time. Keep a close eye on the oven timer to prevent over-baking or under-baking. It’s better to slightly under-bake the clay than to over-bake it, as over-baking can lead to discoloration or burning.

Allow Cooling Time: Once the baking time is complete, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Place it on a heat-resistant surface and allow the ornaments to cool completely before handling them. The cooling process ensures that the clay fully sets and hardens.

Check for Desired Hardness: Once cooled, gently tap or press the ornament to check its hardness. It should feel firm and rigid. If the ornament still feels somewhat soft or flexible, it may require additional baking time. However, avoid over-baking, as it can lead to brittleness or color distortion.

Personalize and Display: After the clay has been properly baked, you can proceed to personalize the ornament with additional details or personal messages. Once fully customized, your baby ornament is ready to be displayed or gifted to be treasured for years to come.

By following the recommended baking instructions, you can ensure that the clay hardens properly, resulting in a durable and long-lasting baby ornament. Take your time, monitor the baking process closely, and allow the ornaments to cool completely before handling them. With careful attention to detail, your baked clay baby ornament will be a beautiful memento for your little one.

Personalizing the Ornament

Now that you’ve created the base of your baby ornament, it’s time to add a personal touch that makes it truly unique and special. Personalizing the ornament allows you to add sentimental details and make it a cherished keepsake. Here are some ideas on how to personalize your baby ornament:

Add Names: Incorporate your baby’s name into the ornament design. You can use letter stamps or a fine-tip brush to paint the name onto the clay. Consider placing the name near the handprint or footprint to create a cohesive design.

Include Birthdate: Commemorate your baby’s birth by including their birthdate on the ornament. You can use number stamps, carve the date directly into the clay, or paint the date using a permanent marker or fine-tip brush.

Write a Special Message: Express your love and thoughts with a heartfelt message. Use a permanent marker or a fine-tip brush to write a short message or a meaningful quote on the back or edges of the ornament. This personalizes and adds sentimental value to the piece.

Attach a Photo: If you’d like to incorporate a photograph, carefully cut out an appropriate-sized picture of your baby and attach it to the ornament using adhesive or decoupage glue. Preserve the photo by covering it with a clear sealant after it’s attached.

Embellish with Birthstone: Add a touch of sparkle and personalization by gluing a small birthstone onto the ornament. Birthstones can be found in various forms, such as beads, crystals, or even faux gemstones. Choose the birthstone that corresponds to your baby’s birth month.

Add a Symbol or Design: Consider incorporating a symbol or design that holds significance to your family or to your baby’s personality. You can depict a favorite animal, sports item, or a representation of a beloved hobby. Carve it into the clay, use stamps, or paint it on with precision.

Use Colors with Symbolism: Symbolize something meaningful by choosing colors that hold significance. For example, blue could represent tranquility or pink could symbolize love and joy. Select colors that resonate with your family or have special meaning for your baby.

Engage Older Siblings: If you have older siblings, involve them in personalizing the ornament. Let them write their names, a message, or even contribute doodles or drawings that represent their connection with the baby. This creates a sentimental bond between siblings and makes the ornament a family creation.

When personalizing the ornament, let your creativity flow and consider the elements that hold the most meaning for your family. Whether it’s a name, birthdate, message, photo, or symbol, the personalization adds an extra layer of sentimentality. Take your time, pay attention to the details, and create a customized baby ornament that reflects the unique story and love surrounding your precious little one.

Displaying and Preserving the Ornament

Once you have personalized and completed your baby ornament, it’s time to think about how you’ll display and preserve it. Proper display and preservation techniques ensure that your precious keepsake remains protected and can be enjoyed for years to come. Here are some tips for displaying and preserving your baby ornament:

Choose a Safe Display Location: Find a suitable location to display your baby ornament where it can be admired without the risk of being knocked over or damaged. Consider placing it on a mantle, a dedicated shelf, or even hanging it on a Christmas tree.

Keep Away from Direct Sunlight: Avoid placing the ornament in direct sunlight as overexposure to sunlight can cause colors to fade and materials to deteriorate. Choose a spot where it will be shielded from direct sunlight to preserve its original appearance.

Avoid Humidity and Moisture: Moisture can cause damage to the clay, paint, and decorative elements of the ornament. Ensure that the display area is dry and well-ventilated. Avoid displaying the ornament in bathrooms or near sources of excessive humidity such as humidifiers or water sources.

Use a Display Stand or Shadow Box: Consider using a display stand or placing the ornament in a shadow box to showcase it more prominently. This protects it from accidental damage and provides a decorative backdrop for your baby ornament.

Handle with Care: When handling the ornament, make sure to lift it from the ribbon or hook rather than gripping or pulling on the clay itself. This prevents any potential damage or accidental breakage. Treat the ornament with gentle care to preserve its integrity.

Clear Coat or Seal the Ornament: To provide added protection, consider applying a clear coat or sealant over the entire surface of the ornament. This helps to protect the decoration and prevent it from scratching or fading over time. Ensure that the sealant used is compatible with the specific materials of your ornament.

Store in a Safe Place: If you’re not displaying the ornament year-round, store it in a safe place when it’s not in use. Wrap it in tissue or place it in a box lined with soft fabric to protect it from dust, moisture, and accidental impact. Label the storage box to easily locate it in the future.

Regularly Inspect and Clean: Periodically inspect the ornament for any signs of damage or deterioration. If needed, gently clean the surface with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any dust or dirt. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could harm the ornament.

By following these tips for displaying and preserving your baby ornament, you can ensure that it remains a cherished keepsake for years to come. Display it in a safe location, protect it from sunlight and moisture, handle it with care, and store it properly when not in use. With the proper attention and care, your baby ornament will continue to be a beautiful reminder of this special time in your family’s life.