This year, why not add a touch of nature to your Christmas décor with these DIY painted clay leaf ornaments? These elegant ornaments are easy to make and can be customized to match your personal style.
How to Make Gold Leaf Ornaments from Clay
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- Air dry clay (or oven-bake)
- Leaf-shaped mold
- Knife or X-acto
- Skewer or straw (for hanger hole)
- Gold craft paint
- Antique wax
- Gold string twine for hanging
Create Clay Leaves
The main difference is that if you use oven-bake clay you can make these ornaments in an afternoon. Air-dry clay requires at least 24 hours and even more depending on the climate.
I happened to have an entire container of air-dry clay in my workshop so that is what I am going to use to save a few bucks.
First condition a clump of the clay you are working with by kneading it until it is soft and pliable.
Then press it into one of the leaf shapes in the silicone mold. Gently press down with your palm to make sure it gets in all the nooks and crannies of the mold.
The next step is to remove the clay from the mold. Just use a lifting motion like you are removing a Tupperware lid off of the container.
Another way to remove the clay is to pick up the mold and pop out the leaf shape.
To remove the excess clay I used the fine tip of a steak knife but an X-acto blade or other fine-tipped knife would work just as well.
Just follow the imprint around the edges of the clay leaf.
The mold that I am using had some great leaf shapes. The details on the smaller leaves looked fantastic!
One thing that I would like to mention is that if I redid this project I would probably cut off the stem portion of the clay ornaments, they are quite fragile and don’t add much to the finished project.
After all of your leaf ornament shapes are cut out there are 2 things to do:
- 1.) Use a straw or skewer to make a hole near the top to run string through for hanging
- 2.) Wet your fingers and smooth out any rough edges and imperfections in the clay.
Let Clay Leaf Ornaments Dry
To allow for air circulation around the clay I always use a cookie cooling rack. It helps speed up the drying process for air-dry clay.
If you are using an oven-baked clay follow the directions for the brand that you are using.
Painting The Ornaments
Once the clay leaf ornaments are completely dry it is time to give them a glam look with metallic paint. I chose a lighter gold color but any metallic shade that you like will work. Copper would look fantastic I think!
A fine-tipped paint brush helps to get in all of the crannies and tight spots of the ornaments.
Finish with Antique Wax
To achieve a more vintage and aged look I finished off my set of ornaments with a coat of an antiquing medium. My preference is the Waverly antique wax that I get from Walmart but this FolkArt one is on Amazon for around $3 and works very well.
Both of these options are super easy to use and go on like paint.
To use the antique medium brush on with a paintbrush and then wipe off the excess with a soft cloth or paper towel.
It will pick up all of the details on the leaf.
Here is a comparison of the painted leaf next to the one with the antiquing to see the difference.
Add String For Hanging
The final step is to add a cord or ribbon for hanging on your Christmas tree. For my set I added a gold twine string but a thin velvet ribbon would look pretty too.
For a more rustic look plain jute twine would work great.
Finished Painted Clay Leaf Ornaments
Your DIY painted clay leaf ornaments are now complete! Hang them on your Christmas tree, give them as gifts to friends and family, or use them to decorate your home for the holidays.
Making your own ornaments for your home is not only a way to be creative it’s a way to show your personality and get a unique look for your tree.
Looking for more DIY ornament ideas?? Well, I have so many ideas for you to scroll through:
18 DIY Ornaments
Learn to Make 18 Different Christmas Ornaments!