Terracotta is showing up in home décor more and more and not just during the warm gardening months. Now, you will find it integrated year round thanks to its beautiful warm shades and unique yummy texture. I personally cannot get enough and think it pairs beautifully with autumn’s palette of rich colors. Terracotta also happens to pair perfectly with my growing collection of Tea Leaf Ironstone displayed in my dining room hutch. With the two in mind, I decided to bring another unexpected element into the mix: ornaments! When we think of ornaments, we typically relate them to Christmas time, however, I enjoy using them throughout the year in a variety of ways. Let me show you step by step how to make air-dry terracotta and white clay ornaments that can be styled into a gorgeous one-of-a-kind centerpiece to enjoy throughout the cozy fall season!
There are many options when it comes to air-dry clay. I chose to use the Crayola brand for my white ornaments as it is lightweight and easy to work with. Crayola does have a terracotta color option, but it was browner in color than the rich, almost copper color I was looking for to mimic my dishes. Das brand Air-Dry Clay in terracotta was more the shade I was looking for so I chose that one, although any brand will work just fine.
I used a variety of leaf shaped cookie cutters for my ornaments, but you could certainly use pumpkins, acorns, woodland creatures etc., to better suit your taste and still achieve the same overall look.
Parchment Paper Rolling Pin
Wooden Dowel or Straw Ribbon for Hanging
Artifical or Real Leaf for Pressing Paint Markers
How to Make:
The best thing about this craft is that it is super easy and fun. If you have played with playdough, you will rock this! This is a great project to get children involved in too.
Step 1: Roll Out Your Clay
Grab a piece of parchment paper to protect your surface and keep clay from sticking. Form your clay into a ball. Using your rolling pin, flatten the clay to 1/4″ thickness.
Step 2: Cookie Cutter
Select a cookie cutter and firmly press it into the flattened clay. Give it a slight twist to release any excess from around the edges and then lift the cookie cutter up to reveal its shape. Continue this process, carefully setting each shape aside as you go, until you attain your desired number of cut outs.
Step 3: Add Veining (optional)
Once you have your leaf shapes cut, use an artificial or real leaf to gently press into the top of the cutout to add a veining effect. I definitely recommend this step because it adds such interest and texture to your ornaments.
Step 4: Do Not Forget the Hole!
Using a wooden dowel or straw, poke a hole through the top or your ornament large enough to feed your ribbon through for hanging.
Step 5: Leave Out to Dry
Place your ornaments on a baking sheet to dry overnight. I recommend flipping them halfway through the drying time to help the backside fully dry. You will know they are ready when you can no longer see any moisture marks on them.
Step 6: Add Detail (optional)
This is another optional step and one that can either be completely omitted or altered to fit your particular style. Using copper and white paint markers, I chose to trace the veining with the contrasting color to each ornament in order to create interest and tie the two colors together. In addition, you can add any detailing you would like such as stripes, polka dots, words, etc.
Step 7: Ribbon
Next, feed your ribbon through the previously created hole and tie either a simple knot or bow leaving a loop for hanging.
Create a Centerpiece
Now that you have created your beautiful ornaments, it’s time to show them off! For this step, I simply grabbed some branches from a tree and removed any remaining leaves. I then arranged the branches in a vessel using floral foam to secure them in place. Finally, I hung all my terracotta and white leaf ornaments. Lastly, I added light orange and white pumpkins, along with eucalyptus stems, to finish off the look of my table.
How to Use Air-Dry Ornaments
In addition to using these as ornaments for any season or holiday, they also make great gift tags. You can customize them to match your wrap and write the recipient’s name on the back. They would also be a fun craft project for parties. Another idea would be to use them as place cards for your holiday table setting.
How special that your guests would have something to take home in remembrance of the event!