Yesterday as I was checking my Twitter feed, one of my friends tweeted this out:
I'm going to give these a try! Trying Homemade clay ornaments with my daughter. Here's the info if ya want to try! http://t.co/6RvdkIdFGp
— Esme Da Casual Claus (@CasuallyCasual) December 21, 2014
It immediately reminded me of the ornament project that I did in Kindergarten with my mom, who was a “Room Mom” that year (remember those?!), and my teacher, Mrs. Weaver. I told Esme that I would send her the procedure, and as I was writing it up, I figured I’d just make it a blog post. Enjoy!
Translucent Hand Ornament
- Roll of heavy duty aluminum foil
- Dull pencil or similar object
- Yarn in the color and gauge of your choice
- Lots of Elmer’s school glue
- Inexpensive food coloring
- Craft or popsicle sticks
- Permanent marker
- Cut a piece of aluminum foil big enough to place the child’s hand on with fingers splayed out. For best results, make it double thickness so that the pencil doesn’t poke through the foil.
- Use the dull pencil to trace around the perimeter of the child’s hand. Don’t pick the pencil up once you’ve started; you want the line connected. Start from the wrist one one side and go until you reach the same place on the opposite side.
- Glue the yarn down along the line of the hand. Connect the yarn, but leave a loop. If you begin and end your yarn line in the same place, you won’t have any knots on the finish product and it will look really polished. Allow the yarn to dry thoroughly.
- Choose a number of colors to mix in the finished product. Primary colors work best, because they mix to make a third color. Example: red and yellow make orange, or blue and yellow make green. This can be a great way to teach this kind of color mixing to kids!
- Once the yarn line is dry, fill the entire inside of the shape with glue. Make sure there are no holes and that the glue is touching the yarn everywhere. Only your hanging loop should be without glue.
- Drop your food coloring into the glue. I don’t recall how much coloring this will take, because I was only 5 at the time we made mine. Use the craft sticks to swirl the colors throughout; make sure all of the glue gets tinted.
- Allow to dry thoroughly, at least overnight, perhaps longer depending on humidity in your climate.
- When completely dry, very carefully peel the foil off of the hand. Go slowly!
- Using the permament marker, write the name of the child on the hand; you could also add their age or the year. Place an ornament hook through the loop, and there you have it! An ornament to treasure!
We’ve literally had mine and my sister’s since I was in kindergarten and she was about 3 years old…more than 30 years now. Hers was partially broken at one time, but she was able to repair it by adding new glue and food coloring to the part that broke out. We store ours along with the other ornaments in our cool basement; you may have to look into other storage options if you live in a more humid climate than Colorado.
Experiments: I’ve never done it, but you could try for a tie-dye effect with your food coloring. I’ve also thought that you could probably do the same process by tracing Christmas cookie cutters, and either dyeing as above or painting the dried glue. Glitter puff paint or paint pens for writing the name might also be fun, and it’s possible that pipe cleaners would do better than yarn; the only problem is you’d have more potential gaps for the glue to escape.
Go to it, and have fun. Tweet me pictures of your finished product @twenty20sight so I can see how they turned out!