Thursday, 15 December 2011

Deck the halls!!!!!!

Hi everyone! It's Nat here wishing you a happy December and lead up to Christmas! Continuing our theme of using non-Christmas stash to create festive items, I thought I'd share with you something a little different from our usual projects that you might like to try out as quick and easy pre-Christmas craft, using some stamps and acrylic paint.

With a new home together, I had been excited about festive decorations since Mr T and I moved in during the spring, and began fervently "pinning" ideas on my Christmas Pinterest board since around July (see my board here). A theme soon became apparent, with white, silver and natural materials featuring heavily.  I planned to make a lot of the decorations myself to fit in with the cosy, home-spun feel we've been trying to create, and was particularly inspired to have a go at recreating some white clay decorative disks I'd seen over and over again on the site. After making mine, I've since seen something similar in a large retain chain that is full of magic and sparkle. Their designers crept into my house one night in October and copied me obviously!

The decorations are made from salt dough - the ingredients of which I'm sure will be found in most kitchen cupboards. You'll also need some stamps, and cookie cutters to make your basic bauble. Check out my Inklinkz Collection at the end of my post for some recommendations from the shop that I think would be perfect for this project.
To make my salt dough, I used one cup of plain flour, one cup of salt and half a cup of warm water. This made about 15 decorations that are just over a centimeter thick. Simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a dough.

I chose to break off a small bit of dough each time to work with, rather than rolling it all out at once to make it easier to work with.
I rolled the lumps of dough onto a piece of hessian, which gave it a nice waffled texture which you can make out in the photo below. You could alternatively use some background stamps to make a nice textured base for your decorations (check out the Inlinkz collection for suggestions). I dusted the hessian with flour so that the dough was easy to peel off. I also used some rolling guides to ensure all my baubles would be the same thickness.
Working on the textured side, I used a pretty doily stamp to add some decorative detail to my dough, pressing hard enough to get a good imprint, but not so hard that it would flatten the waffle texture from the hessian.
Using a round cookie cutter, I cut my bauble out. I wanted an off-centre design.....
...and found that as a result I was able to cut two baubles from each stamped image.
I laid them onto a baking sheet covered with some greaseproof paper, and created a hole in the top of each with a skewer.
You can choose leave them harden in the air over a few days, or bake them in the oven. Should you choose to bake them, low and slow is the key. As you can see, I slightly burned my first batch, but as they were being painted it didn't matter too much (phew!!).
For my second batch, I used the tree stamps from American Crafts Campy Trails range, and a heart shaped cutter. The little pine trees all in a row were not only very cute but very seasonal!
Once all baked, I decorated my baubles by painting them with acrylic paint, and whilst this was still wet, gently sprinkled them with some ultra-fine glitter. I chose to paint mine white and thread them with garden twine to fit in with our chosen colour scheme, but you could use any colour acrylic paint at all, even combine colours, and thread them with Bakers Twine or ribbon to fit your own decor/scheme. The sponge tops on the Adirondack paint dabbers make painting your decorations quick and easy. Two coats gave my decorations a perfect finish.  And why stop there? Bling and buttons could be a welcome addition too.

Here they are a-dangling on our tree:
They can be personalised with alpha stamps, and as well as baubles, they'd make great alternatives to gift labels and place cards.There is still time to try this craft out before the big day, and could be fun way to fill those long afternoons during the holidays with children.

Below are links to some of the products I used, and some suggestions of some great stamps that you could try. In particular the new Studio Calico stamps would be perfect for this project - I love the idea of combining the wood grain pattern with the bird from the My Happy set. The You Are The BEst set not only contains some yummy round patterns that could be used as backgrounds, the sentiments stamped on top would make a great handmade gift for someone special, and the fun silhouette heads in the Silhouette pack are super trendy right now :
Which leaves me just to add that I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and look forward to seeing you all back here in the New Year!!

10 comments:

Jill said...

I am sure I used to make playdough for the children like that!! Great ideas Nat!

Happy Christmas and New Year to you, Nat, and everyone at Sarah's Cards, and thanks for a year of inspiration.

Jill x

Sandie Vincent said...

Gorgeous decorations Nat, must remember this for next year!

Jenga said...

Gorgeous Nat. They look like you could buy them in John Lewis! Posh ;)

Helen said...

Just don't use 'posh' salt to make them as it doesn't work!

They're much better than my first efforts. Need to try again.

Louise said...

Blinking gorgeous. Make sure you store them properly as they'll go soggy! I put my salt dough thing ths boys have made in rice in a tupperware tob and it keeps them lovely.

Rizwan Ali said...

Its so much and looks very pretty i am so much happy to see this keep adding thanks
Scratch Cards
Custom Gift Cards
Clear Business Cards

Vanessa Stokoe said...

WOW, fantastic! :D

Vanessa x

Sandie said...

I might not think to use stamps to impress into salt dough so thank you for sharing. These look wonderful!

Redanne said...

The decorations are amazing!

Sally said...

Thanks! I made some of these but stamped letters on them and used as gift tags, they looked fab and everyone loved them!!