As an artist and homeowner, Donna enjoys creating unique decorative items and holiday ornaments to welcome all to her artistic abode.
This cheerful Santa Claus ornament is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and to get you in the Christmas spirit. This cute tree decoration is easy to make with some polymer clay and a few household tools. This is a great beginner project if you'd like to start working with polymer clay.
Polymer Clay Colors - I recommend using Sculpey clay colors.
- Red or green for your star body - I used about 1/2 a block for my ornament.
- The flesh color of your choice for the face.
- White for the details - Sculpey makes a white clay, a pearl color, and a white with glitter. Any of these choices would be great for this project.
- Blue, black, or brown for the eyes.
- Green (optional) for some decoration.
- A eye pin (jewelry supply) or a small piece of wire.
- A piece of ribbon or twine for hanging your ornament.
- (Optional) a pink crayon.
You can use clay tools for this project, if you have them. Otherwise, you can just use some simple items you have around the house:
- A hard piece of plastic for cutting, like a credit card.
- A dowel for rolling out your clay.
- A round pen top for shaping.
- Some buttons with a design, or rubber stamps, for adding decoration.
- Wax paper to use as a work surface.
- Aluminum foil for baking.
- Save your extra clay pieces that you cut away. You can use them for the details in your Santa's face and clothes.
- Wash your hands and tools when changing the color of clay you are working with. The dark colors can stain your hands and tools and transfer to lighter colors.
- I like working on wax paper so I have a clean work area.
1. Print and cut out the star template above to use as a stencil for your ornament. You can make this ornament any size you wish. My finished decoration was about 3 1/2 inches from the left arm to the right arm of my star.
2. Working on a piece of wax paper, roll out a piece of clay in your star color that is big enough to fit your star template. Roll your clay even so that it is about 3/16 of an inch thick.
3. Use your cutting tool to cut your star shape from your clay. Hold on to your extra pieces. Position your star so one arm is at the top. Use your finger or rounded tool to smooth the edges of your star.
4. (Optional) Use stamps, buttons, or other items to add texture to your star. Do not decorate or stamp the top arm (head) of your star (see photo above).
5. Wash your hands and tools before handling your flesh and white colors. Use a second piece of wax paper to shape all your other clay pieces.
6. Roll a small ball of flesh color clay. Press this ball flat to create a oval shape. Shape the sides so your oval shape is slightly rounded in the center.
7. Place this oval at the base of the top arm of your star (see photo above). Press this oval gently in to your star so that it sticks in place.
8. Working with your white color, roll a thin snake of clay using your fingers.
9. Cut your roll of clay in to five shorter pieces of the same length. Gently roll each of these pieces so one end is slightly rounded.
10. Carefully place these five pieces of clay under your oval to create a beard for your Santa (see photo above). Press gently in to your star shape. Don't worry about the seam between the face and the beard.
11. Take a very small piece of red clay and roll it into a ball. Press this ball flat to create an oval shape that looks like a tongue (it does not need to look perfect). Then put this aside.
12. Take your flesh color and roll a very thin piece of clay. Wrap this thin piece of flesh color clay around your red tongue like a "U" shape (see photo above).
13. Cut the excess clay off to create a small tongue shape wrapped in flesh color with a flat top edge.
14. Use your rounded tool (like a pen cap) to make a small depression in your beard right under the chin of your face.
15. Place your tongue/open mouth under the chin in this depression. Gently press into place so your mouth is even with the face (see photo above). Do not worry about the seam between your pieces.
16. Roll another snake of white clay that is the same thickness as your beard pieces.
17. Cut this snake in half. Take each of the resulting pieces and roll one end so that it is rounded.
18. Starting at the rounded end, roll each of these snakes to create half of a handlebar mustache. Note: If you'd prefer a different mustache style, you can roll your clay to form two thick commas and use those to create a mustache.
19. Trim and place your mustache pieces above your mouth piece. Position your mustache so it covers the seams for your mouth and beard (see photo above). Press into place.
20. Roll a small piece of flesh colored clay to form a round nose for your Santa. Press this ball in the center, above your mustache.
21. Roll two very small balls of the clay for your eyes (I think this Santa looks cute with a big nose and small eyes, but your can make these features whatever size you want). Place the eyes so they are spaced evenly. Use the flat end of a pen to press them in place.
22. Then roll two very small pieces of white clay to create eyebrows for your Santa. Use the end of a pen to press them in place (see photo above).
23. Once your Santa face is done, gently move your Santa star on to your aluminum foil.
The Extra Details
24. Take the scraps of clay from cutting out your star and form them into a flat triangle shape. The base of this triangle should be as wide as your Santa's face.
25. Shape the top of your triangle into a long point. Your triangle can be uneven to look like an elf hat.
26. Roll the top point down to create a curl in the top of your Santa hat. If you don't like the way it looks, you can cover it with a round ball of white clay.
27. Place your Santa hat on top of the head. You can trim the head flat so that your Santa hat fits across the face if you need. Don't worry about the seam between the hat and face.
28. Press the sides of the hat around the top arm of your star so that it is covered.
29. Roll a thick snack of white clay that is about twice as long as the bottom edge of the hat. Round both ends.
30. Lay this snake across the seam between the face and hat to form a brim. Curl the ends in toward the center and press in place (see photo above).
31. (Optional) Take a very small ball of green clay and press it flat into an oval shape. Use your cutting tool to press leaf details into this oval (see photo above).
32. Make a couple of these leafs to add as details to your Santa hat. I tucked mine into the brim of his hat.
33. Now you want to add a way to hang your Santa ornament. One option is to use a eye pin (available in the jewelry section at craft stores) or a small piece of wire and create a loop at one end of the wire with a pair of needle nosed pliers. Then gently press this wire into the top of your Santa's hat so that the loop sits at the top of your ornament. Make sure that the end of the wire does not come out the front or back of your ornament.
The other option is to use a pointy tool to create a hole in your Santa's hat for a hanger. If you decide to make a hole, be sure not to cut it too close to the edge of your clay.
34. Bake your clay Santa according to the manufacturer's instructions. Then let it cool completely.
35. (Optional) Once your ornament is completely cool, use can use a pink crayon to add a little blush to your Santa's nose and cheeks. Add the pink color gently and slowly to build up to the color you want.
36. Add a piece of ribbon or twine to hang your ornament and enjoy!
© 2020 Donna Herron
Donna Herron (author) from USA on November 10, 2020:
Thanks, Heidi! I'm finding the silver lining in staying home more by starting my holiday crafting early this year. Hope you are healthy and happy! Thanks for your comments!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on November 09, 2020:
Aw, so cute! I love the texturizing you do with the clay. We definitely need some holiday cheer like this to end 2020, right? Hope you're doing well. Take care!
Donna Herron (author) from USA on November 09, 2020:
Thanks, Sally! I hope you are staying healthy and safe, and enjoying some holiday crafting. Thanks for your comment!
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on November 08, 2020:
Hi Donna, cute project for the children, beautifully timed for Christmas.