Sunday, December 02, 2012

Photo ornament advent calendar

This felt tree with pockets was a gift--but it would be pretty easy to make if you're handy with a sewing machine.
Our advent calendar with ornaments ready to hang.

We made ornaments using polymer clay and photos.
Each year we add family and friends to our tree. Since we have a miniature tree, we make tiny ornaments.
I've posted about it here and here.  This is fun and easy--but takes a few days (mostly because I only get a couple hours out of a day to work on projects--but also because the glaze needs time to dry). And of course, most of my spinning and knitting projects take years--so this is fast in the context of what I normally am working on.

Digital photos
MS Publisher (or a similar photo editing program that allows you to group photos on one page and crop and size them to the size you need, then print to a printer with photo quality paper)
Cookie cutter in the size and shape you want for your ornaments
Polymer clay in a selection of colors
Oven or toaster oven 
Non-food cookie sheet
Rolling pin or pasta maker for polymer clay
Wire for earring posts
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Sculpey glaze
Paint brush

1. I use a template I made in MS Publisher to make the tiny photos of our family and friends. I print it on my Sony photo printer, and cut out the photos.
2. We use small cookie cutters to get the star shape--I trace the cookie cutter around the photo to make sure that the photo will fit on the ornament.  I trace the shape with a sharpie, then cut out the photo.
3. With a rolling pin or pasta maker to make thin sheets of polymer clay, cut out the ornaments with the cookie cutter.
4. Insert a wire with a loop in the top for hanging the ornament--this can be an earring post, cut it to the length needed. It should be imbedded inside the polymer clay for at least half the length of the ornament so that it will stay in.
5. Press the photos into the clay and cook them at a low heat following the directions on your polymer clay package. I cook mine for 15 minutes at 275 degrees.
6. Allow to cool.
7. Paint the ornament with sculpey glaze allowing it to dry on each side thoroughly before turning over to do the next side. This part of the process takes a couple of days--it takes some time for the glaze to dry all the way.
8. With the wire trimmed from the earring post and the needle nose pliers, make a small ornament hanger.
9. Hang on your tree.

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