As this is Baby E’s first Christmas I decided this was an excellent excuse to start fresh with our Christmas traditions and decorations. It was only fitting that the first decoration I would make was a keepsake of Baby E’s little 6 month old handprint. Not only would it make a great addition to our new tree, I could also make a bunch to give away as gifts for the family.
The most eco friendly option was salt dough, but it wouldn’t last, so I went for natural air dry clay. It’s non-toxic and is fairly long lasting. You can buy it from your local art supply store. The only problem is it can be fairly tough so not easy to get a handprint. I really had to press poor Baby E’s hand into the clay, it didn’t hurt or bother him, but I wouldn’t want him to be any younger (or delicate!).
Working with clay is pretty straightforward. Roll it out, cut your shape, let it dry. Drying usually takes 24 hours or longer depending on the weather and the thickness of your piece. Ideally you should also use an all purpose sealer (also available from the art supply store) that you paint over once the clay is dry. The clay can get sticky so be careful what surface you roll it onto (I used a plastic mat) and peel it off carefully before decorating as the shape may shift if you have to peel it. You also have the option to paint the piece, which you should only do if you seal the clay first.
I didn’t use any fancy tools to decorate the pieces, just a mug to create the circle and a skewer to carve. I also made some other decorations using a star shaped cookie cutter. The only thing to remember is to put a hole in the top for tying string or a ribbon to!