DIY Holiday Clay Gift Tags

DIY Holiday Clay Gift Tags.jpgI found this big tub of air-dry clay at Office Depot (you can also get it at Oriental Trading, in bulk from Walmart, at Kohl’s…just keep an eye out) a while back for about $10 (kind of random but I was really into using clay at the time…still am, actually…I tend to get obsessed with materials and never really quit them) so I thought I’d give this clay a try. Obviously meant for children but still fun for adult crafting, the clay is super easy to use but being an air-dry clay, you have to move quicker than you would with an oven bake clay. With the desire to get my hands into something, I started rolling out little balls like cookie dough and decided to make some stamped gift tags to stock up for the holidays just around the bend. Rubber stamps — another on a long list of items I’m slowly collecting — along with a toothpick and a straw were used to create these little guys.

These gift tags are a super simple little craft to make while you’re on the couch or in the kitchen. All you’ll need is some clay, a cookie cutter if you want perfect shapes, a straw, a hard surface and wax paper to work on.

Here are step-by-step photo instructions:

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step 1: roll out little balls of clay

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step 2: use a rolling pin (or your hands if you’re going for a more organic look) to flatten out your little ball into a circle or oval shape.

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step 3: insert a plastic straw into the clay and twist to create a small hole which will allow for ribbon or string later on.

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step 3.5: experiment with different hole placement for alternate ways to hang your tag — one hole at the top to hang, one in the center, one hold at each end, three holes in the center like a button…

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step 4: use rubber stamps to stamp your designs or phrases into the clay

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step 5: lay out your finished clay tags to dry (I let mine dry for 48 hours).

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Finished tags ready for presents!

Just as I was about to post this, I stumbled upon this post from one of my favorite blogs, Creature Comforts. How funny! These tags look more refined and if that’s the look you want, I’d definitely try the oven bake clay instead of air dry. Plus, there are a lot of color options!I’ll soon start gathering little pinecones and twigs from the neighborhood to keep in a little pile for pretty packages tied up with strings! I may hate Halloween but I’m excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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my christmas presents last year — can’t you just picture a little clay tag on there, too?

Hemp Ball Hanging Mobile

Remember the hemp balls I made for my sister-in-law, Dr. T’s bridal shower? I had quite a few of them (15 to be exact) around the house because I got an idea after making our headboard a few years ago that I’d like some sort of statement piece above the headboard…maybe a large horizontal mirror, artwork, two of these cb2 turquoise “weeds wall art” candle holders…something.  Then I found a tutorial for making hemp lampshades. I thought a few of them grouped together would be tasteful but playful, like an adult mobile, if you will.  Well, after making a ton in different sizes using different hemp and yarns, giving a few away, making more, using them for the “lovebirds” themed bridal shower then putting them on the shelf and tucking some away for later in the closet, I somehow got a spark of “this has to happen right now!” (only over a year later). And, fortunate for me, Mumbles was a great sport despite having just arrived home from a long business trip. What a guy!

A lot of tutorials to make these hanging pendants involve a balloon but I chose to use bouncy balls of various sizes, leaving a large hole opening while wrapping the hemp so I could deflate the ball once the shell had dried, then pull the deflated ball out of the hole to blow up and use again. The only thing I’ll say about that is you can only do as many balls as you have, whereas with balloons you’d likely be able to do a lot more in one day (unless you buy a lot of bouncy balls!). Also, if you don’t want to leave a hole opening and you want the ball to be completely covered, using a balloon that you can pop will be the best way to go. Just remember to leave an opening at least large enough to use tweezers to pull out balloon pieces.  Also, remember to wash off the dried glue from the bouncy balls in between uses so it doesn’t clump up and show between the strands of hemp like stained glass (this will happen if, like me, you loosely weave the hemp to see through the ball).

I you leave a hole opening, I think these would make really great decorative bowls in the living room for candles or even for storing corks or bottle caps since it holds a similar shape to one of my favorite Crate and Barrel glass bowls which I use for that exact function.

So back to my adult mobile: Instead of hanging each ball individually from the ceiling (and creating tons of holes in the ceiling), I used a 3ft. dowel rod and tied each at various lengths and angles laid out on the floor before hanging the whole rod up by two hooks (only two holes!). Once it was up, I put a few battery-operated tea lights in balls where the hole would allow a candle to rest comfortably without falling out (some holes were angled downward on mine). I found a a great, affordable set of tealights and votives at Costco that even came with 30 extra batteries! I can’t recall exactly how much it was but I remember thinking it was a ridiculously good deal, especially because places like C&B charge $12 for a set of six or something crazy like that.

So here it is, in all it’s fabulous my-room-now-looks-complete/DIY glory!…

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finished hemp ball hanging mobile
above our master bedroom headboard (also a DIY!)

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the finished hemp ball hanging mobile
with battery-operated candles.

I think putting something other than candles inside would be cute but I can’t quite think of what…dried (or fake) florals perhaps? Airplants? If it wasn’t dangling above our heads whilst we sleep, the options would probably be endless, keeping in mind you don’t want it to get too heavy. Maybe to house cotton balls, q-tips, and hair ties in the bathroom?

before & after: hemp-wrapped $6 mirror

I also made a hemp-wrapped mirror using one of those cheap mirrors you can get at Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $6…I contemplated hanging two horizontally above the bed but I only did one and the hemp ball mobile really wouldn’t have looked as fabulous anywhere else in our master bedroom (and, as I had to explain to Mumbles: I don’t want hemp decor in every room of our home. Ha!). Sometimes when I get stuck on a craft or a certain medium I get carried away.

Here are some more shots — we had houseguests over so our bed was unusually tidy which led me to take as many photos as possible!

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Have you done any DIY projects with hemp? 

What’s hanging above your headboard?