Friday, November 28, 2014

Stick Figure Family Tree Ornaments

Yesterday, my little girl told me that she wanted to make some ornaments for the Christmas tree. We didn't have a lot on hand to work with, but I knew I had a nice little stash of glitter she could have fun with, and I knew I could make salt dough. Considering what other crafting supplies I had squirreled away, these are what came to my mind. Consider them a medium difficulty level, as my six year old daughter made them with (a lot of) help from me.

Salt dough:
       1 cup flour
       1/2 cup salt
       Water to consistancy
Food Coloring
Size 2 jewelry wire
White craft paint
Pink Paint (I used pink glitter nail polish)
Fine point Sharpie or gel pen
White glue
Paint brushes
Assorted glitter
Clear Acrylic Spray

Step 1: 
Mix the dough and separate out enough egg-yolk sized balls to make the bodies. We have six family members, so we made six bodies. Make sure you have a good consistency. You may need to add more flour or more water, to keep the dough from being too sticky or too grainy.

Fold in food coloring and knead until the color is uniform. I didn't use gloves, as you can see, and my fingers are now pink.

Step 2:

Form the bodies into pear shapes. These do not need to be completely perfect, but try to get them symmetrical. They will puff out a little during baking.

Take plain white dough, the size of a hominy kernel, and form the head.

Step 3:
Take a one inch piece of jewelry wire, form a coil on one end and push it up into the head, to form a neck. Then push the other end into the body.

A small round tube, the size of a lolly pop stem is the perfect diameter to wrap the jewelry wire for all purposes of this project.

For the ladies, since we have curly hair, I wrapped two inch pieces of wire to form ringlets. I then pressed four of them into the top of the head.

On all ornaments, make a coil on one end of a one inch piece of jewelry wire, and press it down into the top of the head. This is for the hanger.

Step 4:
Cut two 4 inch pieces of jewelry wire to make the legs and arms.

Press these all the way through the body, near the head and at the bottom.

Step 5:
With each ornament complete with legs, arms, hair for those who have it, and hanger hooks, they are ready to bake.

Put them into the oven at 250F for four hours.

Step 6:
Although the heads of the ornaments were white before and after baking, I felt that giving them a couple of coats of white acrylic craft paint gave them a more even surface. However, it is not completely necessary.

Curl the ends of the arms and legs into circles for the hands and feet.  I used a gel pen to draw on the eyes, noses and mouths, in a Charlie Brown inspired style.

Paint a small dot of pink glitter nail polish on each cheek, to give it an antiquated blush. Plain pink paint will also work.

Step 7:
When making the bodies, I made sure that I created colors that corresponded to the glitter I had put away. Because it was likely that there would be holes in the glitter, I wanted to mask it as much as possible.

Water down the white glue to make it easier to paint onto the bodies, and be sure to use a glue that will dry clearly. You want to be careful not to saturate the salt dough, get a good coverage.

Quickly sprinkle on the glitter and try to get it as even as possible.

Use a dry paint brush to dust away any glitter from the face. Gently spray it with a couple of light coats of the clear enamel, to set the glitter and keep it from flaking off.

Place a cord through the hanger hooks, clean away any stray glitter from the faces, arms and legs, and your little stick figure ornaments are ready to hang on your tree!

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