It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
I always have high hopes this time of year. I’m going to deck the halls, bake dozens of sugar cookies and gingerbread men and get an early start on handmade gifts for friends and family! And then the days get busier as December races by and my plans start to fade. So this year I vowed to start making gifts earlier.
I love snow globes and one of my gift ideas was to make a clay snowman and set him in a winter wonderland setting. I found little jars that look like snow globes at Michaels and they are perfect!
My favorite clay to work with is Sculpey. It’s easy to use and very durable. I buy the large box and it remains workable until you’re ready to use it. Just keep it wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a cool place. I have a box of it that I’ve been using for about 3 years!
For this project, I determined how big to make the snowman based on the size of the globe. If you can’t find a similar snow globe you can always use a glass jar and paint the lid or substitute a glass cloche.
To make a snowman, I use little balls of clay that I roll into the body, head and arm shapes. I smooth them together at the joints and add pieces of clay for coal buttons. I made the hat from clay and snipped the end of a toothpick for the nose. A scarf will cover his neck so perfection isn’t required! Smooth any rough edges on the clay with your fingers or a sculpting tool and your snowman is ready to bake. But first he needs a clay snow drift to stand in!
For the snow drift base, I shaped a disc of clay to fit the inside of the lid. I then smoothed on mounds of clay to look like drifts. I positioned the snowman and bottle brush trees on the snow base before baking to make sure they’d fit the globe opening! Make sure and un-assemble after checking for fit, as you don’t want to bake the trees! Leave the tree holes in the clay base so you can glue the trees into the holes after baking and painting the base.
I baked the snowman, snow base and hat unassembled on a small baking sheet covered with parchment paper or foil. Just make sure and follow the directions on the package and let the pieces cool completely before painting. Paint them with acrylics before gluing them into position. I then use a brush to paint on a thin coat of Mod Podge matte where I want to sprinkle on a dusting of clear glitter.
The miniature bottle brush trees started out green, which works fine too! I wanted a vintage look so I placed the green trees in a glass jar filled with enough bleach to submerge the tree. And within 25 minutes the trees were ivory. When the trees were thoroughly dry, I brushed them with glue as shown and sprinkled them with clear and gold glitter. I used tweezers to make it easier to glue on little beads and pearls as ornaments.
For more detailed instructions and tips about using oven bake clay check out my Easy to Make Snowman post. It includes directions on how to make an optional snowman hat from black felt.
For this snowman I added a little strip of Warm & Natural cotton batting as a scarf, and you could also use fleece or fabric. The last step was gluing the trees onto the base and added a dusting of glitter.
If you don’t don’t have a snow globe style jar you could make a winter wonderland setting under a cloche. Or feature your snowman in a Christmas village of miniature houses!
Another option is to create a winter scene using fiberfill or a blanket of faux snow. Here I added trees made from sticks glued into a disc of clay that I baked to fit around the stem. I brushed a little white acrylic onto the tree stems to resemble snow and frosted them with glitter.
For the finishing touch on my snow globe I typed Winter Wonderland in a favorite font on my computer and added a decorative border sized to fit around the base of the globe. I printed it on white paper, cut it out and used Mod Podge to glue and seal it.
My snowman is ready for Christmas! Here’s hoping all my handmade gifts will be ready as well, alongside those plates of homemade gingerbread men and decorated sugar cookies!
Nothing shines as brightly as a gift made with love!