Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snowman and Snow Girl Ornaments - "How To"

Sorry about these photos.  I realized that I forgotten to take pictures of these guys, as we were walking out the door on Christmas morning.  So I just ended up just opening the box & snapping a few quick shots.

Made this ornament for a good friend's daughter.

Here are instructions on how I made my snowman and snow girl ornaments, back in 2009.  You will have to forgive my memory, since I DID make these about a year and a half ago.  Unfortunately, I finding my memory is getting a bit fuzzy with age.
As I stated in a previous post - 
"Last year, I decided that I should try to make Christmas ornaments each year for my family members.  I was inspired by the snowman ornaments that I saw on "Michelle my Belle's" blog.  This woman is SO creative!  I just love her blog.  Since it was my first attempt at making ornaments, I decided to follow the instructions she posted for her snowman ornaments.  I thought they turned out really adorable and my family loved them."
I suggest you follow her instructions, but here are a few things that I discovered as I made my ornaments and/or ended up doing differently.
  • I placed a short piece of dowel inside of the snowman, to give the body extra strength.  It ran from his crotch area to his head.  
  • The dowel was wrapped with tin foil to form the main body, arms, legs and hat.  
  • On two of the ornaments, I used a small Styrofoam ball for the heads, since I was running low on tin foil.  After these were completed, I thought I should have trimmed the ball down some, since the heads turned out a little bit too big. *For the Snow girl ornament - I used a medium Styrofoam ball for the substructure.
  • This will be confusing, but...I would suggest embedding a separate small chuck of wood or dowel inside of the head, with an eye hook attached (for hanging).  Our first piece of dowel, that ran through his body, didn't line up with the area we needed to place an eye hook for hanging.  This second piece of wood would be added just under the tin foil, with the eye hook sticking out the top; taking into account that you will need the eye hook to stick out over the clay.  I did not do this and found it difficult to come up with a secure way to add the hook to the top of his head.  If you think about it, the top of the head really only consists of a thin layer of hardened clay with tin foil under it.  You can't really screw anything securely into that?!  We ended up using cotter pins that we purchased from The Home Depot.  They kind of resemble a heavy duty bobby pin without the waves.  
    After the ornaments were completed -
    • We drilled a hole in the head of the snowman.
    • Bent the flat ends of the pin apart/out to create tension, keeping the circle at the top tight.  The shape will look like a Tepee with a circle on top.
    • Filled the hole with glue and then gently pressed the bent out ends of the pin together.  Eased the ends through the hole, continuing pressure until they were through the hole.  Once the pin was in the hole the ends sprung out some to help secure them in place. 
  • After the substructure was completed, I used Creative Paperclay to form the snowman.
  • I highly suggest using short pieces of (thicker type) toothpick or wooden skewers to help secure the eyes and nose on the head and to give them strength.  I learned this the hard way when one or both of the eyes kept falling off my first two ornaments.  From then on, I cut off a 1/2 - 1 inch piece of toothpick or skewer, placed a small dab of glue on the end and stuck it into the head; leaving some sticking out.  Once they were secured, I formed the eyes and nose and pushed them on to the toothpicks/skewers.  Make sure you score both sides of the clay and add a dab of moisture to help adhere the clay to the head.  I'm pretty sure I actually used two short pieces of toothpick behind each eye to also help keep them from spinning. *For the skewers, I use the bamboo skewer you would use for Kabob.  You can find a huge packs of them for just a few buck at places like Walmart, etc.  I use them all the time when doing crafts.
  • I pushed a dull pencil into the clay to make the dots in the hats, the holes for the mouth and in the middle of the buttons. 
  • Once the clay was dry, I sanded the ornament with a fine grit sand paper.
  • For hanging, I used a long piece of wire. I attached one end to the eye hook, then wrapped it tightly (about 5 times) around the shaft of a med sized screw driver to create the tight curl and then formed large curls at the top by hand.
For paint -
  • I can't remember exactly, but I imagine I used a pearlized cream colored paint for the main body.
  • For the eyes, I used black, white and a pearlized lime green and light blue paints.
  • For the buttons, I used black and a pearlized purple paint.
  • After I was done painting the ornaments, I didn't add the thin layer of Golden's Interference Gold that Michelle had used.  My local craft store didn't have it and I didn't have time to run across town to the "big boy" art supply store to purchase it.  Instead, I ended up painting on a few coats of Daler Rowney's, "FW Pearlescent Liquid Acrylics" to the main body (snow part) of the ornament.  The name of the color I used was White Pearl.  FYI - This stuff is very thin in consistency; just a bit heavier than water. You can't see it in the pictures, but this really gave the ornaments a beautiful shimmer. Make sure you let them dry between coats.  
Here is a bad picture of my dusty, freshly shook bottle.
Here is a nicer picture of their blue color, shown on the Fine Art Store's website. See how beautiful the shimmer is?!
  • I antiqued the ornaments by using watered down acrylic paint (probably a raw or burnt umber).  I washed the paint over them lightly and then dabbed/rubbed it off.  You would continue to do this until you like the level of antiquing. I actually had to go back and dab small amounts of paint directly into the hat divots, mouth area and in the buttons, since I didn't think these areas came out dark enough.  I just dipped the tip of a toothpick into paint and dabbed a small bit in each divot. 
  • We sealed the ornaments with a few light coats of satin acrylic sealer. We found that this also brought out the shimmer of the paint.
  • Once they were dry, a scarf was cut out of red felt and added to the snowman ornaments.  *Red and white ribbon was added to the snow girl ornaments for hanging.
Blessings, Tracy

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