‘Tis the season! The weather has turned and sadly there aren’t quite as many opportunities to get outside and explore the Island’s wildlife, so I decided to bring it indoors! DIY Christmas tree ornaments seemed like the perfect way to get crafty and festive.
These are really simple to make, but do take a bit of forward thinking. I’ll break it down step-by-step.
You will need:
Hand picked flowers or leaves
1 cup of baking soda
½ cup of corn starch (corn flour outside of the US)
¾ cup warm water
Mod Podge, or DIY alternative, I used this one.
string or ribbon
Step 1: The flora
The first step is flower pressing. I had a really great time foraging for flowers and leaves all around my neighborhood, my favorite actually being the ferns and ivy leaves. I love the ivy leaves because they look like the elvish friendship pins in the Lord of the Rings! I found that flowers with rich and dark colors work the best, as the light-colored flowers become very transparent when dried. I plucked a few flours and leaves from landscaping around my neighborhood. I love flowers, but the leaves actually turned out to be my favorite against the off-white clay ornaments.
Once you’ve picked your flowers/leaves they need to be pressed so that they lie flat on the ornament. Pressing flowers is really simple to do at home. All you need is some parchment paper (baking paper), a medium-large sized book and something heavy to stack on top. You need to place each flower in between two folds of parchment paper. Fanning out the petals will give you the best look when dried. Once your flowers/leaves are in between pieces of parchment paper, insert them between pages of your book. Then you’re ready to squish the hell out of them. Pressing flowers takes at the very least a week, but up to a month depending on the size of the flower/leaf.
Step 2: The dough ornaments
There are a lot of dough ornament recipes out there, but I used this recipe. I liked that it only had a few simple ingredients and the dough can be saved to use again later. Once you’ve combined the ingredients, roll the dough out until it’s about 1/8th inch- 1/4th inch thick. Use a cup or round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Be sure to poke holes in the circles for the string. Pop them on a cookie sheet and bake at 100 degrees C (or 200 F) for an hour.
Step 3: DIY Mod Podge
If you have your own Mod Podge already, skip on down to the next step, but if you want to save a bit and make your own, check out this recipe I used. There are a lot of similar recipes for DIY Mod Podge, but what I can gather is the essential element is the glue to water ratio – 2:1.
Step 4: Putting it all together
All the pieces come together now! Start by placing a base layer of Mod Podge on the ornament for the flower/leaf to stick to, be careful not to accidentally seal the string hole at the top. Carefully place the flower/leaf in place. Once it is on the ornament it can be slightly adjusted if you make a mistake, but there’s no way it’s coming off once it’s on there. Once the flower/leaf is in place, slap on another layer of Mod Podge and let it sit to dry. I left mine for an hour just to be sure. Once dry, loop a string/ribbon through and its ready to hang on the Christmas tree!