To make your own naturally scented gingerbread embellishments as shown, you will need air dry clay, spices (optional), paint (optional), cling film, a rolling pin, a small gingerbread man/person cookie cutter, plate/tray, and stylus (or toothpick/skewer). Tips: I used cinnamon and cloves to scent my air dry clay - it smells awesome! They pack a big scent punch for small volumes and work beautifully with the clay/paint for a natural look. Over time, the scent may fade, but can be quickly refreshed with a little dab of essential oil in a discrete location on the back of the figures.
- Work your clay in your hands until soft.
- On a suitable work surface, flatten the clay and incrementally work in your spices until you're satisfied with the amount of scent in your clay "dough". A little goes a long way. :)
Tips: The additional dry spice material may make your clay feel a little dry. If you want a colour boost (I did - and don't forget things will dry a little lighter too) you can work in a small amount of water-based paint, chalk pastel, or even powder/gel food colouring. I used gauche for lots of colour in a little daub. Tinting can be messy business, so choose a suitable workspace and prepare to get your hands dirty (or wear gloves if you wish). You can also use a small amount of water with you paint or on it's own. Just a touch or you'll end up with muddy messy clay.
- For ease of handling and clean-up, place a piece of cling film on a flat work surface, position the clay, layer another piece of cling film over the top and roll the clay between them.
- Position your cutter, paying attention to alignment with the stenciled pattern if you have preferences. Cut shapes with a cookie/biscuit cutter. The clingfilm is, of course, optional, but this rounds the edges as the cutter presses through. A little clay crafting trick that helps give your finished pieces a very nice edge. Lift the shape and place on a plate or tray covered with clingfilm.
- Rework, roll, and repeat until you have as many shapes as you wish.
- You can dip a fingertip in water to gently smooth out the edges and any imperfections if needed.
- Use a stylus, toothpick, or skewer to create two small holes, where the buttons would be on a gingerbread person, taking care to ensure the hole is smooth and rounded on both sides.
- Press to indent two eyes and a mouth. Tip: If you wish, you can use the edge of a small round object on an angle to create a perfect mouth instead of a stylus.
- Leave on the plate/tray to dry (drying times will depend on your choice of clay and ambient conditions) - it will lift easily from the clingfilm.
- Once the clay is completely dry, you can add a little coloured paint to the face, if you wish, using a very fine brush or (my preference) the tip of a toothpick. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Use as embellishments, decorations, ornaments, or handy little air fresheners. Remember that unfinished air dry clay isn't water-resistant, so don't use these outdoors or in other wet areas. Keeping them natural lets the scent free and they can also be re-freshed with essential oil as noted above. This post was created in collaboration with our partner blog at Green in Real Life. Pretty presents or decorations can be eco-conscious, recyclable, reusable, or even multi-use - just like these. My gingerbread folk are destined for the sock drawers and other scent worthy locations after their holiday duties. :)
We're on a special holiday posting schedule this month, with a Christmas share for you ever weekday between now and the start of our offline holidays, with DIY decorations, wrapping, treats, and more. Yay! Stay tuned for more!