Paper Mache Christmas Ornaments

Made by Betty Stills

These paper mache Christmas ornaments were made using aluminum foil as the base structure and then adding Activa Instant CelluClay. It is a dry product that I slowly mixed water into and kneaded to a texture similar to a raw pie crust.

You can add and shape one layer of paper clay at a time, let dry naturally or in a 200° low temperature oven for a couple of hours. Then add as much, or as little, foil and paper mache as desired, until your project is complete. My wet paper mache stuck to the dry parts easily, but you could use a tiny bit of water or white glue if you prefer.

I always added arms and legs to the armature before progressing to add the paper mache. I made these before realizing you could use wire as the main armature structure.

I wadded up the foil pretty tight and even smoothed it down over the face area.

I added a wire loop, or a bobby pin, at the top of the ornaments, for a hanger. Those loops should be big enough to thread a cord or cute “S” shape metal hanger through, when done. Two layers of paint can clog up a small bobby pin loop.

I used a fine sandpaper to smooth the larger faces before painting. I liked a water color look on some, which was achieved by watering down the acrylic paint.

I made these before I found Jonni, or I surely would have tried one of her recipes and benefitted from all her amazing tips.

They were primed with white house paint that I had on hand and then painted using inexpensive acrylic paints from a bottle. A water-based varnish was added when dry.

I made the larger, male head ornaments, with Jesus and, Joseph and Wisemen in mind. The colors and paint design used can help differentiate between them, since the sculpture works for all of them.

These simple designs can be made by anyone and they are so inexpensive to make.

Mine were all made 20 years ago and I have given most of them to my adult kids and adult grandchildren. They all enjoy having something their Guma made, on their tree.

Christmas ornaments made with Activa Instant CelluClay.2

Christmas ornaments made with Activa Instant CelluClay.3

4 thoughts on “Paper Mache Christmas Ornaments”

  1. Wonderful! Just wonderful! I love your story and your journey. How nice to now have handmade heirlooms for your family. Quite the inspiration.

  2. These are awesome keepsakes that will be treasured for years to come! I really like the expressions and the clothes. As I mentioned before, I am so inspired to make some ornaments as well. Thanks for sharing your ornaments!

    • Thank you. The trick to a successful sculpture, is to use paper mache clay that is not “wet”, and doesn’t stick to your hands after being kneaded. Refrigerate leftover clay in a baggie if not using it all on the same day. Enjoy.


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