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  • Giselle Smith

Gilded Christmas Ornaments with Hip South

COURTNEY BALLARD ALWAYS BRINGS HER A-GAME TO THE CRAFTS WE FEATURE IN EACH ISSUE OF ELIZABETHTOWN LIFESTYLE. This issue is no exception. I am in love with these gold-leaf ornaments; personalized they are the perfect gift for friends and family alike. Read on to learn to make these at home just in time for the holiday season.

Decorating the Christmas tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions. The smell, the lights, and allllll of the ornaments. Old, new, silly, sentimental, store-bought, and handmade, each one is incredibly special and holds so many memories. This year, you can add to your collection or the collection of your friends and family, by creating paper clay ornaments. I love the simple, handcrafted look of each one. A lot of charm and a little shine.


Paper clay

Rolling pin or dowel

Fondant alphabet stamps

Cookie cutters


Gold leaf

Twine, ribbon, yarn


STEP ONE: Knead your paper clay and then roll out a slab, about 1/4 inch thick, onto a dry, clean surface. Flip your slab as you roll, and then use whatever shapes you have on hand to cut out your ornaments. Just like cookie or biscuit dough, you can collect your scraps after cutting out each set of ornaments and roll another slab. If you have cracks or rough edges, dip your finger into some water and gently smooth them out. Beware…too much water will make your clay soggy and sticky. A little goes a long way.

STEP TWO: Once you have your shapes cut out, use the back of a paintbrush to poke a hole at the top of each one. Because this particular type of clay is an air-dry material, you don’t have to worry about shrinkage. Whatever size hole is punched will be the size you’ll have later to pull string or ribbon through.

STEP THREE: Time to get fancy. Working with gold leaf is a masterclass in patience, but it’s easy and so worth it if you move slowly and don’t mind a bit of a mess. While your ornaments are still damp, lay a sheet of gold leaf across the bottom of your shape. Gently tap across the surface with your finger or paintbrush to help it stick, and then cut away the outside pieces. If you have any tears or cracks, wet the area you want to patch with a small amount of water and apply a scrap piece of foil to whatever spot needs a fix. All of the tiny foil bits that accumulate throughout this process can be repurposed! Gently knead them into a ball of clay and roll out a new slab. Add bigger pieces of foil if you want even more gold flecks in your ornaments.

STEP FOUR: Personalize your ornaments with fun words, phrases, names, or initials. Rubber stamps can be used for this step if you have them on hand, but I really love the deep impression fondant stamps leave in the clay. Skip this step if you’d rather let your shapes stand on their own, or if you’d like some of them to be completely covered in gold foil.

STEP FIVE: Set your ornament collection on a flat surface to dry. I like to let them sit overnight and then flip them over for another day of drying. You’ll know they’re dry when the clay has gone from its original putty gray color to a porcelain white.

STEP SIX: Gather up your favorite holiday twine, ribbon, and/or yarn to string through each ornament. They’ll be ready for tree hanging, gift topping, and ornament exchanging.

merry christmas! xo


Show me your crafts?! Seriously though. Tag us on Instagram at @ElizabethtownLifestyle! Follow on your favorite social sites: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, you can tag us in your Instagram posts (#elizabethtownlifestyle)! As always, thanks so much for joining us on the blog!

Merry Christmas Elizabethtown,

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