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Christmas-themed modeling dough
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Christmas Crafts Friday Fun

Christmas Ornaments, Magnets, and Figurines

What you will make:

See how easy it is to use Homemade Modeling Dough to make Christmas-themed ornaments, refrigerator magnets, and figurines. Use your fingers to fashion the modeling dough in fun shapes for Christmas using the ideas in this project, or come up with something new of your own invention! It's quick and easy to make modeling dough, but you can also use the same ideas with commercial air-dry clay or oven-bake clay.

This craft project requires few materials and is great for family, classroom, or group craft time. The modeling dough can be made in advance and stored ready-to-use in the refrigerator.

Related craft: See the Fall and Thanksgiving Refrigerator Magnets and Pencil Toppers craft projects for more shape ideas.

Here's what you need:
  • Homemade Modeling Dough: white (color with paint or markers), or make colored dough (red, brown, etc.)
  • Toothpick
  • Plastic knife
  • Wax paper
  • Small magnets (for refrigerator magnets)
  • Thin wire and wire cutters (for ornaments)
  • White glue (PVA)
  • Black marker
  • Optional: Clear nail polish or varnish, markers or paint and paintbrush, toothpicks

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Christmas Ornaments, Refrigerator Magnets, and Figurines with Modeling Dough

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Project Preparation

Read through the project, then gather the materials needed for making your Christmas ornaments, magnets, or figurines. Follow the craft recipe for Homemade Modeling Dough to make dough balls of white, red, green, or other colors best for the items you are making. You can use white dough and add color with paint or markers after the dough has dried.

If doing this craft with a group, make one recipe of Homemade Modeling Dough for every three children. It's better to have too much than too little. Leftover modeling dough can be saved for weeks in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Basic Modeling Technique

Spread a sheet of wax paper on the table so the dough won't stick.

Pinch off dough to make a small ball and leave the rest in a sealed container. Use fingers to shape your creation—see Modeling Ideas below. Attachments like hats and eyes can be shaped from smaller balls and "glued" in place with a dab of water. Use the toothpick to add texture to ball ornaments or the hat or scarf on the snowman.

To make several balls of dough the same size, roll the dough into a long snake and cut into equal-sized pieces with the plastic knife. To make ¾" (1.5 cm) balls, roll the dough into a snake about ½" (1 cm) in diameter and cut into 1" (2 cm) segments.

Step 3: Dry and Seal Topper

When you have finished molding your item, leave it on the wax paper to dry. It should dry in a day or two to a hard finish. You can add a shiny finish and increased durability by painting items with clear nail polish or varnish. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area when using nail polish or varnish.

Glue a magnet to the back of each of your refrigerator magnet models.

Modeling Ideas

These are just a few suggestions for Christmas-themed items. What else might you make? Santa Claus? Stars? A Christmas tree? Use your imagination!

  • Tiny ball ornaments: Make balls of dough no bigger than ¾" to 1" (1.5 to 2 cm). Cut a 1" (2 cm) length of wire and shape into a loop. Stick the wire loop into the top of the ornament. Let the dough dry.

    You can make the ornaments with white dough and decorate with markers, or use colored dough.

    Tip: The wire loop may loosen as the dough dries. To secure, add a drop of glue to each side of the loop where it enters the dough ball.

  • Snowmen: For a refrigerator magnet, make three circles of white dough—1", ¾" and ½" (2, 1.5 and 1 cm). Push them together to make a snowman, overlapping the circles a bit.

    For a figurine, form balls of dough in three sizes with the largest one bigger than 1" in diameter. Stack the balls one atop another. Reinforce the snowman with a toothpick. After you stack the first two balls, insert a toothpick down into the balls, leaving some toothpick exposed. Push the smallest ball onto the stack and over the exposed toothpick. You may need to cut down the toothpick to fit.

    Use a toothpick to add facial features. You can add a scarf, carrot nose, buttons, etc. with small bits of other colors of dough. After the dough is dry, you can use a black marker to make eyes and buttons, or tie a ribbon around the neck for a scarf. Glue a magnet on back of your snowman magnet.

    Tip: If the circles or balls seem loose or come apart after they are dry, use white glue to join them more securely. You can also glue a strip of cardboard to the back of the refrigerator magnet to make it stronger.

  • Candy Canes: Roll two equal-size "snakes" of dough—one red and one white, or both white. Twist the "snakes" together and shape into a cane. Let dry.

    If you used all white dough, paint one of the twisted snakes red after the candy cane is dry.

That's it! You are done!
Sample ornaments, snowman and candy cane

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

White modeling clay colored with paint and markers

Tip: Use white modeling dough and decorate it with paint or colored markers.

Snowman refrigerator magnet

Tip: Use colored modeling dough to add details to the snowman. Add twig arms made of toothpicks cut in half and colored brown with a marker.

Related craft: Make Pencil Toppers using Homemade Modeling Dough, or use the modeling ideas in that project to make refrigerator magnets or ornaments.

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