Submitted by Shawna Wright of PA
These were very quick and easy to make. The whole family can be involved. My toddler painted the sleds and everyone loved shaping those cute little heads. We actually couldn't stop making them because each one became cuter and cuter. We ended up making hundreds of the little darlings and practically everyone we knew got these as a Christmas gift this year. Grandparents loved getting these with their little grandkids names on them!
A box of Forster jumbo craft sticks, 300 count from Walmart at around $4.00 was less expensive than purchasing them is smaller quantities. I believe the popsicle sticks are also quite inexpensive, but I already had these on hand so I don't know the exact price. I found the clay on sale for $1.00 for a small pkg. at the the larger craft stores. When I ran out I used salt dough.
You will need:
4 jumbo craft sticks
4 popsicle sticks
1, 10-inch piece twine
Acrylic craft paint for sled, your choice of color
White oven bake modeling clay for heads
Colored modeling clay for hats, orange clay for carrot nose or use white and color with a marker when hardened (In place of clay you can make your own salt dough)
Tiny seed beads for eyes (or you can use clay or draw on with marker)
Tacky craft glue, or hot melt glue gun
Fine tip permanent marker
I made this ornament using four jumbo craft sticks glued side by side. The 2 outside edge sticks are set about 1/2 inch lower than the 2 center sticks. I then glued a popsicle stick on the top and 1 on the bottom at about 1 inch from the top of the sled. This represents the bar used to steer the sled. 2 more popsicle sticks are glued on their edge to the bottom of the sled for runners. I painted my sleds with acrylic craft paint. I used two coats. We used a variety of colors but our favorite was the dark green. Red is very cute too. I then tied a 10 inch piece of bailer twine to the bar across the top as a hanger.
Then for the really fun part. I used a block of white oven bake modeling clay. We had so much fun making those little heads that when we ran out of clay we mixed up a batch of salt dough and used that. The clay gives a smoother effect, but the salt dough is practically pennies to make up and even though the finished product has a rougher texture it looks more like a real snowball. The salt dough can also be tinted different colors. If you use salt dough they should be either sprayed with clear acrylic or brushed on sealer before gluing to sled. I have found when I stored away salt dough ornaments that weren't sealed can mess up others they come in contact with. The photo shows the modeling clay.
We cut small chunks of clay about the size of a grape. The one in the photo is of our children so I had to make them small enough to hold all nine. If you need fewer snowballs, you can make larger ones. Soften the clay with your hands and roll into a ball. Slightly flatten the back on a flat surface. This flat back will be glued against the sled, but not until after it's completed and baked. We then took another chunk of clay slightly smaller than the piece you used for the head. This one can be any color you like. If you only have white available, use that and color it with paint or a colored marker after it is baked. Soften with your hands and shape into a hat. I pointed mine to the side, but rounded caps are just as cute. The hat is then pressed to the top of the snowball head.
I then took a pinch of white and made a very small ball for the pompom and pressed it on the point. Next take another pinch of white and roll into a log then flatten with you hand and this band is placed where the hat meets the snowball head. Next take a very small pinch of orange clay and shape into a tiny cone for the carrot nose. Carefully place on the center of the face and gently press down to secure. We then used tiny seed beads for the eyes. But small pinches of clay can be used also. We placed these on a baking tray and baked according to the manufacturer's instructions. The salt dough ones we allowed to air dry. I used a fine tip permanent marker to draw on cute little smiles. I wrote each child's name on the band, but these could be left blank or decorated anyway you like with markers. Lastly we arranged them to the sled and hot glued on, some we glued with tacky glue. Both glues held fine.
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