Sunday, December 22, 2013

Think outside the ... cookie? A Creative Paperclay® Inspired Cookie Tree

Hi Everyone and Merry Christmas to you!

I hope you are all ready for the holidays.  Most of us are busy shopping, cleaning, doing last minute decorating, and of course, making cookies.  At this time of year, I always reminisce a little about my dear, sweet Grandmother who has long since pasted.  As a child, I would help my Grandmother make tons of holiday cookies.  Rolling out dough and using cookie cutters was my favorite.  This tutorial is just that, but with Creative Paperclay® instead.  It was really fun and there are so many variations to it.  I hope that you create some wonderful memories with your kids / grandchildren and try it out.  I will be making a Creative Paperclay® inspired cookie tree.  Are you ready?!!

I am sure some of you have see this item before.  It has various sized star cookie cutters in it and you can stack up your cookies to make a Christmas tree.  I bought this set some time ago, thinking that I would make cookies and do this, but alas, it sat unused for a few years.  So, this year I brought it out and thought what about paperclay?  

Why not give it a try?  So let's get started!   Here are the supplies you need, however, you can always omit some and use others.  The world is YOUR laboratory ... venture out and modify if you want.  

Various sized cookie cutter stars
Creative Paperclay®
Rolling Pin
Various Decorative Stamps
Baby Powder
Baking sheet, tin foil and toothpick
Rubber Scrubbers / Sand Paper
Gel Stain / towel
Matte Varnish
Paint Brushes
Modge Podge
Distress Ink / Cotton balls
Spray Adhesive
Christmas Paper & 2' block of wood
E6000 Glue

Let's start by prepping out our work space.  You can see that I have my silicone mat out and have sprinkled it with some baby powder.  Baby powder works like flour would to cookie dough.  It really works great on Creative Paperclay®!  Sprinkle a little on your counter and roll out your paperclay.

Looking good so far!!  Keep rolling!  I rolled my clay out to about 1/4" thick.

Next, find a cute stamp and stamp your clay.  This one has all sorts of holiday words on it.

IMPORTANT:  Since the cookie cutter set has 6 different sizes.  I needed to figure out how many of each size I was going to cut out for the tree.  This is what I came up with.

#1 --- Star on top of tree (smallest star) --- Cut out 2 - (no stamp imprint)
#2 --- Next size up --- Cut out 2   (Stamp both with same stamp imprint)
#3 --- Next size up again --- cut out 3 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and one with a different one)
#4 --- Next size up again --- cut out 3 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and one with a different one)
#5 --- Next to largest --- cut out 3 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and one with a different one)
#6 --- Largest size --- cut out 4 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and the other two with a different one)

This is the largest cookie cutter in the set.  Cut out four of these guys.  I used two different stamps on this size.  I did, two stars with the holiday word stamp and two stars with a polka dot stamp below.

Here's a tip ... If you wet your finger and go around the outside of the star smoothing down the rough edges before they are dry, sanding will be a whole lot easier.  Once you cut out your stars, place them on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

Here are my largest stars.  Two with polka dots and two with holiday words stamped on them.  Let's put these babies in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour or until they are completely dry.  Make sure after 15 minutes, you flip them over.  They will want to curl up.  Turn them over every 15 minutes to keep them as flat as possible.

If you don't want to make a cookie tree and want to make ornaments, now is the time to poke some holes in the tops of your stars. I think these would look great as ornaments - just string a ribbon through them.  If you have letter stamps - stamps your family's names into the clay.  So easy and the kids will have so much fun trying out all your cookie cutters shapes!

Here you can see the rest of the stars in various sizes.  I tried to vary the pattern stamped on the stars.  Since we will be layering the stars, I wanted each layer to look different.  

You will notice that two stars in the upper left hand corner, have holes in them.  You will want to do this too.  These are the stars that are the next size down from the smallest star.  Poke a hole right in the middle of each one -- there should be two.  Make sure the hole goes all the way through.  These two stars will hold the top star of the tree.  Let's make that now.

To make the star on top of the tree, cut out two of the tiniest stars and glue them together with water.  Use the water to smooth out the seam line.

Next get a toothpick and poke a hole in the bottom.  Keep the toothpick in while baking the star.  Wouldn't these make cute magic wands.  Hmmm ... something else to try!

Bake these stars again at 250 degrees until completely dry.  Don't forget to turn them over every 15 minutes to avoid curling up.

Once the stars are dry and have cooled down.  Now, it's time to sand them.  The star on the left is sanded, the star on the right is not.  There is a big difference as to the rough edges vs smooth.  Sanding just gives your piece a clean, professional look.  Plus, I love to sand!

I use these little sanding pads called Rubber Scrubbers.  They are heaven!!  No harsh sand paper on my skin!  Love these!  I spoke of these in my last tip on this blog.  Check it out!  See how nice they bend to conform to what I am sanding on.  Sand the edges and underside.  Lightly sand the tops because you would hate to lose your pretty stamping.

Here the stars are sanded and ready to paint!  Let's get going!

I am using a medium green paint.  However, you can paint your stars whatever color you like!

Next, I am going to dry-brush in some lighter green to give these stars some highlights.  Looking good!  When all the stars are painted and dry, I will stain them. 

Don't forget to paint your top star.  I've decided to paint mine in a barn red.  I have removed the toothpick and will replace it with a piece of wire later.

Here I am using a gel stain to give these stars some texture.  The stain will sink into the nooks and crannies of  the stamping and really show it off.  Wear gloves to do this.  Apply the stain and then rub it off with a scrap piece of towel.  When all the stars are stained, let this dry completely.  The gel stain will be a little sticky when it is dry, but we will fix that later. 

Next, let's make the base for this tree.  Here is a 2" block of wood that I will be using.  The paper under it is what I will use to decorate the block with.

Turn your paper over and outline the size of the block.  You will need to do this six times as the block has that many sides.  Then cut them out.

Use spray adhesive to attach your paper to your block.  Spray the backside of your paper and stick it to the block's surface.

Once the spray adhesive has dried, get out your stamp pad ink and darken the edges of your block.  I am using a cotton ball to dab into the ink and rub on the corners of the block.  This hides the paper edges and looks really cool.  I am using Distress Ink - the color is vintage photo.  When your ink has dried completely, use some modge podge in matte and give the entire block a good coat of it to seal the paper.  Let dry.

Now that the gel stain is dry on all the stars, it is time to seal the them with matte varnish and add a little glitz to them. In the picture above I am holding a tiny jar of pearl-ex powder in the color interference green.  These powders, when added to varnish, give your piece an iridescent look and shimmer.

But before we add the varnish, now it is time to kinda get a feel for how our tree will be stacked.  Before you varnish the stars, do a trial run on stacking.  I want to stack each star with a different stamp pattern.  For example, you have four large stars with two different patterns.  Vary the patterns when stacking.   I also do not want to glitter each star, so I want to vary that too.  I will varnish a star with plain matte varnish and then the next star to sit on top of it, varnish adding pearl-ex and glitter to it.

I am applying a mixture of matte varnish and pearl-ex powder to every other star as I am doing my trial run to stacking.  The stars with pearl-ex in them will be glittered.  When the varnish and pearl-ex is wet on the star, sprinkle with a little glitter and let dry.

We are almost done!  Let's start stacking.  I am using E6000 glue to adhere everything together.  Put some glue on the top of your block.

Start stacking and staggering your stars.  Just add a dab of glue in the center of each star and press down the next star into in.  You can see how pretty the color variations are some stars with pearl-ex & glitter and some without.  The patterns are beautiful!

Make sure when stacking that you are center over your block.  Your tree might start leaning.  Straighten it out and keep staggering the stars.  In the above picture, I am at the top where the two stars with the hole in them will go.  Put some glue into the hole and add a small piece of wire in the first star.  Put some glue around the wire and then string your second star through the wire and press firmly down to secure.

Lastly, place the sweet star on top.  Put some glue in the hole of the star and press the star down on the wire.  YAY!!  We're done!

So darling!  You could even add tiny beads to it to give it more bling or maybe add some snow texturing.  Hope you had fun!  

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the Best in 2014!  If you have some time, please stop by my blog at and say hello.  If you have any questions about this tutorial, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.  Thanks again and have the happiest of holidays!  LeeAnn


Cindi McConnell said...

AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL !!I love the intricate detailed instructions you give. You make me want to run to the store and create one of these LeeAnn!!

Patricia said...

Thanks LeeAnn....this was extremely helpful and easy to follow. Wonderful project for me for next year. Christmas Blessings to you and yours.

Michelle Bloch said...

Amazing as always! This is absolutely adorable LeeAnn!!

Charmed Confections said...

Thanks so much Cindi, Patricia and Michelle. Glad you like it. I hope you give it a try. LeeAnn

Brenda said...

You do the best tutorials Lee Ann. I look forward to trying this. It will be a fun project to work on during the rest of the wintery months. I am going to pass it along to some of my friends that work with kids. It would be great for the little ones to create ornaments. Thanks so much! :)

Donna said...

I love this tree! Great job LeeAnn!
I think i have that package of cookie cutters somewhere! I will have to try this, thanks for all the great details and pictures!

Susan Owenby said...

So clever! I love it!! I might even have one of those kits in the attic... may need to drag it out. :)

Terri Sproul said...


Charmed Confections said...

Hi Brenda, Donna, Susan and Terri! Thanks so much for checking out my tutorial. It means a lot. It's wonderful how many ideas you can come up with by just using a simple cookie cutter and paperclay. Wishing you all a magicial Christmas! LeeAnn

Peggy Oliver said...

Love it! it's Great! Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas!

Charmed Confections said...

Thanks Peggy! Merry Christmas to you too! Glad you stopped by. LeeAnn

Chela Lucia said...

So pretty! The stars would look lovely just as tree ornaments or even laying in a pretty serving dish on a side table. This project made me think about making a gingerbread house out of paperclay next year...hmmmmmm!

Charmed Confections said...

You are so right, Chela. Lots of things you can do with just a simple star. I have never made a gingerbread house out of clay, but I bet it would be fun and challenging. Maybe make the sides separate and then assemble when they are dry. I think there are even cookie cutters for a house. Great idea!!! LeeAnn

Carol Stuck said...

I love this tree, LeeAnn! I have two packages of paperclay I have been wanting to use up. Hmmm....will be out looking to see if perhaps I can find the cutters for the tree. Thanks so much for the tut. Your directions are so easy to understand and follow. Oh my new sanders. Can't wait to use them. Hugs! Carol

Charmed Confections said...

Thanks Carol! I am excited about your sanders. Please let me know what you think. Hugs back, LeeAnn

Michelle Frae Cummings said...

What a great project! I really love this!

Charmed Confections said...

Thanks so much Michelle. I hope you give it a try.