How to Make a Ceramic Christmas Tree

Written by amy davidson
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How to Make a Ceramic Christmas Tree
A festive Christmas tree can be an inspiration for your ceramic creation. (Christmas tree image by Szymon Apanowicz from Fotolia.com)

A Christmas tree theme is a festive look for decorating the house around the holidays. One fun idea is making your own ceramic Christmas tree, perhaps to put on a mantel, or to give to a friend as a gift. With a little help from a ceramics studio or shop, you can make a ceramic Christmas tree even if you're new to the craft.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Clay
  • Spray water bottle
  • Carving Knife
  • Spoon
  • Kiln
  • Acrylic latex paint (colours of your choice)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Decide when and how you want to make your tree. If you are familiar with ceramics, you can probably sculpt and fire your tree at home if you have a home studio. If you aren't familiar with ceramics, you may want to head to a local studio that offers classes or times you can come in--they can professionally fire your tree in a kiln, and help you with any issues.

  2. 2

    Take your block of clay and put it on a flat surface that you don't mind getting a little messy. Begin spraying your block of clay with water to get it damp; the damper the clay the easier it will be to sculpt and mould.

  3. 3

    Begin cutting off pieces of your block to form the shape of a pine Christmas tree. Remember you want the traditional tiered shape, so that it looks like pine branches getting wider toward the base and forming a point atop your tree.

  4. 4

    Spray your tree with water every five to 10 minutes to ensure that the clay doesn't dry out during the sculpting and carving process.

  5. 5

    Scoop out some of the inside of your Christmas tree shape using a spoon or your hands. You want to do this so that the clay is less thick and easier to heat in the kiln. Try to scoop as much as you can without compromising the shape of your tree.

  6. 6

    Take the excess clay (left over from sculpting and scooping out your tree's inside) and begin making little balls and putting them on your tree; later, you can paint these balls to look like ornaments. Also sculpt a star to attach atop your tree. Attach it and the balls while the clay is wet so they will hold to the tree.

  7. 7

    Fire your sculpture in a kiln for the allotted time, depending on how large or small you've made your tree. Again, if you are a pro at ceramics this should be no problem, but if you aren't familiar with the process, your local pottery shop or ceramic studio can help.

  8. 8

    When your tree has cooled, you can paint it, using acrylic latex paint, in the colours of your liking. Remember to paint the ornament balls a different colour. Allow the paint to dry, then paint or spray a shellac glaze over your tree to prevent paint chipping and to provide a little shine.

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