Mistletoe Ornament | Polymer Clay Tutorials Vol-055

Pt 1 Mistletoe Ornament - Polymer Clay Tutor6 Videos #315 to #320: Christmas ornaments… and beautiful mistletoe jewelry pieces as well.

Last month I let you guys know that this festive Christmas Ornament Tutorial was in the works… and now here it is… right on schedule

I love Glass Ball Ornament Crafts! About 12 years ago I used to teach Handpainted Glass Ball Ornament Classes at several night schools in my area. We used a heat set Glass Paint called UltraGloss by DecoArt (which btw works beautifully with polymer clay).

Any way, after teaching that class for several years, my students and I must have painted thousands of glass balls. Enough to know the do’s and don’ts of working with them, as well as the proper way to bake without breaking the delicate glass.

I still have several cases of the Blown Glass Ball Ornaments in the shop and thought it was about time to show you how to add polymer clay… decided to go with the traditional Holiday theme of Mistletoe.

Since some of you may not want to make ornaments, I also came up with a way to use the elements from the design to create beautiful Mistletoe jewelry pieces, including a dangle bracelet and a pair of earrings.

Now before I show you the intro video for the Mistletoe Ornament Tutorial, have a look at this short Youtube clip about Mistletoe. You will see what the real plant looks like, plus learn about some interesting botanical facts and folklore legends.

I think you guys are going to enjoy the creative options of this project. Posted just below is a Sneak Peak and overview of this months Mistletoe Ornament Tutorial. The rest of this 6 part video series will be posted tomorrow (Friday, Dec 7, 2012) in the Vol-055 members area at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.

Vol-055-1: Video #315: Introduction: In this 6 part video tutorial series, you will learn how to make a beautiful glass ball ornament covered in realistic looking Mistletoe leaves and berries, that you can use to hang as a Kissing Ball or use as a Christmas ornament for your tree. The techniques and tricks you learn in this video series can be used to make jewelry and other designs as well. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you will learn in this Mistletoe Ornament Project!

Pt 2 Mistletoe Ornament Project - Polymer Clay TutorVol-055-2: Video #316:
Mixing Colors & Texture Plates:

In this video I review supply list you will need to make this project as well as go over the color recipes. I will also show you how to make your own custom texture plates for creating very realistic looking Mistletoe leaves. Please Note: I made a tiny error in the video when explaining that the Regular Translucent isn’t as White as the White Translucent. I said, “If you can only find WHITE Translucent, you could add a little more White Mix to it” … when I actually meant, “If you can only find REGULAR Translucent, you could add a little more White Mix to it.” I am sorry if that causes any confusion. Didn’t pick up on it until after the video was ready to go.

Pt 3 Mistletoe Ornament Project - Polymer Clay TutorVol-055-3: Video #317:
Mistletoe Leaves & Vines:

In this video I show you how to make the green elements of this design, the Mistletoe leaves and vines. There is a secret that I will share with you to getting the perfect consistency in the clay so that it will stick to the glass ball ornament. And there are some tips and tricks for making the most realistic looking leaves without losing strength, should you want to use the leaves as beads or charms as well.

Pt 4 Mistletoe Ornament Project - Polymer Clay TutorVol-055-4: Video #318:
Mistletoe Berry Cane & Beads:

Now you could just grab a ball of white clay and call it a Mistletoe Berry, but if you have ever seen a real Mistletoe Berry up close, you’ll know there is more to it than that. Real Mistletoe Berries are a soft white, translucent berry, with thin membranes inside that separate the berry into segments. They are quite similar looking to a Gooseberry or a Currant in that respect. Rather than try and create a segmented berry one at a time, I created a simple cane design that will simulate the look of the Mistletoe Berry and make it much faster and easier for you to make as many berries as you like. I think you are going to love how real these berries look when you are done!

Pt 5 Mistletoe Ornament Project - Polymer Clay TutorVol-055-5: Video #319:
Making the Ornament:

Now’s the time to put all the elements of the design together and create your Mistletoe Ornament. In this video I will show you how to properly prepare your glass globe so that it will be ready to covered with polymer clay. I will also show you the secrets to making sure your network of mistletoe branches not only looks natural, but will also hold together after the ornament is baked.

Pt 6 Mistletoe Ornament Project - Polymer Clay TutorVol-055-6: Video #320:
Baking & Jewelry Design Extras:

As you may or may not be aware, sudden changes in temperature can cause glass to shatter. And since the polymer clay needs to be baked right on your ornament, the glass will need to get hot too. That is OK as long as you do this step properly. I will help you with that! Plus, I show you a variety of jewelry pieces you can make with the techniques you learn in this tutorial series, and provide suggestions on how you can take the ideas even further. I think you will love this tutorial!

Other Supplies:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Ceramic Tiles or Cookie Sheets
  • Styrofoam Egg Carton
  • Scissors
  • Christmas Ribbon

By the way, many of the “shopping” links I provide for the various tools and supplies used in my tutorials, are “affiliate” resources. That means companies like Amazon and the other suppliers I refer, pay me a small commission if you click on the links and end up making a purchase at their site. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps in keeping the cost of my tutorials down. And, the prices for products that you may purchase through my links, are exactly the same as what you would normally pay, even if it is a “sale” price. So please feel free to click whenever you need to pick up a few things for your studio. Thanks so much for your support.

The full video series for the Mistletoe Ornament tutorial described above, is available in Vol-055 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials

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Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my monthly library tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

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Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Hi Cindy, I love learning through videos and yours are just perfect. They are not too long and explain every step so clearly. You have a gift for teaching. Thank you for sharing your experience. PS: English is my second language and forgive me if I made mistake. ~Johanne-L

All of Cindy’s group are wonderful folks, So giving and loving. So compassionate. Joining PcT was one of the best things ever. I am here to stay. Cindy, Doug and family have worked so hard to create a life to be proud of. ~Patt-W

Do you guys ever get a full nights rest. If so I don’t know how. It doesn’t surprise me you are giving us more and still not asking even one more cent from us. Once again that Lietz generosity shines on us all. I honestly believe if I had not found your site when I did I wouldn’t be involved in polymer clay today. Your enthusiasm sent my interest a flying. Thanks to you I enjoy every moment I have with my new medium. PC you and your family have given me an outlet away from my pain and stress where I can create whenever I am able and enjoy each and every moment of it. THANK YOU LIETZ FAMILY, YOU ARE THE BEST! MANY UUUUUUGGGGGGSS TO YOU ALL! I LOVE THIS CLAY FAMILY, YOU ARE ALL VERY IMPORTANT TO ME! ~Peggy-B

The full video series for the Mistletoe Ornament tutorial described above, is available in Vol-055 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

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Comments

  1. I love making glass ball ornaments. this looks like a sure winner. The anti bad spirit bracelet seems like a good idea, too….:).

  2. I just love your site. You make polymer clay easy. This is my second attempt at it because PMC is just toooo expensive and your customer support is awesome! I will definitely recommend it to anyone!

  3. My dear polymer clay Tutor Cindy Lietz I am so happy with your tutorials. Thank you for always teaching us beautifull things. Hugs and Kisses from Mexico to you and your beautiful family.

  4. Happy dance time! Hoping up- and-down. Clapping hands………..grinning. Waiting for the new tute. What fun this will be………………see ya to tommrrowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

  5. well i have seen the new tute! beautiful Cindy, you have done it again. Marvelous i am off to the craft room to get started. Neat fun!

    • Hi Marky. Think a lot of folks will be asking the same question after this tute, that stuff can get clunky thick over time.

      Used the search facility in the upper left for “diluting liquid Bake and Bond” and the answer popped right up:

      Faux Druzy, Faux Easy, Faux Fun | Polymer Clay Tutorial
      Dec 9, 2010 … Sculpey Bake and Bond or other brand of clear liquid polymer clay. ….. Sculpey Liquid Clay Softener, when added to Bake & Bond, will dilute it.

      I’d start out thinning small batches in a dish or plastic cap instead of trying to tackle the whole bottle at once.

      Hope this helps, all best.

  6. Your ingenuity is amazing. You think of things that are way outside the box. Last year I covered glass balls with roses and vines, but didn’t think to connect them. I used white glue which will dissolve after baking with water. Of course, you have to be careful not to get the water under the flowers and leaves. Softener is such a good idea.
    I would never have thought to make a way to hang the ornament in the oven. I just used batting around mine.
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas with us, and in such great detail.

  7. I watched your video about baking clay on glass ball ornaments. You said start the ornament in a cold oven and let it come up to 265-275 degrees then bake for an hour. When I first start my oven it will peak around 300 degrees before dropping back down to the set temperature of 265-275 degrees. Will that peak harm the glass ball ornament?

    • Hi Zuisia, great question! As long as your clay seems to be handling the temp spike, the glass ball should be fine. It will have been warming up slowly, so the higher temp won’t be a shock for it. Remember, that the glass was once melted at 1000’s of degrees in order for it to be blown into the globe in the first place. So the 300 degrees or so will be no problem, as long as it slowly heats up and slowly cools down.

      Have fun with making ornaments! Let us know how it works out for you!

  8. Mysterious Mistletoe
    With berries greeny white
    Clinging to the mighty Oak
    In a grip so very tight

    A symbol of fertility
    The bearer of Goodwill
    And for a maid, the first real kiss
    Should give her such a thrill

    Twas also used to keep the peace
    To ward off evil sprites
    So hang a bunch within your home
    Switch on your Christmas lights

    As we celebrate upon this time
    With friends and family dear
    Spare a thought for those who are all alone
    And those that live in fear

    So whether you are on your own
    Or in a house full with good cheer
    I wish you all, Peace, Joy and Hope
    And a Wonderful New Year.

    Thank you Cindy, Doug Fisher and Willow for the great journey you took us on, going along with you on your first Road Trip. The wonderful photography, stunning scenery, great interviews and of course all the fun times, giggles, doggies, etc. and seeing you all having a good time together. Also a year of wonderful “new look” tutorials and the colour palettes so vibrant, each with their own story to tell. So Happy Holidays…………cheers xx………………………………………………………………..

  9. help! Cindy i mixed up the yellow/brown for the end of the berry and its well, brown, not the lovely colour you have. any suggestions?

    • Oh dear Sandra, we can fix that! Do you think you maybe added Burnt Umber instead of Raw Sienna? Those names get mixed up by a lot of people. Burnt Umber would easily make the clay too brown. Any way, no problem… just take a small ball of your browny color, and add a little cadmium yellow or wasabi to it and maybe more translucent if you need it, that should help. It isn’t that critical that it be perfect, it is such a teeny tiny amount that you are using. Have fun! Let us know how it goes!

  10. I did use raw sienna, i just can’t think what i did. but yes, i fixed it by adding more of the mistletoe green and lots more of the cad yellow, and just mixed it until i saw a colour very similar to yours. Anyway my berries and leaves turned out beautifully. I am in the middle of making the bracelet and i will post a pic when done. I also made some pink berries to throw into the bracelet. its looking good so far.

    • Oh my word, this link has an amazing number of glass ball sizes and cubes! Also they have awesome mirror balls. Can you image what a fabulous doorway ornament, all that beautiful mistletoe or holly reflecting in the mirrors with candlelight?

      You could carry the theme further by adding polymer clay adornments to glass votive candle holders and glass candlesticks too.

      Also if you click to page 2, they have the wire bulb hangers in the tree shape Cindy mentioned as helpful.

  11. Thanks so much for the links. The one sent by jocelyn has some uniques shapes. Michael’s and Hobby Lobby were both out of clear glass balls. I called Joanne fabrics and they had clear plastic balls-nope, that will not work. I bought inexpensive colored balls ( that just does not sound right) and tried to remove the paint with nail polish remover-didn’t work. But….I have another idea for them.

    • Gonna keep looking Anna. There are some wholesale outlets I can research. Thanks for the check. In the interim, you can consider doing the exact same technique using chandelier glass balls and structures, though they’d be a little smaller. But if you got the ones with the bevels, you get rainbow reflections in sunlight.

    • Here’s a wholesaler link for lots of different sized heavy clear glass balls, I think it’s the same as the brand Cindy used in the tute. In order to order from them you need a tax exempt number or vendors license.

    • Anna,

      Use bleach. It’s been a long time since I did it, but I had a bunch of old glass ball ornaments laying around and wanted to do some fun stuff with them. I found instructions for removing the paint. I’m not sure if I used the bleach straight or if I mixed it with water. I put a little in the ball, then swirled it around and the color came right off. I couldn’t remember what I had used so I googled it and saw where someone mentioned bleach and knew that was what I had done! I had some ornaments that not quite all of the color came out of, though, so you may have mixed results. Do be careful using bleach… wear old clothes and use gloves! After I had done a few of these, I found some of the clear ones and haven’t recycled any more old ones.

  12. Wow, Cindy this was a fantastic series! I loved the styrofoam tip then when I saw where you were going with the oven rack I said out loud..oh my gosh she’s going to hang those right on the rack!!!!!! Totally impressive, I love it! Thank you.

  13. Just want to mention that the video on mistletoe lore and history will continue to stream onto other topics from that site, and some of them are fascinating….great to watch with morning coffee, lol. Here’s the link to all 37 videos:

    Thanks for that link, Cindy!

  14. Cindy, no need to convince me that you offer the best videos for polymer clay. Thank you for keeping your costs low (maybe too low?)

  15. When I made the mistletoe berries I had a lot of trouble finding where the membranes met at the end when the berries were uncured. I put a tiny spot of the stem color where the membranes met before rolling the berry in my hand and that seemed to help.

  16. Well, success! My “halo” colored balls came out just fine. ( I also tried bleach, as Anna suggested -the coating, I guess is permanent). The slight colored glass is really pretty. Now I am going to make more ( it is Christmas today, so I am running late>LOL). I probably will save these for next Christmas. Gosh, that will make me ahead of the game………..grin

    Merry Christmas to all.

    Just love Cindy’s tute, Doug’ videos and Willow and Fisher’s cute faces! Life is GOOD

  17. Kenny Sweeney Mistletoe Ornament

    I must say that I absolutely love this ornament! I want to thank Cindy personally for making me such a fine ornament for my Christmas tree as a special request. What I love about it is that not only is it itself beautiful, but the fact that a portion of it is glass that allows for stunning reflections from the Christmas lights and from other ornaments! This was a fantastic addition to my tree and definitely brightened up the season. Thanks Cindy!

      • Cindy,
        Once again thank you so much for making this Mistletoe ornament for my son to have for Christmas memories-it meant the world to him and to I ! :)
        I hope you and yours have a great 2013 as well ! :)

        Cheers
        Kenneth’s Mom

        • As new friends of Kelly and Kenny, watching this happen, and their happiness at discovering this ornaments a year after Kelly shared Kenny’s essay on mistletoe, has been a true joy. Ken is a very talented writer for a young man. Kelly is just one of the nicest folks you could ever meet. Getting them hooked up with Cindy and her art was just awesome. Thank you Cindy!!!

  18. I am finding your tutorials helpful. I’ve dabbled in polymer for a few months now – just kinda trying to figure things out on my own. Very often when watching your videos, I find myself going Ahhhh (as in eureka) that makes sense. Really enjoying them.

    • Hi Wendy and Welcome!!
      I too have had A lot of those Ahhhha moments here with
      Cindy and Thats after ….(thinking…counting…) WOW 15 years or so of claying :)
      -again welcome to the best thought out tutorials at the best price anywhere

  19. At the risk of sounding like a broken record I am so very glad I’m part of your family of clayers. On seeing your video-short on the Beadsmith Looper I was reminded of your gorgeous Mistletoe video series. It was such fun to simply go back to these videos and watch again. I didn’t make it when the video was first shown as we were up to our eyes with stuff, but with Christmas coming soon this was an ideal gift for family and friends! Thank you so much for such a comprehensive set of videos, so typical of our Cindy!

    Whilst writing, just wondered if you’d seen Kristie Foss’s latest item on her blog where she credits you with making the torpedo beads.

    Thanks again Cindy and Doug for a fantastic website. So great to be part of a growing club.
    Marion

    • Thanks so much for your comment Marion! Sometimes I even go back to the old tutorials for inspiration. Also thanks for letting us know about Kristie’s post. It is nice to know when we are mentioned out there on the web.

  20. Does anyone know whether the clear ornament balls they sell at Michaels ( pack of 6 in a kind of tray with a molded cover) are coated with the kind of coating that Cindy mentioned. I tried doing what Cindy recommended but nothing seemed to come off.

    • Hi Cherie, if the surface didn’t wrinkle and nothing came off when you rinsed it with hot water, then it probably doesn’t have anything on them. Go ahead and add the clay. You can just skip that step.

      • Do I have to keep it a long time in the hot water to see if it comes off? I held it under water and even under a running hot water tap but nothing seemed to happen.

  21. Hi Cheri!

    When I purchased “no name” glass ornaments for this tute, some had the coating. I used the heated water from my electric kettle, which I let cool slightly (probably ended up around 140 – 160 degrees F), and when I carefully dipped the coated bulbs, the outside plastic covering instantly shriveled, so it was very easy to remove once the glass cooled. You could try this, but, I would advise extreme caution. I poured the hot water into a pyrex container in the sink, and used a long metal tweezer to hold the metal ornament holder while dipping. The water was not steaming when I dipped, as I was afraid that high a temp might shatter the ornament. I waited for the glass ornament to cool before I removed the outside layer.

    Think Cindy is spot on with her advice, if regular hot tap water doesn’t cause the outer layer to crinkle, then you probably are good to go. Also, as I looked at the leftover ornaments now, the ones with the outside covering have a distinct yellowish cloudy look when you hold them up in direct sunlight, compared to those with no coating, which are crystal clear glass colored.

    Hope this helps, all best!

  22. Cindy, I made a mistletoe ornament. I followed the recipe exactly and used white trans (frost). After they are baked they do not look translucent- there is a lot of translucent clay so I’m wondering why. I even had the temperature at 275 with a thermometer inside the oven. I can see the white segment but I thought they should be more translucent?

    • Hi Cherie, You probably didn’t do anything wrong, Translucent really isn’t that transparent more milky and if you can see the white sections, it probably is fine. If you want it to be more translucent, you could add even more Trans to the mix and bump up the temp a bit. Still not going to be super clear though. Hope that helps.

  23. I’m afraid it will burn if I bump up the temp. I baked them in my regular oven. The berries I made for earrings however, i baked in my clay oven and they changed color got a bit pinkish – on the way to getting brown and my leaves color changed too with some brown specks and it isnt a mistletoe green anymore. I’m really upset as I wanted to make the earrings.

  24. I had fun with this tutorial. I got some of the mini-glass ornaments from Joann’s. They didn’t have the coating on them, BTW. I can’t get over how well a texture plate made from styrofoam works! Cindy you are a smarty pants!

        • I think I’ll keep the worst one. I boo booed and grabbed a paint brush with some pastels on it when I dipped into the Future. I have a few odd colored berries. LOL. I will give away the other two.

          I really can’t get over how neat those texture plates worked. I can’t wait to try to make all kinds of other leaves with them. I’m thinking a string of fall leaves in different colors. Maybe with pastels and blended clay would make a fantastic necklace!

  25. Cindy,
    I wanted to tell you that under your great tutelage, I am starting to spread my wings. With the techniques I’ve learned in the last couple of months I finally did a project that was out of my head.
    I used the same pressing technique you thought with the mistletoe leaves – but used fresh leaves from the yard (well, the neighbor’s yard – they had better leaves. Hee hee). I used left over mistletoe cane for the berries. I also learned that the pan that came with my toaster oven is NOT the same as an aluminum pan for tenting. I over-toasted everything. But, to my relief they actually turned out even MORE natural. Check out the berries! Those were the mistletoe berries! They turned just the right color when you bake the hell out of them. LOL. I was quite amazed. The rest of the photos are here if anyone wants to look at them.
    Anyway – I have learned so much and am thrilled to know I have only scratched the surface of what I will learn. I really love this community too. Thank you and everyone who participates!

    • I’m sorry Lena, I have been so busy! I LOVE your happy accident! The leaves look perfectly crispy, like you had meant to do that. Good job for spreading your wings and giving your own personal stamp on the techniques and ideas presented in the tutorials. You should be very proud!

      • No problem. I know you are busy. This weekend I made a little sculpture to give as a gift – so I’m having fun. I need to pick another one of your projects to play with.

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