December 20, 2007

Candy Ornament Tutorial

So what could be sweeter than cookies? Well, what about Candy? This week's ornament is a variation of last week's Cookie Ornament Tutorial , done in white clay with a shiny, glossy glaze. I designed this ornament as a bead project that was published in last December's Simply Beads Magazine. I wanted to revisit it to continue this series of clay and stamp projects for Ornament Thursday. Here is how the project looked in the magazine, and the instructions were for the beaded dangle. So to make the ornament itself, I used the same steps from last week, shown here in the Cookie Ornament Tutorial. I drew the designs, had custom stamps made at Ready Stamps, cut them out and mounted them to spools. I rolled out a ball of clay, smoothed it, stamped it, and inserted the loop the same way as int eh cookie ornament. The difference with the candy ornament is that the clay is white earthenware, and I needed to do something special for the back, in order to glaze the ornament.

So I had to think long and hard about this. I really wanted the glaze to not only cover the front surface of the ornament, but also wrap around. But this is difficult because glaze is glass, and it melts in the kiln, so any surface with glaze on it cannot tough the kiln shelf or anything else. I could have hung the ornaments from wires, like I do for my beads, but they are really heavy and to me, that was not space efficient. The other option was to stilt the ornament with a little device that has prongs that it could sit on, but that leaves marks in the glaze. So I needed a new option.

The solution I came up with was a decorative stamp, shown above. I carved it from clay and fired it. And here is how I used it on the Candy Ornament:

Back track a bit to show the stamp used on the front surface, oiled with veggie oil a bit.

On the back of the ornament, I use the flower shape stamp to press into the center. The stamp is carved deep, so the center pops out a little bit. This is crucial...

Stamped the center with my chop mark to sign it. Then dry and bisque fire.

When it is time to glaze, I carefully paint the glaze around the raised area of the back where I stamped it. Then I glaze the rest of the surface. If done properly, the ornament should balance int eh kiln very carefully on the unglazed, stamped area, and the glaze should melt around the whole surface where it was painted. The ornaments can be loaded and fired in the kiln side by side (not touching of course) on multiple shelves, making for a very efficient kiln.

And the back has a decorative flower element, looking good on both sides without much extra work...


  1. I love the way you've brought your two pieces of "candy" together...this is an ornament that can be handed down for generations!

  2. Beautiful and so creative. It's great! Merry Christmas!

  3. Your step photos are really, really good Melanie. Thanks for sharing all of this info!

  4. Beading Help,
    Thank you! The potter in me loves to hear about heirloom quality

    Kris, Thanks and Merry Christmas to you too!

    Katie, Thanks my brother gave me his old camera and picture taking has actually been fun! Thanks for doing this whole Ornament thing, I loved it!

  5. You are amazing at turning a challenge into a beautiful solution. I love the ornament!

  6. Linda,
    Thank you! I love those those sorts of problems actually. Thansk for stopping by...

  7. Thanks again for the wonderfully detailed tutorial! This is beautiful (as usual). Merry Christmas!

  8. Very cool, Melanie! Your ornaments are soooo yummy I want to eat one! Lovely work!