December 13, 2007

Scent Cookie Ornament Tutorial

As promised, here is the tutorial for my Scent Cookie Ornaments. I call them cookies because they remind me of yummy baked goods, especially when I make them in big batches and have them all lined up on a tray. The "scent" part comes in because being low fired, porous bare fired clay, they absorb scent oils really well. So they can be used with various perfume oils or essential oils to become scent diffusers.

Ok, on with the step by steps:
First, I start out with the artwork, done in graphic black and white, using a pen and the computer. I print it out and send it to Ready Stamps and eagerly await my custom rubber stamps!

When I get the sheet of stamps, I cut out the circles as neatly as I can.

Each circle is glued to a wooden spool, found at the craft store. I found the perfect size for my stamps.

I grab a chunk of terra cotta, about, oh...this size

I compress into a ball, and roll in hands with firm pressure, turning the ball into a flat "cookie" shape

The finished cookie shape. I make sure it is totally smooth, and run my finger across the top to burnish the surface

I use a little bit of oil on the stamp so it doesn't stick...just cooking oil, rubbed on with my finger. I press the stamp firmly into the clay. I have to be careful the clay is not too wet and sticky, yet not too dry. This just comes with practice.

The stamped cookie, yay!

A high fire loop goes into the top of the ornament. It gets fired in place, so I make sure it's long enough and gets really embedded.

I use my rubber tipped tool to compress and burnish the spot where the wire went in, so it looks really clean.

I stamp the back with my signature or chop mark. I carved this out of clay and fired it. My initials are hidden in the design.

Repeat. over and over. as needed. Then they have to dry REALLY good! seriously. These are thick, about 3/4 " so it takes about a week. More to be sure. I have fired a few batches too soon in a rush and its not pretty...they explode and I cry. So no rushing. Also, if they are dried too fast, they tend to crack. It is a physics thing that I don't fully understand, but have just learned to feel more intuitively. No drafty areas, no air blowing on them, and in the summer, I dry them in the damp basement.

Once dried, I fire them in the kiln. Since they are not glazed, they can be stacked right on top of one another. The picture above shows a different type of ornament, but the kilns I fire for these cookies looks similar. Stacked up to the top, full of ornaments! The kiln is fired slowly to cone 04 (which is about 2000 degrees F). Just one firing is needed for these guys.

Above, some finished cookies. I use a ribbon for each, but I want to do a beaded hook to try something different. Maybe later I will play around with that! I will post if I end up with something neat...

Some assorted trivia and other thoughts about the Scent Cookies:
I make these for bath/soap crafters and candlemakers, often in custom designs (like logos) because they make perfect add ons to their sales and they can be packaged with the oils they use in their products.

One of my favorite suppliers of deliciously scented oils is Lia at the Body Bakery. I am obsessed with food scented bath products, and that is ALL she does! We make a great team.
I adore dark, iron rich clays like this terra cotta, but suspect I have a skin allergy to iron, or one of the other minerals in this type of clay. So while I love the look of it, I have to limit my contact with it. That's one of the reasons I first experimented with porcelain, which is what I use for my beads exclusively. It doesn't seem to bother my skin.
"Terra Cotta" is used for rooftop tiles and flowerpots among other things, and the word is Italian for "baked earth". Even more reason to associate baking with these cookie ornaments!

Please leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this tutorial, or if you have any questions. I will also be listing some finished Scent Cookies in my Etsy shop tomorrow, so take a look...


  1. I was going to email you about where you get your stamps and you posted this!

    I sold out of the foot scrubbers I got from you two weeks ago.

  2. Love the tutorial!! Beautiful, as usual, artwork...been checkin' out your etsy shop...gorgeous stuff!!

  3. I have a coupld of your Cookies - and it's always fun seeing how things like this are made! Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Thank you all for dropping in! I am glad you enjoyed the tutorial! I had fun doing it. I have one more up my sleeve for next week too...

  5. COOL!
    I have a question, can cookies be art? There's a connection with the chop marks.

    Check out this article.