One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions, that’s really just for fun, is making Christmas ornaments together! My son and I are both huge art fans and love creating, especially during December. We’ve made baked clay ornaments, peppermint candy ornaments, and painted cubism Christmas trees. We’ve made our own clay Hanukkah menorah, and we’re even going to try some baked cinnamon ornaments. I love the idea of a cinnamon-scented home!
This year, I wanted to introduce my son to paper-casting and creating beautiful white ornaments with that process. My friend T. introduced me to these lovely Springerle molds and paper casting years ago when my son was a toddler, and I’ve used them many Christmases since then. Would you believe that you can make gorgeous ornaments from these molds, water, and bath tissue? Here’s what we did today…you can do this too!
Before you begin:
First, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:
- Cookie molds with impressions (mine are Springerle, a beautiful Swiss brand; they’re pictured in the banner at the top of this post)
- White toilet tissue (Northern Bath Tissue works best)
- A blender
- A strainer
- A large bowl
- Flannel (scraps work fine) and thick towels
First, you’ll want to prepare your work area (I recommend the kitchen counters because you’ll probably end up with a watery workspace!). Fold the bath towels into big thick squares and place the flannel nearby. Put your bowl, strainer, and blender to the side of the towels. Set your cookie molds close by. I keep the bath tissue on the other side of my counters, just so it doesn’t get soggy before I start the process.
Now–you’ll want to get the tissue into the blender. I wind the tissue loosely around my hand (like I’m wrapping a mummy :)) until I’ve got 8 or 9 layers around it. Then I pull that off and place it in the bottom of the blender. I repeat that process so that I have two stacks of tissue rolls inside the blender.
Next, I fill the blender with water, covering the tissue, and blend away! The blender will mix up the tissue and water until it looks like a slurry (or a white smoothie).
Now, you’ll hold your strainer over the large bowl. Carefully pour the slurry into the strainer, and allow the water to drain out of the wet tissue for a few minutes. Hold your cookie mold in one hand over the bowl, and upend the strainer so that you plop the slurry pile onto the mold. It will just look like a messy wet white mound at this point.
Carefully pat the mound down into the mold. Many of these cookie molds have deep designs, so you want to be sure you get the slurry down to the bottoms of them.
Tear off two squares of bath tissue and fold them on the serrated line. You’ll want one set of these folded squares for each ornament you make. Now, lay one of these tissue squares on top of the slurry pile on the cookie mold.
Cover the mold and slurry with a flannel piece and press down! This will squeeze more water out, and it will press the tissue into the mold and begin to form the ornament. After some pressing (also known as couching), lay a bath towel over the mold and press more. You want to get as much water out as possible.
When you look at the cookie mold now, you’ll see a flattened white paperish thing, with extra edges falling over the side of the mold. Pinch off the excess edges so that there’s just a little extra around the mold itself. This will give you a prettier finished product.
And now…the exciting part!
Set aside the towel and the flannel. Now, you’ll VERY VERY carefully begin to peel out the paper casting, starting at one corner. You want to do this slowly because it’s still very delicate, and you want everything to stay in one piece. When you do this successfully, here is what you’ll end up with:
Isn’t that beautiful? 🙂
But, you’re not quite finished yet…
You’ll notice at this point that the paper casting is still very damp. You’ll want to set these out to dry overnight, or longer. If the ornament doesn’t dry flat, just spritz it with a bit of water and weigh it down with a phone book (or other heavy books, with a piece of waxed paper in between) for a while.
Once the ornaments are dry, you can use them for a number of things! I’ve glued them onto stock card to make Christmas cards, and I’ve also used them to decorate wrapped gifts. You can also punch a hole in the top with a hole punch, thread a ribbon through, and use it on your Christmas tree.
You might notice that the one in the photo below, with the red ribbon, is an actual cookie, rather than a paper casting. But that, as they say, is a story for another day!
I love making wonderful creations with my family. It’s fantastic to have a beautiful end result; but you know, the best part is the time we spend together—making more Christmas memories!
A big thank you to Wren of finchnwren for writing this guest post.