Making homemade clay keepsakes

Making homemade clay keepsakes - Ever-changing Life of a MumI’ve been feeling all nostalgic lately. Miss 2 seems to be growing up exceptionally fast. Too fast. Every day she seems capable of doing just that little bit more, saying new words, trying new things and looking more and more like a little girl than my baby.

I simply adore her little hands and feet, so much so that I thought it was time to make a keepsake to remember just how small and cute they are at this age.

We were gifted clay keepsakes of my older girls’ hands and feet by the child care centre they attended at the time, usually it was something they made themselves to give as Mother’s or Father’s Day gifts. But life is different now and as I’m not longer working or using child care right now, I thought I better get a move on and make my own.

The clay keepsakes my older girls have are pop up hand and foot prints. I attempted to make this type of keepsake using homemade clay and plaster, but it was a epic fail! Instead I used the remaining leftover clay to make a stamped hand print. It turned out pretty well, so last weekend I decided to make another with an imprint of both Miss 2’s hand and foot.

I used a simple clay recipe I found online over at Paging Fun Mum’s that uses only three ingredients – bicarb soda, cornflour and water. That’s it! You can find the link to the recipe here and it’s such an easy and inexpensive way to preserve special memories of your children.

You could also use the salt dough recipe I have previously made and shared on the blog to create this keepsake, however this time round I wanted a dough that was a little whiter in colour, especially as I was planning to leave part of the keepsake unpainted (the salt dough can appear slightly yellow).

After making the clay, I rolled it out into the shape I wanted – for me it was an oval so I could fit in both Miss 2’s hand and foot on the same keepsake – then helped Miss 2 press her hand and foot into the dough.

It took a few goes to get the imprint right – Miss 2 loved scrunching up her toes in the dough or stomping hard into the clay. It was slightly frustrating, but fun, and we got there in the end!

I placed the completed pieces on some baking paper then into the oven on the oven rack for 1-2 hours, after being pre-heated to a low temperature (or about 100C). The cooking time depends on the size of the piece and how thick it is, so I did a quick check after an hour before popping them in for a bit longer.

Once cooled, Miss 12 and I painted the edges of the keepsake to add a bit of colour using acrylic paint topped with a sheer silver metallic paint. I’m also considering sealing the keepsake with a finishing spray at some point.

Christmas keepsake ornament

In addition to the hand and foot print keepsakes, I also used some of the leftover clay to make a few Christmas tree fingerprint keepsakes.

I simply used a cookie cutter to cut out a few Christmas tree shapes, then got each of my girls to use their index finger to make a small indent into the dough. I used a chopstick to make a small hole near the top of each tree, then baked them in the oven.

Once cooked and cooled, we painted each of the trees using different colours for each fingerprint to represent baubles.

Later, I’ll use a fine permanent marker to add the year on the trunk and possibly the first letter of my girls’ names to each of the baubles. I’ll also add some pretty twine to make a hanger for the ornament.

I think these would make a great little homemade Christmas gift for special family members.

I hope this gives you some inspiration to make some great keepsakes for you and your family. I’d love to hear about your creation if you give it a try!

6 thoughts on “Making homemade clay keepsakes

  1. My most favourite possessions in the world are my kids home made Christmas decorations, many of which have been made from clay. So special.

  2. Oh, this is such a cool idea! I was talking to Punky yesterday about what we would get for her teacher at the end of the year, and now after reading this I’m thinking that making a clay christmas ornament for her would be a really cool & unique idea!

  3. Oh gosh this took me back! I did my older grandkids in plaster!! It was in a kit and it went Ok and then I painted it and it was a gift to their parents. Lovely idea I always think.

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