How to make DIY air dry clay Christmas decorations for your tree, table and gifts - all for under £5

Homemade Christmas decorations just got a facelift

Air dry clay place settings on tablescape for Christmas.
(Image credit: Future/Heather Young)

Very little beats the simplicity and nostalgia of a homemade Christmas decoration, and these DIY air dry clay Christmas decorations are no different. Air dry clay is affordable, easy to use and relatively mess-free making it a perfect DIY Christmas decor idea that the whole family can get involved in. 

Plus, this Christmas craft idea offers plenty of opportunity for personalisation. Whether decorated with loved ones' initials or a festive phrase, air dry clay decorations can be used as a personal touch to a Christmas tree idea or even to spruce up a tablescape. It's simple, effective and you can truly make it your own - what's not to love?

1. Create nature inspired tree decorations

Air dry clay embossed Christmas tree decoration.

(Image credit: Future/Heather Young)

Air dry clay is really easy to customise with different prints and etchings, and using nature makes this even simpler. All you need to do is collect leaves, flowers, or even a few sprigs of berries on your next winter walk and use these to press patterns into the clay. 

It's also a great activity for getting children involved and requires very little room for error, so you won't need to worry about creating much mess. Getting kids involved in Christmas decorations is also a lovely way to create family memories that will last for years to come on your tree - what's even better is that all you need to buy is the clay. 

DAS White 500 g Air Hardening Modelling Clay | £4.79 at Amazon

DAS White 500 g Air Hardening Modelling Clay | £4.79 at Amazon

2. Add personalisation to gifts

Brown Christmas present box with sprig of berries and air dry clay gift tag.

(Image credit: Future/Heather Young)

Sentimental gifts are well and truly in, and with a cost of living crisis, many of us are turning to homemade additions to make Christmas more affordable, and more personal. Air dry clay is a simple way to personalise gifts in lieu of paper tags and doubles up as an extra present for your loved ones to use as a decoration around their home.  

All you need to do is emboss their initials or name with some letter stamps - and don't forget to make a hole for the string or ribbon to go through. 

3. Amp up a tablescape

Air dry clay place settings on tablescape for Christmas.

(Image credit: Jessica Preteroti)

Personalisation around Christmas always feels super special, especially when it's clear there has been genuine effort put into crafting something bespoke. Air dry clay is a perfect Christmas table decoration idea as it allows you to decorate each table setting with the guest's name, and it gives them a special decoration to take home. 

We were inspired by @nestbyjess's Scandi-chic festive tablescape set with name settings and dried oranges. 'They’re made of air dry clay that I rolled out flat, cut into a ribbon shape, and then personalized with rubber alphabet stamps,' says Jessica. 

'After letting them dry, I add in a ribbon and a dried orange slice, and they’re ready to go! It truly is a very simple, kid-friendly project. You could also decorate them with other dried fruits, small trinkets like a charm/bell, or a sprig of greenery, depending on the season!'

4. Add festive glitter

Air dry clay tree decoration with glitter.

(Image credit: Future/Heather Young)

Who doesn't love glitter at Christmas? The more the merrier, until it starts to show everywhere around your home. If you're looking for a glitzier approach to homemade Christmas decorations, then pressing glitter into air dry clay will make your neutral ornaments sparkle.  

You could stick to a pared-back design with glittery dots, or even go full-on festive by applying glitter in a Christmas motif, like a holly leaf. 

How to make air dry clay decorations

The beauty of using air dry clay for Christmas crafts is that it requires no expertise and very little equipment. All you need is a clean surface and potentially a plastic scalpel to cut out your desired shape. 

You can also do a lot of moulding using your fingers. Clay warms up in your hands so as you start moulding it, so you have much more flexibility over the shape you create.  

Then, it's all about how you choose to decorate it. You might want to emboss patterns using nature, or maybe you want to try your hand at painting a festive design onto the clay. Whichever you choose, you'll need minimal resources that can all be acquired at craft stores. After that, you simply need to wait for your clay to air dry and you'll be all set to use in your Christmas decor. 

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).