I planned to make a set of simple Christmas tree ornaments, but my boy turned them into funny googly-eyed ornaments!

Very simple Christmas tree ornaments with buttons and googly eyes that toddler can make.

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Our Christmas tree is up! It is a great motivation for making more Christmas ornaments. This time my son and I tried clay as our main material and made a bunch of Christmas tree ornaments. Along with a few of my favourite bloggers, this year we are participating in the Story Book Advent, and the idea came to me after reading the book A Wish to be a Christmas Tree.

I am very fond of air-dry clay. It works like clay and gives an opportunity to sculpt a variety of three-dimensional forms, then dries without having to be put in a kiln or an oven. The finished product is more fragile than earthenware or stoneware, but is still sturdy enough to play with. Different types of air-dry clay have different properties: some turn into stone, and others are paper-light when dried. I find it interesting to explore a new clay, and when I saw that Crayola offers a series of air-dry clay for children, I was curious to try one with Budster.

I picked up a pack of green clay because I recently admired this craft by Happy Hooligans and wanted to make something similar with Budster. If you follow the link, you will find that Jackie and the hooligans used very simple homemade dough. It is great if you cannot or do not want to get any special clay!

One of the books we are reading this season A Wish to Be A Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe. It is a sweet story that takes place on a Christmas tree farm where all the trees are excited as December approaches. They want to be picked, taken into houses, decorated and to celebrate Christmas with families. But one tree does not anticipate the holidays as it realizes that its days of being picked are over. After all the years of being overlooked, this tree with a crooked top has grown too tall to fit into any houses, and while it does not complain, the tree feels melancholy about never being part of Christmas. Luckily, its forest friends understand the tree’s sadness, and at night they decorate it with little treasures: berries and pine cones and feathers. They are happy to have this tree that will never leave them, because birds build their nests in its branches, and little rabbits shelter underneath it.

After finishing the book, we decided to make our own bunch of Christmas trees and decorate them with buttons and beads.


Crayola Model Magic, Green and Crayola Model Magic, Olive Green (we mixed two of these clays together, but using only green is fine!)

Christmas tree cookie cutter

– little rolling pin

– beads and little buttons

– googly eyes


Christmas Tree Clay Ornament: how to use air-dry clay to make simple and cute Christmas ornaments with toddlers

1. Open the pouch of air-dry clay. As it turned out, Crayola Model Magic had a very unique texture. It was soft and squishy. It did not crumble, but stretched a lot. It was very light. As an aside, it dried to be even lighter, which is good for Christmas decorations – plus, it will be unlikely to break if it falls. We tested it with ours.

2. Help your child to roll the clay into a flat sheet, about 1/4″ thick.

3. Together cut a bunch of tree shapes with a cookie cutter.

4. Decorate them by pressing buttons and beads into the clay.

5. As the last step, punch the holes at the top of the ornaments. I used a pencil for doing this.

6. Let the ornaments dry for 48 hours.

7. String ribbons through the holes and put them up on the tree.

Interestingly, I had envisioned Budster decorating the trees with buttons and beads, but he had a different idea. He brought over a little jar of googly eyes and wanted to use them instead. I thought it was a good idea, and our Christmas trees got faces, like the tree from the book A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree. I put a couple of googly eyes in the centre of my tree and arranged them neatly, and Budster repeated it for one of his trees, but then he got rather creative, so we ended up with a crazy tree and a monster tree! It was fun. He was not as interested in decorating the trees with beads and buttons and after sticking a few into the clay, he was done.

Christmas Tree Clay Ornament: how to use air-dry clay to make simple and cute Christmas ornaments with toddlers


When do you usually set the Christmas tree up? This year was the earliest I remember ever having it, but we were very excited to show it to Budster.

If you liked this article, you may be interested in:

Magical Christmas Lanterns: turn Mason jars into Christmas illumination

Christmas Cards: make cards, using buttons,  together with children

Ice Age Sensory Play: mix snow, ice and candles to create a winter fairy-tale in the sensory bin

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Very simple Christmas tree ornaments with buttons and googly eyes that toddler can make.