I have really enjoyed making ornaments this year with polymer clay, like this candy cane bow, and these lollipops. Also check out this post with tips and projects for beginners to polymer clay.
What you need:
1. Polymer clay (I used Sculpey red and white clay)
2. Sculpey Glaze and brush
3. Knife (I used the X-ACTO Z Series Knife)
4. Jewelry findings (If you plan on making a necklace)
How to make candy cane rope
1. Break off two equal chunks of white and red clay. Knead these pieces separately. Roll each piece into a rope. (Make sure that you are using the same brand for both so that the baking time and temperatures are the same.)
2. Roll these two ropes together into one thicker rope.
3. Twist all along the length of the rope until the stripes are somewhat evenly spaced. It's normal for the rope to be a little bumpy at this point.
4. Roll out the rope with your hands until it is smooth and all approximately the same width as a candy cane.
Now that you have your candy cane rope, you can make all sorts of fun and creative ornaments in all different shapes and sizes. I made the words joy and noel in cursive by just laying the rope out on a baking sheet and putting it directly in the oven. If you want to be more precise, here is what you can do:
1. Print out the words you want in cursive from your computer to a piece of paper. I tried a few different sizes to see which one worked best. I used the font, Learning Curve Pro (Download for free at Font Squirrel).
2. Lay out your candy cane rope along the letters on your paper, as if you were writing them. You may also want to put something sturdy underneath the paper so that it will be easy to transport.
3. When you are happy with how your ornament looks, move the whole paper into the freezer and let it sit for 15 - 30 minutes. When you put the clay in the freezer, it will harden as it gets cold, and it will then be much easier to move.
4. Now you will be able to carefully move the cold clay from the piece of paper onto your baking sheet. Remember that polymer clay does not visibly change in size or shape when you bake it.
5. Take the ornament out of the oven (follow the instructions for time and temperature on the package of clay that you used) and let it cool. It will be very brittle and breakable while it's still hot. Paint a coat of glossy glaze over the ornament to give it that shiny candy look, and attach a wire, ribbon, or string to turn it into an ornament.
I am using some of these ornaments as gift wrapping. Just loop ribbon around the ends of the ornament and wrap it around the front of your gift. I love how it looks against the simple kraft wrapping paper. Now your gift bow is also a gift in itself, a special handmade ornament.
I also made a little candy cane pretzel. This little guy is hanging on my tree and my kids and I love him.