Do not use unbaked clay on unprotected furniture or finished surfaces. Start with clean hands and work surface area. Good work surfaces include wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Knead clay until soft and smooth. For best results, clean your hands in between colors. Shape clay, pressing pieces together firmly. Bake on oven-proof glass or metal surface at 275 degrees F (130 degrees C) for 15 minutes per ¼” (6mm) thickness. For best baking results, use and oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME. Wash hands after use. Baking should be done by an adult.
Begin by preheating oven to 275 degrees F (130 degrees C). Test temperature with oven thermometer for perfectly cured clay. For best results, condition all clay by running it through the clay dedicated pasta machine several passes on the widest setting. Fold the clay in half after each pass and insert the fold side into the rollers first.
Sheet 1/2 bar of each of the Souffle colors through the pasta machine on the thickest setting. Once the clay is well conditioned and smooth, sheet it through the pasta machine on the third thickest setting.
Cut out as many circles as you can from each sheet of clay. Use a circle cutter that matches or is a little smaller than the circumference of your clay Extruder barrel.
Stack the colors on top of each other randomly.
Roll the log of clay discs gently just enough to smooth the edges.
Load the clay log into the barrel of the Extruder and use a circle disc to extrude the log out. Trim the ends of the log. You will notice that whatever clay color is on the end that first encounters the circle die, is the color that coats the outside of the extruded cane.
Cut the log into several sections and you will see how the color scheme changes all throughout the extruded cane.
Set the canes aside for now. Make acorn shapes from the remainder of the clays that are sort of egg shaped and slightly smaller than the hats. You will need one clay acorn for every hat. My finished wreath has 23 acorns on it.
Slice several thin slices from your extruded canes, and apply them to the outside of the clay acorns you made in Step 8. Place the slices onto the acorns sides touching.
Roll each ball in your hands so that the canes slices become smooth on the outside.
Make sure the clay acorns are a proportionate size for the acorn hats.
When you have made enough clay acorns for your project, bake them following the baking instructions. You can lay them on a piece of Kunin Felt to keep them from getting a shiny spot on them while they cure. When the acorns are completely cool, glue them hats on them using hot glue.
While the acorns bake, you can cut out the felt leaves. I collected fresh leaves from my yard in a variety of species. I gathered fresh leaves so they still have a lot of flexibility to them and hold their shape better without crumbling or falling apart.
Trace the leaves with a black marker on the back side of the felt. This is especially important on the Corduroy felts to trace on the back side. I traced only one leaf style per color, but I did trace multiples of a style. Cut out the leaves with scissors.
Using a large mixing bowl or other circular object, trace a large circle (12”-14” in diameter) on the cardboard. Trace a smaller circle (10”-12” in diameter) on the inside of the larger circle. Cut out the circles using heavy scissors or a craft knife.
Arrange the cut leaves on top of the cardboard. If you want to preserve the pattern of the leaves as they are, you can place a large piece of scrapbooking paper over them and then pick up the entire wreath and flip the leaves onto the paper.
Cut lots of raffia to approximately 5” in length.
Pinch a little bundle of the raffia between your fingers.
Use hot glue to attach the little bundles of raffia to the cardboard circle. I started with bundles directly opposite from each other.
Keep filling in the cardboard circle with little bundles of raffia that radiate from the center.
When all the glue is completely cool, carefully lay the raffia face down on the back of the leaves that you preserved on the scrapbooking paper in Step 16. Gently flip the paper, leaves and wreath over so that the leaves are on top of the raffia and the cardboard underneath. Reposition the leaves as needed on top of the raffia.Cut pieces of raffia 8” long. Thread one piece onto the embroidery needle half way. Tie a knot in the two ends of the raffia.
Push the needle up through the cardboard, through raffia, and through the leaves until the knot catches the cardboard. Cut the loop open near the needle and remove the needle.
Lay an acorn stem between the two sides of the raffia that you just sewed through the wreath. Tie a square knot around the acorn stem tightly securing the acorns to the wreath. Trim the ends of the raffia leaving 1” tails.
Keep sewing pieces of raffia through the wreath and securing the acorns to the wreath until they are all attached. Make sure all the leaves got attached to the wreath as well. Finally, sew a loop of raffia through the top of the wreath for a hanger.