Clay Feather Ornaments Ballard Knock Off

Feathers are amazing right?  I know I have been lusting after them.  So I spotted some bisque feathers in the Ballard Designs catalog.  They were gorgeous.  They were also $49 for a set of 3.  So yes, I had to knock them off!  Here are my clay feather ornaments.

Now let’s compare them to the Ballard Designs originals.  I think my version can definitely compete!  Plus (are you ready for this), mine were free.  Yes I had everything on hand that I needed to make my version.  Now you are ready to make your own right?  Let’s get started! 

 You will need:

I used air dry clay because I had it on hand.  Use whatever type of clay you have.  Don’t feel like you need to buy anything special to make these.  If you need to buy clay, you do not need much for this project.  That hunk pictured above would have made a dozen or more of these feathers.  Start by flattening out a piece of clay then cut a feather like shape.  Use wax or parchment paper under your project.  I am using some plastic clay tools that came with a kit I purchased a few years back.  You could use a butter knife instead.

Roughly draw in your feather “stem”.  Again use what tools you have on hand.  Trim away on one end to make a stem.

Then begin on one side of the stem, using the tool pictured above or something similar, and drag the clay to the edge.  I would pull the clay and some would break away.  I would just put those pieces in a pile to reuse later.  A rough edge is okay.  As a matter of fact it is perfect!  The rough edge will make your feather look more realistic.

I kept starting in the center and pulling the clay out until I was happy with the shape and appearance of my feather.  I then took one of my flat tools and cut the feather away from the parchment paper underneath.

I then used a toothpick to put in the fine details on the feather.  The lighter you can go with your toothpick the better.  If you use any kind of pressure you will start to remove clay. If that happens, again just remove the material and set aside.

Take a straw and make a hole in the top of your feather for hanging.  I then draped my feathers on paint brushes to dry.  This gives them more of a three dimensional look.

Let them cure according to the package directions.  I then gave mine a coat of white paint on both sides.  Please note that my feathers are only finished on one side.

String your white ribbon through the holes you made with the straw.

Please note that these feathers will be delicate and breakable.  Note that I had four feathers drying in the picture above and only came out with three to photograph.  It also seems that the skinnier you make the feather, the more delicate they become.

Step back and enjoy because your feathers are ready to hang on the tree!  What a wonderful and slightly modern addition to any Christmas tree.  Now break out that clay and get to work!



  1. says

    I love them I made some a while ago but didn’t make holes to hang them I just used them as an ornament I wish I had done some like yours now there so pretty xxx

  2. says

    Will they break/crumble over time? Would love to do for a wedding guest book tree rather than an original guest book. Guest could sign the leaf & then hang on the tree.

    If the clay does not work for that purpose, do you think some kind of protective glaze would make them more permanent? Or, is there some other material than clay that would give the same results? Something baked, etc…

    You leaves are so lovely! Can’t wait to give it a go! Thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    They do break/crumble with time. :( Maybe try some different types of clay to see if that gives you more permanence? Also try not to make them not quite as thin so they won’t be as delicate.


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