When it’s time to wrap gifts, I always, always run out of gift bows and tags at the last possible minute. I must burn through them when I’m not looking, which means that I usually end up making my own at 10 pm on Christmas Eve. A few weeks ago we made some Nordic-inspired cornstarch clay gift tags on Hello Nest, which are simple and beautiful.
Since Christmas is still a couple weeks away, I decided to play with some clay photo gift tags to round out my stash. I love that you can use them to personalize any gift, whether it be for a baby shower, Mother’s Day or birthdays. But they’re especially magical with family photos from this year’s Christmas card shoot.
Make them in color or black and white and write a sweet message on the back. Then tie those babies on practically everything you can get your hands on.
DIY Photo Clay Gift Tags
I’m going to be honest, I spent a ton of time playing around with these to make sure the image came out somewhat crisp. Most tutorials recommend using glossy photo paper or plain printer paper to give you a simple transfer, but I really spun my wheels with both of those options and could never quite get it to work.
Eventually the I stumbled on the secret: you have to use t-shirt paper and Sculpey. Once you get all the variables right, the images transfer perfectly.
- White Sculpey Clay
- HP T-shirt Transfer Paper for White Fabric
- Parchment Paper
- Rolling pin
- Baking Sheet
1. Size your images so they’re roughly 2”x3” in size and print them on the t-shirt paper (either black and white or color will work).
2. Roll a 2-inch piece of Sculpey between your hands to soften it a little. Then place it on a smooth surface (I placed it directly on my clean marble countertops) and flatten it with your hands a bit.
3. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the clay and use a rolling pin to roll the clay to about 1/8”-1/4” thick.
4. Lift up the clay off and flip it over so the smooth side is facing up. Use your fingers to continue smoothing the surface of the clay as best you can. You want the clay to be as smooth as possible so the transfer paper sticks without leaving any bare spots.
5. Cut your images to size and lay them on top of the clay. Using a sharp knife, cut the clay to the same size as your image. Use a nail, skewer or screwdriver to create a small hole at the top of the tag.
6. Place the Sculpey directly on top of a metal baking sheet (you want the clay to get nice and hot and I didn’t run into issues with sticking). Center the image on the clay with the photo facing down. Use your fingers to burnish the back of the image, pressing as hard as you can without distorting the clay. Make sure to get the edges really well.
7. Bake your Sculpey at 275 F for about 6 minutes. Then remove the t-shirt paper and continue baking for another 5 minutes to completely harden the clay.
8. Let the tags cool completely before running a string through the hole at the top. Affix to gifts, stocking stuffers or the Christmas tree as ornaments.