Ever since I made my first batch of decorative dishes this past spring, I've been itching to get the clay out again. Inspired by the greenery of the season, I found a good reason to do so.
I used the same basic techniques that I used the first time, though I tried a new trick that specifically helped with evergreen branches, as they're bushier than regular leaves. When I rolled out the clay and placed the evergreen branch on top, I put a piece of clear acrylic sheeting over the branch and rolled on top of that. It helped flatten out the branch, giving me a more detailed impression and keeping the branch from shifting while I rolled over it. But it doesn't have to be a piece of acrylic - something like a placemat would likely work just as well.
I also tried a different glazing technique this time. I wanted to keep my dishes in shades of white, but I wanted to define the evergreen images. I mixed a small amount of putty and gray paint with a larger amount of glazing medium and brushed it over the dish with a small foam brush, allowing it to collect in the indentations. Then I immediately wiped the glaze off with a wet paper towel, removing all of it from the smooth surfaces of the clay. When it dried, the evergreen impression was colored and the rest of the dish stayed natural. At that point, you can either sponge on a light layer of white or ivory acrylic paint (using a damp natural sponge) over the entire dish, softening the image a bit, or just finish the entire piece with a satin varnish or gloss medium.
These would be great for last-minute Christmas gifts, though you'll need to use oven bake clay instead of air-dry since we really are at the last minute. And while you're at it, you can make evergreen ornament gift tags. My tutorial for those is at Momster.
Resources: (All materials were found at Michaels)
DAS air-dry clay; Sculpey clay mat and acrylic roller; Martha Stewart Crafts paint (Putty and Gray Wolf); Folk Art acrylic paint in Warm White; Martha Stewart Crafts Glaze medium; Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss medium or Ceramcoat Satin Varnish