Posted: November 17, 2008, 5 a.m. EST
I think that every Christmas tree needs at least a few ferrets on it. This year, why not have a tree with nothing but lights and ferrets? Lights are easy to find, but ferret ornaments are not so easy to find. Here are some ideas for making your own sculptured and painted ferret-themed ornaments. Each year, more ornaments can be added to your collection. These also make great gifts or items to donate for raffles.
To start, gather all the ferret collectibles you wish to use. I began making my tree using collections of ferrets, a bunch of crocheted ferrets, painted bulbs from last year’s tree, etc. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Sculptured Ferret Ornaments
Many types of clay are available for you to buy. Some are ready-made, some are even-colored. Light-colored clay can be painted after it has been shaped and dried. You can find lots of recipes for many types of homemade clays on the Internet. In the following photos, bread dough clay that has been pre-colored is used. It dries very hard.
A step-by-step pictorial below shows the shaping of the ferret. Elmer’s glue is used to join the arms and legs to the body. While the ferret is still soft, carefully form it into the position you want it and let it dry before gluing into place.
To start, get your supplies ready. If you are using a prop, paint it and have it dry before using.
Roll out a small piece of clay into a cylinder shape and round off the ends. Pinch one end to form the start of a face and arch the cylinder to form the arch in a ferret’s back.
Put the ferret in something to hold it while you create its face.Form two tiny white balls and glue these onto the face for the muzzle, and either use a pink bead or a pink ball for the nose. Roll two small white balls for the eyes and attach these to face. Next, take a black bead or two small balls of black clay and glue them on part of the white to create the eyes. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Make two small brown balls and flatten, then glue on each side of head for ears. Take the same brown and roll out two cylinders, tapering one end. Glue the larger end to shoulder and bend into an arm position. Form three slightly larger brown cylinders; two will become legs, and the other a tail. Attach legs and tail with glue. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
To make an albino or dark-eyed white, follow the directions above but use white clay. Then arrange and carefully bend the ferret into the position for the prop you are using. To create a panda or silver ferret, attach a ball of white clay to the end of a larger ball of gray. Roll into a cylinder and use the white end for the face. Make the ferret’s face and legs following the instructions above. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Create candy canes by taking two long, thin cylinders — one red, one white — and twisting them together. Bend one end to form candy canes. Make a package by forming a cube shape of clay. Roll out long, colored, flattened strips for the ribbon and create a bow on top. The next step is to glue the present and candy canes onto the sled with the ferret. Lastly, add some Christmas tree lights. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Painted Ferret Ornaments
Your first step in painting an ornament is to make sure the ornament is clean. Two ferret shapes are provided in an easy step-by-step for you to follow. It might be easier to paint a couple ferrets on paper before you try painting an actual ornament. Be creative and draw more ferrets in many different positions.
To start, set up your work space. Start with a wavy line as shown. Add legs, tail and head to this line to form the outline of a ferret. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Start coloring a sable ferret by adding a very light beige color to the tummy and under throat. Take a darker, beige color and paint above the tummy area and head as shown. Use dark brown to paint the legs, tail and mask. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Take some white paint and paint a circle for the eye, and then add a touch of black for the iris. Use the white to draw a muzzle and pink or black for a nose. Paint some red leaves coming together in the center. Take a fine-tip brush and outline the ferret, the red leaves and add green leaves and yellow dots in the center of the red to create a poinsettia. (See below for photos; click to enlarge.)
To draw just a face, fill in an outline. Then add some red on top that will become a Santa hat. Using a fine-tip brush, outline the ferret, the hat and draw eyes and mouth. Color in the eyes, mouth and nose. Add some holly for trim. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Assembling The Tree
Sort your ferrets so that the largest go on the lower part of the tree and the smaller go on the upper part of the tree. Make sure all lights are strung, attached and plugs are firmly in place. Make sure your living ferrets cannot climb in the tree and the tree cannot be tipped over.
Securely hang ornaments so that little noses can’t knock them off to break or steal.
Here are some samples of painted and sculptured ferret ornaments. (See photos below; click to enlarge.)
Be creative and have a wonderful, ferret-filled holiday!
Loving new ideas, Deva Kolb is constantly designing new arts and crafts. She is always on the lookout for something that would be fun to share, and many of her creations can be seen on her website.