Hi friends! I had so much fun creating this clay heart string/garland! This is NOT my original idea. All the credit goes to Ellissa @railview home, and you can check out her video tutorial under her story highlights! She has a gorgeous style & is always posting unique & amazing DIY design ideas! I thought I would go ahead and write up my process here, as I did a few things a little bit different, like add tassels and give my hearts some "vintage" patina. 😊
Rustic Air-Dry Clay Heart String
You use air dry clay for this piece. The first thing you need to do is break off a hunk of clay and knead it into a blob that is about ½ inch thick.
You can then use a cookie cutter to cut your shape (like I did for the larger hearts), or you can create a heart template and trace around it (like I did for the smaller hearts). I used two packages of clay to get about 22 hearts.
Once you have your heart shape cut out, you will want to smooth out the edges to give it more of a natural look. I kept a bowl of water at my work surface, dipped my fingers in, and smoothed until I got the shape I wanted:
Be sure not to get the heart too wet, or it will start getting slimy. This one is a little too wet (if this happens, you can pat it dry with a towel and start over):
Once I had my hearts cut out, I let the clay air dry for about 45 minutes. Then I used a cookie stamper to press words into some of the hearts (they look great without words, too… and you could use rubber or metal stamps if you have those!):
Press gently and evenly. I rocked the stamps from side to side a little bit, since the surface of the heart is uneven. If you don’t like the way it turns out, just smooth with water and stamp again!
Next, I used Ellissa’s trick of running a straw through each heart. The rope I used was ¼” thick, so this was a perfect size for me. I dipped my straw in the water bowl first:
Then I started at the top of the heart and pushed through down to the point. Always start at the top of the heart. It just works better!
I used a skewer to get the clay out of the straw before I did each heart.
You heart might get a little misshapen during this. No worries, just smooth and reshape with a bit of water! Also, you can use the skewer to enlarge the hole if you feel like it needs it.
Let your hearts dry for 24 hours. I ended up putting mine on parchment paper and turning them over from time to time. If I saw any cracks forming, I just smoothed them with a little more water. I also checked the holes as the dried, and kept using the skewer to enlarge any holes that looked like they were shrinking. Notice that I also made some round beads to put on the end of my rope (following Ellissa's cue!).
Here's where I did my hearts a little different! When they were all dry, I brushed mine with some watered-down chalk paint (in gray). You could use any color, though! Or you can leave them white. I also wanted them to look a bit more rustic, so I used amber wax (made for chalk paint) to seal them. This is optional. I just like all of my pieces to have a timeworn look. Some might call it a dirt-covered look, LOL! Here's the painted heart (soul-mate), and then a heart with wax (true love):
Next, I cut a super long piece of rope because I wasn’t sure how long it needed to be, and I wanted to have plenty of length to make knots. I strung each piece and tied a knot in between, being careful to leave enough space so that the finished rope/garland would drape nicely. If you tie your knots super close to the hearts, it won't drape. I alternated large and small hearts. BTW, I did not stamp words on the smaller hearts. TIP: Wrap the end of the twine in clear tape before you start threading it through the hearts, so that it goes through easily and does not fray.
I wanted tassels on the ends of mine, so I used a smaller diameter jute twine to make those. I cut a piece of cardboard the length that I wanted my tassles:
Then I laid a short piece of twine horizontally across the cardboard, at the top, and started wrapping a different piece of twine vertically, over the top of it:
Next, I wrapped twine around the cardboard:
I didn't want really full tassels. The more you wrap, the fuller your finished tassel will be. When I had what I thought would be good, I slipped out the cardboard and tied the short piece of string in a knot.
Then I cut another piece of string and tied it about an inch down from that, wrapping it a few times before tying it off.
Next, I cut the remaining looped ends of the tassel.
I used hot glue to secure my last bead to the garland, and glued the tassel to that. I couldn't find a good way to tie it on, and so gluing worked well.
When it doubt, HOT GLUE everything!!! LOL!
And that's it! Thanks so much for reading through this project. If you make one, I would love to see it -- please share! And if you like my projects, please do share them as well as give me a follow on Instagram ( @jagcagdesign) and Facebook (Jag Cag Design). Your likes and comments are what keeps me inspired to post more of these fun projects! Be sure to give Ellissa @railviewhome a follow, too! She's a DIY genius!!!
Resources for this project:See all materials
Melinda Record on Feb 17, 2021
These are so CUTE and FUN! You did an excellent job along with terrific instructions!
I love that the hearts are sort of thick, and don't match perfectly in texture or shape which gives this string of hearts a nice, rustic and sort of Boho vibe, ideal to display anywhere, in any room.
This project is definitely going to my "Must Do Project" list!!!
Thank you for sharing AND inspiring!