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Easy Christmas Crafts: Salt Dough Ornaments

Updated on October 17, 2011


Have you ever thought about making your own Christmas ornaments? Salt dough is a wonderful medium for ornaments that requires no special skills and little expense. In fact, you most likely have the ingredients for the basic dough right in your kitchen cabinet. This project is so easy and inexpensive, it’s the perfect Christmas craft for kids!

What you’ll need for the basic dough:

Two cups plain flour (NOT self rising)

One cup plain salt

½ - one cup tepid water

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Knead several times until the dough is soft and elastic. If it’s too sticky, add SMALL amounts of flour. Allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes. Afterwards, roll the dough on a slightly floured surface to a thickness of ¼ to ½ inch.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees while you’re making your shapes.

Use Christmas cookie cutters to make stars, bells, Santas, reindeer, trees – whatever. Make a small hole at the top of the ornament with a toothpick, making sure the hole is large enough and that it goes completely through the dough.

Bake the ornaments for about two hours and 15 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Allow them to cool for a couple of hours before handling. When cool, use acrylic paint to embellish the ornaments. You’ll need two coats for the best results, allowing each coat to dry completely before adding another. If you prefer, you can use glitter paint, puff paint, or slick paint.

Once the paint has completely dried, spray the entire ornament with two coats of polyurethane, allowing drying between coats. Add a ribbon or hanger, and your ornaments are read for the Christmas tree or to adorn special Christmas gifts.

Those are the basics. I’m assuming, however, you didn’t come here for just the basics, right? Okay, let’s turn it up a notch!

Candy canes: Tint half of the dough red with food coloring. Leave the other half white (natural). Make long, thin ropes with the dough, and using a rope of each color, twist them together. Curve the top to make the candy cane’s hook. Bake and cool.

Stocking ornament: Make a short, fat rope and flatten it. Curve the bottom up slightly to make the stocking shape. Make another short rope and flatten it to make the “fur” trim at the top of the stocking. If you’re going to add a name to the stocking, leave this smooth. If not, you might want to add texture to the “fur” with a toothpick or sharp knife point. Bake, cool, and paint. When the paint has dried, you can personalize the stocking by writing a name with a permanent marker or paint pen.

Christmas tree: Tint the salt dough green and make into a tree shape by hand or with a cookie cutter. Make the hole for hanging. Give the tree lots of texture. Bake and cool. When completely cool, use E6000 glue to add rhinestone ornaments. Acrylic ornaments are cheaper, but small Swarovski AB stones will add a lot of sparkle!

Wreath ornament: Make a rope and form it into a ring, joining the ends together. Smooth the joint with your finger. Make a string of dough to create a bow for your wreath. Tiny balls of dough can be used for holly berries. Add texture to the wreath with a toothpick. Bake, cool, and paint. Seal with polyurethane and add a ribbon hanger.

Snowman: Make three round balls of dough, in graduated sizes. Flatten the balls, allowing them to slightly overlap. Use a short flattened rope for a top hat. Use bits of dough for a scarf, pieced of coal, and for a carrot nose. Bake, cool, paint, and spray.

Victorian carolers: These are super cute! Make the character’s body with a flattened dough rope. Use shorter, thinner dough ropes for the arms and legs. Use flattened dough balls for the head, hands, and feet, along with a tiny ball for the nose. Use the toothpick to make an “O” for the mouth – remember, the character is singing. Fold the arms up onto the chest, and make a song book from a flat piece of square dough. Use bits of dough to make scarves, hats, hair, and mustaches. Make a hole at the top for hanging. Bake, cool, and paint. These are especially cute when made into family groups.

Fireplace and stockings ornament: This is my favorite salt dough creation! Make a 5 x 6-inch flat rectangle for your base. Next, use three ropes for the top and sides of the mantel. Flatten them and place them onto the base. Make the number of small stockings you want, but don’t add them yet. Bake all the pieces together. The stockings will be done first because they’re not as thick, so remove them and continue to bake the larger piece. When everything is done, cool completely. Paint the fireplace opening black. Paint the mantel brown. Paint the stockings red, with white trim at the top. When the black paint is dry, paint a fire in the fireplace with yellow, red, and orange paint pens. Glue the stockings to the mantel with E6000 glue. Personalize the stockings by adding names with a fine-tip permanent marker. When everything has dried completely, spray with the polyurethane. Glue a ribbon to the back to serve as a hanger. These make great little personalized gifts!

Salt dough ornaments are limited only by your imagination. Get crazy with it! Make a shoe ornament for your friend with the “shoe thing.”  Make a baby bottle for “baby’s first Christmas.” Make a sun for your pal who loves the beach. The possibilities are endless.

After Christmas, wrap your salt dough ornaments in newspaper and store in an airtight container. You’ll be able to enjoy them against next year!



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