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Homemade Christmas Ornaments: Dough Recipes

Updated on February 2, 2011

Homemade Ornaments

 As long as I can remember, making Christmas ornaments for family and friends has been one of my favorite holiday traditions.  Whether made of wood, clay, fabric or dough, I find it a pleasure. 

One of the reasons I love making ornaments so much is the ability to personalize each one for the recipient.  Another reason I love creating ornaments is the ability to decorate my Christmas tree according to a particular theme, with out spending a small fortune!

Following are three of my favorite dough recipes, for crafting ornaments.

Apple-Cinnamon Ornaments


  • 1 cup cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons white glue (such as Elmer's School Glue)


  1. In medium bowl combine spices.  Stir in applesauce and glue.
  2. Knead mixture for a couple of minutes to form a ball.
  3. Roll dough 1/4" think and cut with cookie cutters.  Use a toothpick to make a hole for hanging.
  4. Allow to air dry 4-5 days, turning occasionally.

Makes:  4-5 dozen

Homemade Playdough


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon baby (mineral) oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar or alum
  • 2 cups boiling water


  1. Mix first four ingredients thoroughly. 
  2. Carefully add boiling water and stir to form a ball of dough.
  3. Knead for several minutes to form a smooth dough.

This dough can rolled to 1/4" thickness and cut with cookie cutters or shaped free-hand into small sculpted ornaments. These can air dry or bake in a low oven (200 degrees Fahrenheit).

When making flat ornaments, use a toothpick to make a hole for hanging the ornament. When sculpting ornaments, insert a small eye-hook or paperclip into the ornament if they are to hang. Remember, larger ornaments can sit on a shelf.

When the playdough ornaments are dry, they can be painted for further personalization. I like using acrylic craft paint.

A Gingerbread boy, completed with frosting.
A Gingerbread boy, completed with frosting.
An Angel, also frosted.
An Angel, also frosted.

Gingerbread Ornaments


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 teaspoons each baking soda, ground cloves, ginger, and cinnamon
  • 7 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl cream together shortening and 1 cup of sugar. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Refrigerate for 4-hours.
  3. Roll dough out on floured surface of wax paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Poke a large hole in the top of each cookie with a pencil.
  4. Bake on cookies sheets for 20 minutes in 325 degree oven. After 20 minutes, turn the oven off.  Leave cookies in the oven for one hour to continue drying. Place cookies on rack and allow to sit untouched for 1-3 days, pr until completely dry.
  5. When cookies are dry, spray with clear acrylic paint or brush with clear varnish on and allow cookie coating to dry completely.  Thread with a ribbon for hanging.

Decorating Ideas

For a simple country theme, hang ornaments using strips of gingham fabric on a tree laced with white lights.  Finish the look by adding candy canes and a few wooden ornaments.

For a simple look from the past, use a single color of lights on the tree.  Keep the ornaments uniform in color, choosing just a few shapes to display.  Hang them using jute, raffia or a single color of ribbon.  Garlands made of pop-corn and wooden beads or nuts add a finishing touch.

For a Victorian look, lite the tree with white lights, then go all out with the gold paint and glitter on the ornaments.  Use a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  Tie the ornaments on with long, thin, romantic ribbons or wide showy bows.  Use more ribbon, to trim the tree with.  Beads that reflect the light will bring it all together.

For a tree the kids with adore, light with multi-colored lights.  Allow the children to choose the shape of the ornaments, and, if using playdough, to paint them.  Add small toys, even little dolls, into the mix, hung with thread, ribbon or jute.  Make paper chains for garlands, and top with candy canes.

Most of all, do something you really enjoy!

Ivorwen, 2009.

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    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Your mother sounds like mine! She keeps and uses all sorts of things I would toss. :)

    • profile image

      paxwill 6 years ago

      When I was little my mom did this with me and my siblings. We were brats so we made evil two-headed gingerbread men and snowmen, but she's kept them all these years and still puts them on the tree.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Merry Christmas to you Katiem! I hope you enjoy your ornaments for years to come.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh homemade Christmas ornaments dough recipes is fantastic. I made these years ago and forgot the recipe. I'm so tickled to find it again here at your page. My daughters are going to have a ball making these aromatic treasures. Happy Holidays :)

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Making Thanksgiving ornaments with the cinnamon dough sounds wonderful, Joy at Home.

      LiftedUp, Thank you for the storage tip. I wrapped mine in tissue paper and put them in a box, but am afraid they will be stale by next year. The quilt batting would be better at protecting them from getting broken, too.

    • LiftedUp profile image

      LiftedUp 8 years ago from Plains of Colorado

      One of my daughters made gingerbread ornaments for me, and I love them! We keep them in a tin can with a tight-fitting lid, and wrap each one in thin quilt batting when putting them away, but when we get them out for the next Christmas, they smell just as good as they did before. And they add a wholesome feeling to the tree that I never found with boughten ornaments, though I love the way they go with some of the glass things I inherited from my grandmother.

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joilene Rasmussen 8 years ago from United States

      Hi Ivorwen, somehow I missed this hub when it came out. I have never made the apple-cinnamon dough before...that sounds like a winner for next Christmas, or Thanksgiving.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thank you AnythingArtzy!

    • AnythingArtzy profile image

      AnythingArtzy 8 years ago from OHIO

      LOVE THIS!!! I never heard of the apple cinnamon before and can't wait to try it.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thank you Frogyfish.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Delightful! And I loved your profile, your expressions. Will join you again!

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Hey there Art! Happy New year to you too! I just now saw this, as they had marked you as spam. :(

      Thanks Lizzy and Nikki!

      Hello Justine. This year my tree got the same old glass balls and bells. We made playdough ornaments, but only got the ones finished that we were giving away. I want to do a star garland out of the first recipe, for above the front door, and I have pine cones I collected, to paint waiting for me.

    • profile image

      Justine76 8 years ago

      what did you end up doing for your tree? we like to paint pine cones with glittery paint. these recipes could be used for any seasonal decorations. Thanks for the ideas!!

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 8 years ago

      awww, I love this hub. SWWWEEEETTT hub :D

    • LizzyBoo profile image

      LizzyBoo 8 years ago from Czech Republic

      You are very talented. I shall try it!

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 8 years ago

      Happy New Year my friend, have a great 2010 ! xox