Christmas traditions are some of the best memories a mom can have with her kids. One of my favorites is making salt dough ornaments and letting the kids paint them. So many cookie cutter choices and the are colors too numerous to count. It’s an easy craft for little hands and equally fun for the big hands.
The recipe is simple and takes only what you have in your pantry. Make the hole for hanging with a pencil or a chopstick, putting it where you want the ribbon to go. Make sure to make the hole a little larger than necessary as it will shrink in baking.
How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
¾ cup water (may need more depending on dough consistency)
- Pour flour and salt together, mixing it thoroughly.
- Slowly add water until the mixture is barely moist.
- Knead the dough and roll out to desired thickness.
- Use cookie cutters for different shapes and a straw or chopstick to make a hole for hanging the ornaments.
- Bake in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Flip them and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Let them cool and you are able to decorate them.
Another recipe I have used as an alternative for ornaments is this
Better Than Salt Dough
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
¾ cup water
Mix together and bake at 175 degrees for about an hour. Paint, seal, or leave ornaments white for hanging up.
You can double the batch and make many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes adding in cinnamon or orange extract is a little surprise for your senses. As they bake, your kitchen is a wonderful aroma of cozy and Christmas. Other additions could be food coloring, glitter, or sequins that are mixed into the dough.
After baking, there are many options are available for decoration. Acrylic paint is normally a top choice. Another option is to hot glue pom poms or buttons for a gingerbread person. You can also leave the ornament just the way it is and string some festive twine or ribbon through the hole to hang.
The nostalgia of making these as a child and hanging them on the tree brings back memories. The gingerbread man that smelled like cinnamon or the Santa who turned out a very dark brown. He may have been cooked a little too long. Or maybe I felt that Santa could be any color and I wanted to be inclusive at a young age. No matter the shape or color. It was the time spent as a family making memories that meant the most.
Last year, we these ornaments were used as an easy teacher gift tag with a small token of our appreciation for all the staff do for our students. Inexpensive and something that teachers can have as a memory of your student that year. I have seen teachers who have a tree dedicated to student ornaments. The more years they teach, the fuller the tree becomes with memories of previous students.
Our family likes to make ornaments for each other and design them based on interests from that year. My daughter has a passion for soccer so she received a soccer ball ornament. My son enjoys monster trucks, so he has one painted with his favorite monster truck colors. There are endless options and only your imagination limits what can be designed.