“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. Xmas is all around me, and so the feeling grows”, Billy Mack has sung in the movie “Love Actually”. Have you seen it? And he is absolutely right. It’s the happiest time of the year. Everything, from the houses to the streets, is decorated and bright when this festive season begins. But, aside from joy, Noel is also the ideal holiday to let your imagination and creativity go free. There are many low-cost and inexpensive DIY craft projects you can do to decorate your home, like making Christmas ornament gnomes. Plus, you can let your kids help you make them.
Another easy craft for the whole family is making ornaments with salt dough. It is a popular holiday activity for making ornaments using only three kitchen ingredients. Salt dough can be shaped and baked in the oven like modelling clay. Here’s a tutorial on how to make and decorate salt dough Christmas ornaments.
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Why make salt dough ornaments?
Any DIY project, including salt dough ornaments, is a great and fun way to spend time with your family. But, beyond that, there are more reasons to make them:
- Salt dough ornaments make adorable keepsakes and great handmade gifts your kids can give to their grandparents.
- They are very easy, and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards.
- The result is very sturdy, and you can do whatever you want to decorate them.
- Finally, they can last for years to come.
How to make salt dough
The salt dough recipe is almost the same as the clay recipe. It’s very easy to make this ornament recipe. The prep time takes 10-15 minutes, whilst the total time will take about 2 hours. Here is what you need to have and the steps to follow:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup salt
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Cookie cutters
- A large bowl
- Rolling pin
Steps to follow:
- Preheat the oven to the lowest setting and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl, mix the plain flour and table salt.
- Next, add the water and stir very well with a mixer (or a stand one) until you form a dough ball.
- Get the dough ball into a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. If the dough is too dry, you can add a little more warm water. If you find it a bit sticky, then add a little all-purpose flour. Keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Once you finish kneading, roll the dough to about 1.25cm thickness.
- Then, get the cutters and cut any Christmas decorations you like.
- When you finish shaping your ornaments, use a straw, skewer or toothpick to poke a hole in the top of each ornament glass for the twine to hang them.
- Then, transfer your salt dough ornaments on the lined cookie sheet and let them air dry for a whole day. Then bake them for 1-2 hours or until they become solid. Just be sure to flip the ornaments when you let them air dry or bake them so they dry evenly.
Your salt dough ornaments are ready. Let them cool down, and then you can decorate them as you wish.
How to decorate salt dough ornaments
Time for some fun now. Decorate your salt dough ornaments, which is a great kids craft project. Get your glitters and enjoy yourselves.
- Acrylic paint or felt-tip pens
- White spray paint
- Glitter, glue
- Polyurethane spray
Steps to follow:
- Lay parchment paper on your work surface to protect it from paints and transfer your salt dough ornaments on the paper.
- Mist your ornaments with a thin coat of white spray paint. White spray paint will make your ornaments look like clay.
- When the spray paint dries, use acrylic paints and paintbrushes to paint them. Use white for snowflakes, red if you have mittens, green for the tree, gold for bells. Remember to paint sides as well, not only the front.
- Let the paint dry, and then add some glitter using glue. If you don’t have glue, don’t let the paint dry. Sprinkle the glitter first, and then allow your ornaments to dry.
- Next, paint the back of your salt dough decorations with two coats of paint and let them dry.
- Finally, thread ribbon through the holes and hang them on your Christmas tree.
9 ideas to decorate salt dough ornaments
Photo frame salt dough ornament
Do you want a keepsake? Then you should make these ornaments. Plus, it’s a great Christmas gift for parents and grandparents.
This salt dough craft is the same as the one we mentioned above. The main difference is while shaping the dough. Let’s see what you have to do:
- Make your salt dough, and using an ornament biscuit cutter, cut your ornaments.
- Then, use a smaller cutter and cut the centre of half of the ornaments.
- Poke a hole for the twine using a straw.
- Bake them and let them cool down.
- Once they cool, paint and decorate them.
- Add clear glue on top of the ornament and sprinkle glitter.
- Next, glue a photo to the back using hot glue.
- Add your ribbon and hang them on the tree.
Christmas tree salt dough ornaments
You could see that coming, right? A tree ornament couldn’t be missing from our tutorial. The process is the same. Cut the dough in a tree shape and paint it with green paint. You can now decorate your ornament as you like. Tie a red bow, use craft paint, add sprinkles, add glitter to look like having lights, or do all three.
Salt dough garland
You can add salt dough ornaments in your Christmas garland with dried oranges that you made to decorate it even more. The salt dough garland ornament recipe is the same as the above mentioned. Make a few ornaments and thread a long string through the holes. Just every time you thread an ornament, tie a knot to secure it in place. And that’s all—nothing more, nothing less.
Gingerbread men salt dough ornaments
Make gingerbread men ornaments to decorate your house during the holiday season. It’s an easy craft, and you can do it with your kids. Remember, though, that salt dough gingerbread men’s ornaments aren’t for eating, only for decorating.
Cinnamon salt dough ornaments
These salt ornaments are great as Christmas gifts. Follow the ornament recipe above and add 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon when mixing the ingredients. Then, the rest are the same. Knead, roll, bake and decorate.
Salt dough handprint ornaments
Salt dough handprint ornaments or else pawprints are a cute keepsake and a fun kids craft. Here’s what you have to do:
- Follow the salt dough recipe as directed above. Just when it comes to rolling the dough, make it a bit thicker.
- Then, press the hand or foot in the dough.
- Cut around the hand/footprint using a rim of a bowl or glass.
- Then, follow with the rest steps; bake and decorate.
You can also write the name of the kid above each handprint.
Melted snowman dough ornaments
Snowman decoration isn’t missing from any house during Christmas. If you want to stand out, though, you can take snowmen to another level. You can make melted snowman dough ornaments.
Here’s how to do it:
- Follow the same salt dough recipe.
- Then, lay wax paper and let your kids have their shapes.
- Give your kids a small ball of dough and let them roll it onto a rectangular shape for the body.
- Next, get them a smaller ball of dough to make the head.
- Place the head anywhere on the body.
- Get a little piece of dough to make a carrot nose and place it on the head.
- Poke the ornaments and transfer them onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake them and let them cool. Then decorate them as desired.
Sea glass salt dough ornament
For a different Christmas tree ornament, use sea glass to get a green look. Let’s see what you have to do:
- Sea glass – or else you can use buttons, shells or beads as well.
- Craft wire
- Salt dough
- Cookie cutters
- Food colouring
Steps to follow:
- Make the salt dough and roll it about 0.5-1cm thick.
- Cut your tree out and insert looped wire on top for hanging later, or poke a hole to thread a ribbon.
- Next, press in the sea glasses or anything else you want. Just do it gently so as not to unshape the tree.
- Bake them and allow them to cool down.
- Once they dry, varnish them to secure any glass or button.
- Let them dry, and then hang them.
Santa Claus salt dough ornaments
Santa Claus is the head role in Christmas. We all love them even if we don’t believe in his existence. It’s something like heirlooms passed down through generations, plus a cute craft idea.
- Once you have made the Santa ornament, apply white acrylic paint as a base coat and let it dry.
- Next, paint Santa.
- Then, apply a few layers of polyurethane as a sealer.
How to seal your salt dough ornaments
These DIY ornaments are reusable and can last for years as long as you seal them. Salt is an excellent sealer, but it’s not enough. You should use spray poly to preserve them for the years to come. Spray one coat on each side and let it dry. If you want your ornaments to look like clay, use a matte or satin finish. Yet, if you want a more sparkling look, use semi-gloss or gloss poly.
There is no limitation. It’s a family activity, and you can feel free to create anything you want and cheer yourself up. Spend your holiday evenings creating with your kids salt dough ornaments and personalise your festive home decor. We promise your visitors will be amazed and inspired by your Christmas decorations. So, “Craft on and let it snow.”