Sunday, November 29, 2015

Salt Dough Ornament Fun!

This year we decided that we wanted to nix the all-matching grown-up tree and start making a tree full of memories for our family. Arlo is almost two and we thought it would be fun to buy ornaments for the tree that would remind us of the milestones of this year and some of his favorite things. After shopping online for ornaments, I found the ornaments I wanted weren't cheap or weren't exactly what I wanted. I decided we should go the DIY route and make our own salt dough ornaments.

The options are limitless when you make them yourself and the process really is easy and inexpensive. Plus it's a fun sensory play experience for your little ones!

Here are the supplies needed:

  • All purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Acrylic paint
  • Inexpensive brushes
  • Straw
  • Ribbon
Most of these you will have lying around your house (especially if you are a craft hoarder like me). If not, you're looking at maybe $15 in supplies.

The recipe I followed calls for:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
First mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl, add the water in slowly and mix together until you have a nice ball of dough. I've played around will some recipes that call for more flour or add in vegetable oil, but I've found this simple recipe makes a great dough. Next you'll want to lightly flour your countertop and roll the dough out. I like to keep mine about a 1/4" thick since I like to do foot & hand print ornaments and don't want the dough to get too thin after the impression. Thinner dough will dry faster though, so go as thick or as thin as you like!

You can use cookie cutters for your shapes. I used a large and small biscuit cutter for our round ornaments. I liked the pinking edge it gave the ornaments, kind of like bottle caps. For the other ornaments, I free cut them out of the dough using a butter knife.

Once cut out, you'll want to use a straw to punch a hole in the ornament so you can thread ribbon through when you're done (don't forget this step!). 

You can leave your ornaments out at room temperature to dry, but this can take days for them to completely harden so you can paint them. I don't have that much patience, so I pop them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 200 degrees for 2 - 3 hours (again, depending on how thick you make the ornaments).

Once they are dry, you can begin to decorate! To commemorate Arlo's favorite things, I incorporated a Daniel Tiger and Cookie Monster ornament. I wanted to make a small car too, but after I cut and baked the dough, it came out looking more like a turtle! Arlo is pretty indifferent to turtles, but we'll tell him he liked them. ;) I also made a reindeer footprint ornament, snowman, and some small ornaments with our initials and the year. The really make our tree feel special and I know we'll enjoy taking them out for years to come.