These handmade ornaments are equal parts great gift and easy, entertaining kid craft! You can’t go wrong with useful and endearing kid art as a gift for parents, grandparents, teachers, and caretakers. They come together quickly, like homemade playdough, and roll out just like sugar cookies. You can dye the dough for mess-less decoration, or paint and glitter them once they’ve baked and cooled.
If you celebrate a winter holiday that doesn’t involve a tree, you could use these ornaments to make a garland, to decorate a wreath, or as a gift tag on a present!
To make approximately 28 medium-sized ornaments (around 3 inches long and half an inch thick), you’ll need:
2 parts all-purpose flour (NOT self-rising)
1 part salt
1 part water (or less)
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined and approximately the texture of playdough. You’ll probably want to use your hands to mix, because it’s easy to misjudge the hydration if you’re using a spoon or a spatula to stir. The dough should be a little dry and not very sticky. Knead the well-mixed dough for 5 minutes at least – the more you knead the softer it’ll be.
You can color your salt dough with food dye (natural or regular food coloring) mixed into the water, if desired.
On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to no less than ½ inch thick. Cut shapes with cookie cutters and poke a hole in top of each shape with a straw. I recommend moving each shape to a greased or lined baking sheet as soon as you cut it, because otherwise the dough starts to settle and stick to the surface no matter how well-floured.
Bake at 250°F until dry; at least 2 hours and possibly more depending on the size. You can also air dry overnight. Flip once, halfway through the baking time. They might get a little puffy. Keep an eye on the ornaments while they’re baking if you don’t want them to brown; you can cover them or cook them at a lower temperature to prevent browning. If you’re painting them, browning is probably not a big deal.
Once the ornaments have fully dried and cooled, you can decorate them with acrylic paint and/or glitter glue! If you’d like the ornaments to last a while, seal fully decorated and dry ornaments with a non-toxic acrylic sealant. Loop a piece of twine or ribbon through the precut hole to make it hangable!
Sarah Carlisle is passionate about learning and making, and spends most of her time in Portland, OR running a creperie, growing food in a cooperative garden, participating in community kitchens, and creating and crafting at home.