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December 8, 2011

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments and Snowman Figures

In an effort to not buy more Christmas decorations since I have a ton stored, I have been making all of my decorations this year. This project started as an attempt to make Christmas tree ornaments. My ornaments didn’t turn out very well. Cookie cutters would have made my ornaments a lot better. I’m not much of a freehander. The flat shapes cracked when baking possibly due to the temperature being to high.

Salt dough ornaments are a wonderful Christmas project to share with your family. The dough is easy to make, shape and bake. Creativity is endless when it comes to shaping and coloring the ornaments. As a child my Girl Scout troop would make dough decorations every Christmas. Even though I remembered making dozens of salt dough ornaments as a child, I couldn’t remember ever creating any as an adult. As soon as I began I started to remember how neat it was to make “cookies for the Christmas tree.” These ornaments don’t last forever, but will last for a few years if taken care of. For the longest longevity, seal ornaments and decorations with a clear lacquer finish to seal them.

Materials:
Flour- 4cups 
Salt- 1 cup
 Water- Enough to moisten
 Oven and Metal Cookie Sheet
 Scrap Wire and/or Wood Skewer
 Optional: Acrylic or Water Color Paint
 Food Coloring
 Decorative Wire


Make the Dough:
  • Mix flour, salt, and water in large bowl. Add water slowly to the dry ingredients. Dough should be on the drier side and sticky.
  • Add flour or water as needed to get the correct density.
  • If you would like to color the dough with food coloring add it now. The dough can also be hardened and later painted without the use of food coloring. Kneed the dough and food coloring until the color is saturated.
  • Oiled hands and tools work well to keep dough from sticking when you’re working with it. If you use water or flour the dough density will change. 


Making Flat Ornaments:

  • Roll dough flat. I recommend 1/4in or thinner.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into Christmas shapes.
  • Place ornament on cookie sheet.
  • You have two choices for making a hole to hang the ornament from. One way is to use a wood skewer (or similar tool) to pierce a small hole in top of the ornament. A ribbon will be added after the decoration is finished for hanging. Another way is to take a piece of scrap wire, bend it into a U-shape, and then insert it into the ornament. A regular hook or ribbon can later be added.
  • Place cookie sheet with ornaments into the over. Bake at 250 degrees for at least one hour. Decorations may need longer depending on the thickness of the dough. To high of a heat will make the ornaments crack so be careful.
  • If you didn’t use food coloring it’s now time to paint and decorate your creation if you would like! 

Making Wreath Ornaments:

  • Roll dough into long snake like tubes. Cut equal lengths of dough.
  • Twist two lengths of dough together. Squish ends together to form a wreath.
  • Add a wire U to the wreath, or add ribbon through hole after baking for hanging on the Christmas tree.
  • Bake at 250 degrees for at least two hours. Decorations may need longer depending on the thickness of the dough. To high of a heat will make the ornaments crack so be careful.
  • If you didn’t use food coloring it’s now time to paint and decorate your creation if you would like!



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Making Snowmen Figures:
  • Roll dough into three balls of varying sizes. Keep in mind that the larger the balls the longer the dough will need to bake.
  • Place bottom ball on cookie sheet and gently press down the form a flat spot on the top of the ball.
  • Add a scrap of wire in the center of the bottom ball. Leave half of the wire sticking up out of the ball.
  • Place second ball on top of first ball, threading the wire into the center of the second ball of dough.
  • Add another piece of scrap wire into the second ball of dough. Leave half of the wire sticking up out of the dough.
  • Place the third ball of dough on top of the second, threading the wire like before.
  • Make a carrot nose with a little dough and attach it to the snowman’s face.
  • Arms can be made a variety of ways. I simply took black craft wire and coiled it to make arms. The wires are then stuck into the side of the snowmen. You can also make arms with small sticks or salt dough.
  • Bake at 250 degrees until the snowman is harden. Decorations will need a long time depending on the thickness of the dough. To high of a heat will make the ornaments crack so be careful. I baked the snowmen pictured for about 6 hours.
  • If you didn’t use food coloring it’s now time to paint and decorate your creation if you would like!

2 comments:

tippy said...

Oh so adorable. I love the little snowmen.

Ryan and Nicole said...

Thank you! They are neat, but took a LONG time to dry in the oven. I went through a 30lb LPG tank!

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