Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year! There’s nothing like a cold winter night cuddled up on the sofa with the fireplace going, sipping a cup of hot cocoa with the Christmas tree lights illuminating the room.
Growing up, my mom had a tradition. Each year she’d get my brother and I a new ornament. I love keeping that tradition alive to this day. It’s so much fun adding a new addition to the tree each year.
For those of you that don’t know, I’m a crafty lady. It’s fun to go out and buy a new ornament but it’s even better to make one of our very own!
Salt dough is such a fun and easy project to do with the kiddos. It just takes a few simple kitchen ingredients for hours of fun. It’s non-toxic and safe to use, even for the youngest of children. Kids can have so much fun rolling out the dough and it helps with their fine motor skills. You can also let them help you measure out the ingredients for a math lesson!
This is a fun project I did for many years with my students. It’s a great keepsake for parents to collect each year to watch their children grow.
It can be fun for grown ups to get in on the action too. Make hand prints of the whole family to add to your tree!
Now, while making salt dough isn’t an exact science, I’m going to give you my recipe. You may need to tweak it a little bit to get the exact consistency that works for you.
Start with a large mixing bowl
Add flour and salt
Next, slowly pour in the water mixing as you go.
You may not need the whole cup but if you do use the whole thing and find the dough to be to sticky, just sprinkle a small handful of flour and keep mixing until you get the consistency that you like.
Once I have it mixed fairly well in the mixing bowl, I lightly flour the counter, dump the mixture out and knead it, just like bread, until it’s nice a fluffy. Sometimes during this process I add a few more drops of water or sprinkles of flour. There’s really no right or wrong consistency, just as long as the dough doesn’t end up sticking to the counter.
When you have your dough mixed..now comes the fun part!
Roll your dough in to a ball, place in front of your child and let them roll it out! Slowly roll the rolling pin back and fourth across your dough until it’s about a half of an inch thick. You can make your ornaments as thick as you’d like, just remember the thicker they are the heavier they will be when they dry and on the flip side, if the dough is too thin, it will rip.
You can use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. We chose to make hand print ornaments. Hand print crafts are my absolute favorite. It’s such a precious memory to look back on and see how tiny your kiddos hand were.
Once you have your shapes, lay the ornaments out on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
Make sure to poke a small hole at the top so you can thread it later to hang on the tree
(I used a Capri Sun straw to poke the holes)
Next, just pop them in a 300 degree oven for about an hour. Times may vary depending on how thick or thin you rolled your salt dough. I like to keep a close eye on my ornaments as they dry just to prevent any cracking. You can also leave your ornaments out to air dry but that can take a day or two.
Once your ornaments have hardened, take them out of the oven and let them cool down.
Now you’re ready to paint!
I love Craft Smart Acrylic paints. They come in lots of colors, they’re non-toxic and they wash off little hands easily.
That’s it! Easy peasy Christmas ornaments you’ll treasure for years to come, along with all the precious memories you’ll create while making them!
If you have any questions about anything mentioned in my article please feel free to comment!