Christmas Salt Dough Ornaments DIY

December 16, 2020

An easy how-to for inspiring your own homemade Christmas salt dough ornaments.

We are eagerly awaiting a decent snowfall in the mountains of Virginia, and I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be disappointed if there wasn't a heaping accumulation. We love snow - the calmness and magic of it as it dances through the air and layers on the ground. Paired with twinkling Christmas lights and the overall coziness of the holiday season, there's just nothing not to adore about it. 

So whether you're having a snow day or not, it's still the most wonderful time of the year, and it would make a lovely day to make homemade salt dough ornaments. Even if you don't have children, I think this is an exceptional and creative project for anyone who loves to craft or is looking for a simple and festive activity. I made these with the girls and made sure to set aside a handful of ornaments for myself to pull out after their bedtime. I put Gilmore Girls on and enjoyed a frozen peppermint cocktail while I painted. It was perfect!

These sweet little ornaments are beautiful on the tree, and I also think the would be great strung on ribbon, wrapped around packages as extra embellishment to tags. Or bake some Christmas goodies, divide them up in bags; string with ribbon and one of these homemade ornaments to gift to your neighbors. However you decide to use the ornaments, they're sure to spread some Christmas cheer!

I think my favorite ornament(s) are the impressions of my little ones' hands. What better way to preserve their precious hands, than with ornaments to pull out and enjoy every Christmas season?! And it's really simple to make those handprints into characters. I opted to make them into Santa Claus, which turned out really cute. You can easily change up the paint colors and add little touches to make the details match your aesthetic. 

  • What You'll Need
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup salt
    • 1 cup warm water 
    • Cookie cutters - I used miniatures and regular size
    • Baker's twine and/or ribbon
    • Acrylic paint, my choices listed below
    • Straw - for punching a hole
    • Paint brushes
    • Hot glue gun
    • Pom poms - regular + miniature

  • What You'll Do
    • Preheat the oven to 200°.
    • In a bowl, combine the flour and salt, mixing to combine. Then pour in the water and stir until you have a ball of dough. 
    • Flour your working surface, and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Add flour as needed.
    • Divide the dough into four chunks. 
    • Lightly flour your surface, then roll out one chunk at a time to about 1/4" thickness.
    • Using cookie cutters or your little's hands, cut out the ornament shapes. 
    • Place the ornaments on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    • Bake for 2.5-3 hours or until the salt dough ornaments have completely dried. 
    • Let them cool completely before painting.
    • Once you have painted them and they are dry, either string baker's twine through the pre-punched holes and knot, or use a hot glue gun to secure the ribbon to the backside of the ornament. 
      • For gluing, put a dot down, and lay both ends of your twine/ribbon in it. Using a toothpick, press the twine/ribbon into the glue. For extra reinforcement, add more glue on top of the twine/ribbon so that the ends don't fray and the weight of being hung doesn't pull the it loose. 
    • Enjoy decorating and getting crafty!

  • Paint Colors Names Used
    • Craft Smart Brand
      • Crimson
      • Spanish Olive
      • Fuchsia
      • Light pink
      • Coral
      • Khaki
      • Vanilla
      • Plum Berry
      • Burgundy
      • Brown
      • Golden Brown 
      • Light Taupe
      • Black
    • Folk Art Brand
      • Old Ivy - I put just a small blot of this in with the Spanish Olive to darken my green up a bit. Very, very little was needed

**I ended up baking mine for about 50 minutes, thought they were dry so I pulled them out of the oven. They were not, and I had to wait an additional two days, flipping them from front to back once each day. I didn't stick them back in the oven after they had cooled for fear of them breaking. This is why I'm recommending that they bake for 2.5-3 hours. I would monitor them every 30 minutes after hitting the first hour mark. 

**For the miniature ornaments, I opted not to punch holes, and instead glue the baker's twine to the back. 

**I recommend buying the paint from Michaels - the price point is great!

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