Diy: Salt Dough Ornaments

salt dough ornament snowflakes

The holidays have officially begun. As we countdown to Christmas I’ll be sharing some of my favorite holiday decorations, crafts, and gift ideas. To start us off Bread Dough Ornaments from Stephanie of even*cleveland. So cute, I can’t wait to try. Thanks for sharing Stephanie!

p.s. for christmas 2010 Stephanie made these stamped salt dough ornaments. So beautiful and easy!

Salt dough ornaments are an easy holiday craft that everyone can do, and you can make them as simple or as complicated as you like. Properly stored, they last nearly forever.

Step 1. Make the dough
Put 1/2 cup table salt, 1/2 cup water, and 1 cup all-purpose flour into a mixer, and blend together until a sticky dough forms. If you want to experiment with color, you can substitute 1/2 cup of dark tea or coffee for the water. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated. Take the dough out, and knead for 7 to 10 minutes on a well-floured surface. Once it feels smooth and elastic, you are ready to start making ornaments. This amount of dough was enough to make six gnomes, two snowmen and eight snowflakes of different sizes. The recipe can easily be doubled, but be sure to keep any dough you are not using wrapped in plastic wrap, and work quickly – salt dough does not like to sit.

mixing bread dough
making bread dough
rolling dough for ornaments

Step 2. Make the ornaments
Salt dough is extremely flexible and forgiving, so you can make ornaments from it in a variety of ways. For this batch, I rolled it out like sugar cookie dough until it was about 1/4″ thick, and then used my favorite cookie cutters – a gnome and some snowflakes – to make a variety of shapes.

cutting out doughdough shapes

For the gnomes, I used food coloring to dye some dough red for hats and jackets – this was EXTREMELY messy, so I would recommend wearing latex gloves if you mix in the color by hand, and rolling out any dyed dough between two sheets of wax paper to protect your counter and rolling pin. I then used a garlic press with some plain dough to make them shaggy beards. To attach extra pieces of dough decoration, rub a little water on the back of the piece you want to stick on, then gently press. You can make them as dimensional as you like.

making gnome ornaments
gnome bread dough ornaments

Once the ornaments are formed, poke them with a bamboo skewer to make holes to hang them from. I decided to make my snowflakes into a garland, so they got poked twice, on opposite ends. Once you have the holes in, it is time to pop them in the oven. Essentially, you want to dry out all of the moisture in them, so they go in a 200 degree oven for 4-6 hours – you can even leave them in overnight. Once they are hardened, take them out and let them cool completely.

bread dough ornaments in oven

Step 3. Decorate and finish
One of the lovely things about these ornaments is that they can be finished in a variety of ways – they take kindly to paints and pens of all sort. For my gnomes, I drew on a pair of eyes with pencil, and left them as is. For my snowflakes, I decided to draw a variety of little swirling doodles on them with red pen, and then I strung them with butcher’s twine into a garland.

decorating salt dough ornaments
salt dough ornament snowflakes

salt dough gardland

If you want your ornaments to last years and years, coat them with 3-4 very thin coats of polyurethane gloss varnish. Make sure to cover every exposed surface. This seals them and helps prevent moisture from getting in. Once they are sealed, you can deck them out with glitter if you like. Store them in a cool, dry place and you will enjoy them for years to come.

Happy holidays! Check out Stephanie’s blog for more crafts ideas and inspiration.

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