DIY Salt Dough Ornaments
Around the holidays, there's nothing better than gathering with friends or family for holiday traditions. This year, add a new tradition to your list. Making these fun and simple DIY salt dough ornaments is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. They're easy enough for kids to make, and fun for adults as well. You can create these easy salt dough ornaments to hang on your own tree, or to give as holiday gifts to friends and family. (They make great teacher gifts as well.) Add your own custom twist to your ornaments with your favorite paint colors, and they'll be a lovely addition to your holiday decor.
As you are gathering your materials, consider the shapes that you'd like to create with your salt dough ornaments! Holiday cookie cutters are a great place to start, but simple shapes will work as well—think stars, circles, and more. If you don't have cookie cutters, you can also cut shapes into your dough freehand by simply using a knife.
You should also consider your color palette; decide ahead of time what colors of acrylic paint you might like, and what colors would look best with the holiday decor that you already have.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup cool water
- Acrylic paint
- Cotton twine
- Mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters (or knife)
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
Mix Dry Ingredients
Start by measuring your dry ingredients and combining them in a large mixing bowl. Whisk them together using a fork, being sure that they are thoroughly combined.
Next, add some water. It's best to pour most but not all of the water into your mixture. Depending on the humidity of your environment, you may not need the full cup. Start by pouring most of the water in, but leave a few teaspoons behind. Mix the dry ingredients and the water with a fork until they start to come together.
Once the mixture starts to clump together, it's best to start kneading the dough with your hands. Fold and knead the dough on a flat surface until you have a dough ball formed, and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
At this point, if the mixture feels too dry, you can add a little of your remaining water.
Check for Dryness
Sprinkle a little flour on your flat surface and start rolling the dough out with your rolling pin. If you find that the rolled dough shows lots of cracks, as in this photo, add a bit more water to the mixture, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and knead again until the water is incorporated.
Roll the Dough
When your dough has the right consistency, roll it out again. You want to try to roll the dough evenly, between 1/4" and 1/2" thick. Any thicker and the ornaments won't bake through properly. Try your best to get the dough an even thickness throughout.
Cut Out Shapes
Next, use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough. Press firmly so that the cutters cut through the dough thoroughly, and remove the excess dough. If you'd rather cut your own shapes, use a knife to carefully carve your shapes into the dough.
Add a Hole
Use a straw to add a hole to the top of each ornament. This is where the twine or ribbon will loop through to hang the ornaments.
Bake the Ornaments
Place your cut ornaments on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven at 200 for two to three hours, or until cooked through and firm. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let them come to room temperature.
Once your ornaments are completely dry, it's time to paint! Use a paintbrush to gently spread paint across the front of your ornaments. If you like, you can paint the backsides too! To create the plaid look that we used on the squirrel and moose ornaments, start with a coat of white paint. Allow it to dry. Paint black perpendicular lines using a medium-sized brush, and then offset another set of perpendicular lines using a thin brush.
Add Loops for Hanging
Finally, cut a length of cord or ribbon, string it through the hole in an ornament, and knot or tie a bow with the ends.
Style and Hang
Hang your ornaments on the tree, or give them as gifts. Happy making!