Salt dough ornaments for the tree

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We made salt dough ornaments with our friends Krystal and Maya on Friday. Then they came back yesterday to paint and decorate them with us. Krystal and I had as much fun as Maia and Maya.

This was one of the activities on our advent calendar.

Here's how we make salt dough:

Mix 4 cups flour with 1 cup salt and 1 1/2 cups cold water. If it's too dry, add a bit more water. It's really that simple. You can store it, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge until you're ready to use it.

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We roll the dough directly onto a sheet of parchment paper, cut our shapes with the cookie cutters, then pull off the excess dough and leaving the ornaments in place on the parchment paper. This keeps the ornaments from getting misshapen in transit. We just slip the parchment paper onto cookie sheets and then into the oven. It works well!

And once they bake (2-3 hours at 275 degrees F), they are very hard and easy to work with.

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The painting and decorating stage was a big hit with the girls. Very big. Primarily due to the recent purchase of GLITTER.

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They took their glitter application very seriously.

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And there was no such thing as excess in their eyes. How can there be too much glitter?

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The ornaments were lovely, glitter and all.

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And dry enough to hang just before we headed off to Maia's first ballet class.

Have you worked with salt dough? Any tips?


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  1. says

    These turned out really well! I haven’t made them before, so I don’t have any tips. I think your idea of cutting the shapes directly on the baking sheet is brilliant.

  2. says

    This looks like a lot of fun! We’ve been busy making lots of different homeade ornaments this year, but none that seem to handle glitter as well as this–and really, glitter is THE essential ingredient at my house. We’ll have to give it a try!

  3. says

    maybe it was the type of salt you used? I cant think of why it was so sticky.. I made some last year but cant remember the recipe I used.. just one off the net, some seem to have more water than other recipes, some it is half and some it is equal water/flour

  4. says

    We tried this the other day with the recipe in Mary Anne Kohl’s book and it was a DISASTER. If you find an easier way to do this please let us all know.

  5. says

    If you’re going with cookie cutter shapes, that’s probably a good idea. The other option is to just let them mold it with their hands like playdough into their own kind of shapes. Although frankly it seemed almost too sticky for Maia and Maya to even do that (they tried!).

  6. says

    It really did work okay once we rolled them out onto the parchment paper. We often rolled them out with a piece of parchment paper below and a piece of wax paper above, then pulled off the wax paper and used the cookie cutters in the dough.
    I was even thinking of doing this again because I like the finished product (the baked salt dough ornaments) so much! I just know what to expect now.
    Although if anyone has more ideas for making it easier to work with, please let me know!

  7. ginger says

    I’ve worked with salt dough plenty. I do know for me that it seems I need to keep it in the oven for much longer than it says for it to harden up all the way.

  8. brenda says

    I googled and took the first recipe- 2 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 cup salt. worked great. Did you use warm water? I used cold- that may help to keep the salt “in check”. I added flour to table, roller, etc. It seemd that the temp would affect it- as my girls worked it (warmed in their hands) I needed to give them a bit more flour…and boy did they work this stuff. It was a great consistency. We used cookie cutters and then I had some small letter stamps that we used to imprint their initial. They also made a few snakes and ladybugs. I am going to do this with my kindergarteners this week once we get past out negative degree temps and snow days. I will let you know how that works. With all the salt- your animals will want to lick these- can you say salt lick?? Our cats as kids always went for these first- even with the paint on them.

  9. Shenandoah says

    I made these last week with my 2yr-old and they were great. followed the recipe that you had-salt(the cheap kind), flour(more of the cheap kind)and water. We put in in the fridge for a wile covered in plastic wrap and it was great. no extra flour was needed. maybe your fridge time wasn’t long enough? That’s the only thing I can think of.?????

  10. Carly says

    We are making these today as a Christmas presents from the kids. Thanks for all the tips, everyone!

  11. [email protected] says

    I use a ┬┤jewelery clay recipe instead which is two cups of bicarbonated soda one cup of corn flour and then one and a quarter cups of cold water. This is a self hardening clay (does take a couple of days to dry) but needs to be cooked beforehand so place on stove and stir until it resembles mashed potato, allow to cool and knead well. Spreading some hand moisturiser on your hands and dough avoids sticking and applying a bit of cornflour to the rolling pin and table helps too. Can be stored in a plastic bag for up to two weeks and used for a multiude of things and has a nice texture the kids seem to love!

  12. [email protected] says

    Might be a stupid question but what do you use to stick the glitter on?
    Do you use Elmers glue or Mod podge?