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How to Make Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments for Christmas

Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

Updated December 2020

This is the third year in a row that we’ve made salt dough ornaments—I guess it’s become a Christmas tradition for us.

We use them to decorate our tree and to give as gifts. We’ve had lots of fun with the ornaments each time and Maia keeps requesting that we make them again.

The first year we made plain ornaments, then painted and glittered them. Super fun!

Last year we tinted batches of salt dough different colors before making the ornaments, then decorated them with glitter glue. Not quite as successful, but still fun of course.

This year, I brought out our stamps and we had so much making this version. But first, here is my favorite salt dough recipe with instructions to get your family started making your own salt dough ornaments.

Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

My Favorite Salt Dough Recipe

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Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

My Favorite Salt Dough Recipe

  • Author: Jean Van’t Hul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: crafts
  • Cuisine: n/a


We’ve tried so many salt dough crafts and made lots of variations of salt dough ornaments over the years. Here’s my favorite salt dough recipe with instructions to get you started.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water (+ extra  1/4 cup of water if needed)


  1. Mix flour with salt then stir in water. If the dough doesn’t come together, add another 1/4 cup of water or so. 
  2. Turn out the salt dough onto a countertop and work together with your hands until evenly mixed. 
  3. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. Place a fist-size piece of dough on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll dough out with a rolling pin to an 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes. Pull away the extra dough from around the shapes with the cookie cutters still in place.
  6. Use the end of a drinking straw, a skewer, or a chopstick to poke a hole at the top of each ornament for hanging.
  7. If you plan to decorate the ornaments, do that step now. I recommend: a.) stamps and a stamp pad, b.) poking a pattern of holes in the dough with the end of a straw, c.) poking glass beads into the dough.
  8. Gently move the sheet of parchment paper with salt dough ornaments onto a cookie sheet at bake in a 275F oven for 2-3 hours or until the salt dough is hard, but not browned. Let cool.
  9. (Optional) Add a coat of Mod Podge or some paint (we like BioColor paint for these) and glitter.
  10. Add a ribbon through the hole and hang in the window or on the tree!

Keywords: salt dough ornaments

Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

How to Make Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

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  1. Make and roll your dough

    Follow my recipe below to make a batch of salt dough. Lay parchment paper down and put your dough on it. The parchment paper helps to keep the dough from sticking to the table.

    Salt dough and rolling pin for salt dough ornaments

  2. Roll and cut salt dough

    Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough and cut out ornament shapes with cookie cutters.

    Cookie Cutters and Salt Dough

  3. Stamp ornaments

    I used stamps without ink for subtle designs. And I also tried some with ink, which I really liked.

    Stamping salt dough with ink and stamp

  4. Poke hole with straw

    Here is a batch of salt dough ornaments ready for straw-punched holes then the oven. The straw is perfect for poking holes to string the ornaments later on.


  5. Bake your ornaments!

    Bake at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 hours. Let cool completely. Then use ribbon or yarn to hang your ornaments.

Painting Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

I snuck back to the studio to take a couple photos of the older two working their magic with paint (BioColor) and glitter.

Painted Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

Here are some of their painted ornaments (as you can see, some had been stamped first).

The BioColor worked great on the salt dough! Better than tempera paint, which we’ve used in the past and which soaks into the dough too much and dries kind of powdery. The BioColor, on the other hand, dried quickly, stayed on the surface of the dough, and remained vibrant once dry.

How about you? Are you making salt dough ornaments this year?

More Salt Dough Crafts for Kids:

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stamped salt dough ornaments

How to Make Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments for Christmas
  • tracy
    December 9, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I have made salt dough ornaments with kids before, but have never tought to use stamps & ink! I love this! Another project for the to do list!

  • Tamrah T
    December 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

    What a brilliant use of items we already have on hand! Cookie cutters and stamps…the possibilities. Now if I can see about getting that BioColor. Really love the way they display!

  • jen at
    December 9, 2011 at 11:38 am

    we make them every year, too – last week we did a gluten-free batch! we painted and stamped them after baking instead of before. (the GF dough is a bit too soft/sticky to hold the shape of a stamp while still unbaked.) here’s the recipe we used: and how we stamped and painted ours is in the follow-up post:

  • jen at
    December 9, 2011 at 11:39 am

    p.s. – i’m LOVING all of the inventive ways your girls used the materials!!!

  • molly
    December 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I just read your entire post out loud to Henry and he was totally enthralled. Your book may be a read-aloud classic when it comes out! ;)
    We are setting off to make some ornaments right now.

  • mica
    December 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    just wondering what temp and how long you baked them….
    they looked great!

  • Mom2PandJ
    December 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Yes,, temp and time in oven, please.

  • Rachelle | TinkerLab
    December 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    We made salt dough ornaments this year too, and we’ll have to try stamping them next year. I also saw those clay ornaments, and they were described as salt dough…not so! I’m sure I’ve pinned things and replicated them mindlessly. Not to worry, though, since most of these ideas aren’t completely original anyway. You always do a good job giving people credit where it’s due and you’re so thoughtful to make the updated correction.

  • Meg Roke
    December 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing the less-sticky recipe. I will have to try them with my daughter this weekend. How long/at what temp did you bake them for in the oven? Can you start to paint them once they’ve cooled?

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Let me know if you try it!

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Yeah, we’ve used BioColor for lots of arts and crafts projects now. I wasn’t so into the idea of a separate kind of paint (in addition to all the ones we already had), but I have to say it’s a nice paint and very versatile.

  • Melissa @ the chocolate muffin tree
    December 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I love the idea of stamping them and I know my daughter will too! Thanks for the idea!

  • Dena
    December 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    My stamp happy toddler will be thrilled, thanks so much for the wonderful idea!

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Ha! A read-aloud classic? You crack me up, Molly!

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Me too!

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Cool! Gluten free salt dough — would never have thunk. :)

  • mica
    December 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm


  • Audra
    December 9, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I love that you have established this as a tradition, but that you vary it slightly every year.

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    oh, yeah! Oops. Okay, I baked mine at 225 for 3-4 hours.

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    225 degrees F for 3-4 hours. yes you can paint them after they’ve cooled!

  • Ms. Maria
    December 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I noticed that star with the pink squares on it in the first photo and figured that was one that you had done while Maia was at school because I thought it looked so funky and cool – Go Daphne with the back of the stamp!
    I hope we’ll have time to try this project this season. If we don’t manage it for Christmas maybe we’ll do hearts for Valentine’s…

  • Julia
    December 10, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Did the mogpog work?

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 10, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Used the last of my mod podge on our fall leaves, so I haven’t tried it yet. Planning to pick some up this weekend…

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 10, 2011 at 2:18 am

    We made salt dough hearts last Valentines — they were great! We strung small ones up on ribbon as necklaces.

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 10, 2011 at 2:18 am


  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 10, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Hope your stamp happy toddler enjoys this! :)

  • Jean Van't Hul
    December 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

    That way I satisfy my daughter who wants a repeat of what she remembers as well as myself (always wanting to try new ideas)…

  • nina
    December 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I used mod podge on ours and it worked fine.

  • rachel
    December 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    good to know about the mod podge (via comment)… feel free to borrow ours if you need to jean. thx for your red paint!
    thx for the inspiration! we found a link for painted handprints in salt dough… have been working on those and they are amazing! are newest idea for doug for xmas (shh!) is to make a big rolled out piece of salt dough and let all the boys make their handprint… and then they can each paint, or just leave plain, still figuring that part out. it’ll be so heavy i don’t think it could be hung. could be fun though propped up in d’s garage or something!

  • rachel
    December 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    i’m going to reply to myself! ;) the mod podge actually just smeared the kids’ (permanent) sharpie drawings… wouldn’t have expected that. i’m afraid to mod podge more!

  • nina
    December 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Hmm, that’s weird. I used sharpie (silver) on one of ours as well as watercolor paints and glitter glue and we didn’t have any smearing issues with the mod podge. What a huge bummer. :( We only got through half of our batch of ornaments before my kids petered out, so we have more to do. I’ll report back if we have problems with the mod podge.

  • janie barbopur
    December 11, 2011 at 10:53 am

    just found your site !! these look soo fun…i am going to try them this week with my 15 year old artist daughter….will let you know what she comes up with…i love homemade anything ! 56 and still learning ! no worries jean, there are no original ideas…just ones we haven’t heard of yet. have a great christmas. peace, janie

  • Catherine
    December 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I have so done that. I ‘came up’ with this brilliant idea I shared with my sister and then (re)discovered it in one of my old Martha Stewart magazines that I had completely forgotten about! Had to shake my head at myself over that one…

  • rachel
    December 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    i was brave and tried again w/the mod podge and it didn’t smear this time… maybe i was more gentle? or maybe more time b/t application of sharpies and mp? anyway, all well here now!
    new idea i might try this wk… punching holes (w/straws) all around outside edge of ornament or even all over the ornament … then it becomes an ornament to be threaded… either w/yarn or pipe cleaners. we’ll see! :) i’m feeling addicted to salt dough!

  • wendy
    December 12, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Omg absolutely love this! Now i know exactly what im gonna make to send out with christmas cards. My family wll love it!!!! I have a salt dough recipe and i totally forgot it. And stamping! Never even thought of it

  • Hope
    December 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I found a recipe for salt dough ornaments in a 1983 craft book. It recommended using “shellac” as a top layer. I went to the craft store looking for shellac to no avail, and the salespeople I asked weren’t sure what it was I needed. I looked at the mod podge for a while, wondering if it would work, but I too was uncertain. We painted ours with acrylic paint so I’m afraid it might smear.
    I did pick up a marker designed for writing on porcelain. I figured I could add customized notes after the sealing is done (if I can figure out how to seal them!)

  • Durgastoolbox
    December 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks so much for this great idea. I have a nine-year-old son with a developmental disability and sometimes it’s hard to find a craft that really allows him to do the project himself and keeps him engaged. He really loved every aspect of it, as did his sister and some friends who were over for a playdate. Painting is tricky for him, but we used Dot markers (similar to what folks use playing bingo) and he just loved it. He decided right away that he wanted to make an ornament for his personal care attendant/friend and he kept exclaiming, “So happy!”, knowing that the young man would be so happy to receive this homemade gift.

  • Andie
    December 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I love the stamp idea! We will be doing this tomorrow with our art club!

  • Laina
    December 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Ha! I have the same plastic cookie cutters!

  • Sheau
    December 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    We made some today too. It was so fun.

  • Ashlee
    December 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks for the idea! The kids just finished stamping some nativity scenes on ornaments for gifts for the grandparents. I noticed how smooth your dough is, and mine didn’t turn out quite so nice. My suspicion is that the air here is SO dry right now, that I needed to add more water. I added a full half cup more and still had some cracking, even though I kneaded it with my kitchenaid AND by hand?

  • Liz
    May 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I won’t say how many decades I’ve been around but my Mother did salt dough when she was a child. We did this together when I was growing up. I don’t know how long people have been doing this craft. I had totally forgot about it until I came across your website.

  • Katie
    June 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Were any of these painted before going into the oven? If so, with what kind of paint? I’m hosting a mommy and me craft time tomorrow to make salt dough handprints for father’s day and we wont have time for them to bake and then paint after they’ve cooled. I’d rather have the kids make the prints, paint them and then bake, but I’m not sure if it is safe to bake the paint.

  • Pam
    November 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I plan on making these with my 4 little ones this Christmas…just a thought, how about pressing lace dollies to leave the imprint for some added elegance?

  • Pam
    November 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Oh, and adding cinnamon oil to the dough?!

  • Julie
    November 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    If you add some alum to this mixture, it will air-dry without getting moldy. We use salt dough mostly for sculptures, though the ornament idea is neat. Another fun dough to make, especially for ornaments is applesauce dough. Just mix applesauce with lots of cinnamon, enough to make a dough. It will air dry and it smells great!

  • maria
    December 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Do u paint them before baking or after