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Our Flamboyant Salt Dough Ornaments

Artful Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments Mommy Labs

Pari loves the entire process of making salt dough ornaments – measuring (flour, salt, water), kneading, rolling, cutting, baking, painting, thread the yarn or ribbon and then decorating the tree for Christmas! What a wonderful project it is from start to finish and offers so many opportunities for conversations, connections and learning – by living and doing.

Last year, we’d made the uncooked beaded decorations and also the Valentine lace-print versions. This time, we decided to do it in the traditional way – drying in the oven in low heat. And, they turned out perfect!

We also went on to paint with acrylic colour and embellished further by piping out dots/beads of acrylic paint out of cones.

The results were so flamboyant and festive! Check out the whole process including the recipe for easy home-made salt dough.

Salt Dough Recipe

For the recipe, I turned to the tried and tested one that The Imagination Tree recommends:

  • 1 cup refined flour (maida)
  • 1 cup salt (other recipes around the net recommend 1/2 cup salt)
  • Nearly 1 cup water (I used less than one cup)

Add water to the dry stuff and knead thoroughly, till the dough turns pliable and stretchy. When you form a flat ball out of it to roll out, it should be smooth – leaving no cracks and crevices.

To roll out, line a butter paper on a flat surface. We ran out of our stock of butter paper so I applied a little oil to the surface of a large steel plate (placed upside down).

recipe for easy salt dough

Since Pari was going to roll it out, I divided the dough into three portions so it’d be easy for her.

how to make salt dough ornaments

Next, time to cut out the shapes using cookie cutters.

salt dough ornaments 1

We also used a few that came with the store-bought Play Doh set. The butterfly, sea-horse, pumpkin etc were cute additions!

salt dough homemade ornaments

Made holes using drinking straw to be able to thread the yarn or ribbon later on (after baking).

Mommy Labs

Avie tried his hand at it too. (Ever since he quit his job and started his own freelance coaching and consulting, it’s been a whole new life and living out here! We’re able to spend a lot of time with each other; have all three meals together; go out for movies on weekdays; travel when we want to. He’s able to take breaks during the day when he wants – to be able to play/chat/be with Pari. Oh..but sorry to digress. I might tell you about this aspect of life some other day!)

Baking/Heating the Ornaments in the Oven

Now, this is where you need to be cautious and attentive. (I wasn’t and hence we wasted a few ornaments as they got burnt, yikes.)

What I had done was – I set the temperature at 100 degrees. But, I didn’t notice that our oven has three options:

Plain microwave, Microwave+Convection AND just Convection.

The first time around, I’d set it at 100 degrees Celcius (212 degree F) with the Microwave+Convection setting. This caused the damage. 10 minutes into the heating and I smelt something burn in the kitchen. Eek! Our ornaments had turned brown on the under side. Panic!

Where/what was the problem?

And, it struck to me. Plain Convection. I should have chosen the convection setting.

Plus, just to be on the safe side, I lowered the temperature further down – to 40 degrees centigrade (104 F ). Baked at it for 2 hours. After that, I put it on 100 degrees C for 30 minutes. Done!

In a little above 2 hours, our ornaments had dried thoroughly, hardened perfectly and the colour was still snow white – great to paint on.

Note: Yours might take upto 3 hours depending on how much water you added to the dough plus the temperature/weather condition outside. So, keep an eye out during the heating process.

Decorating the Ornaments

Next day afternoon, we sat down to paint (we used acrylic paint mostly but also used tempera paint when we didn’t have the desired  shade in acrylic).

decorating salt dough ornaments

I was basically assisting Pari with the paint and other things she needed. But, after a while, she wanted me to paint along with her. She wanted me to embellish her painted ornaments with any details that I could think of.

I contributed happily. To add details, we primarily used the acrylic cone liners (that go by the name Fevicryl 3D liners, over here). And, what a colourful and pretty bunch of ornaments they turned out to be!

painted and decorated salt dough ornaments for Christmas

We threaded wool yarn just a while back.

salt dough ornaments painted with acrylic paint

Here are some pictures with closer look:

pretty salt dough ornaments

The textures that you see in some, we got those by pressing (before baking) some knick knacks like paper clips, wooden stamps etc.

Christmas art craft decoration for kids salt dough ornaments

Will hang these on the tree we made last year using branches (collected during nature walk) placed in a really tall bamboo vase. I wrote about it last year and loved naming it our “Speaking Tree“!

gorgeous salt dough ornaments Christmas tree decoration

Have a super fun Christmas weekend, all you lovely folks! :-) Wishing you Merry Christmas in advance!

PS 1: Feel free to post pictures of your Christmas creations over at my Facebook Page or send to me at rashmiejaaju {at} gmail dot com. I’ll post them on the FB page or over here.
PS 2: And hey, if you ‘LIKE’ my FB page, but don’t ever get notifications of my posts, do this: place your cursor on the LIKE button and click on the “get notifications” option.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Priti December 21, 2012, 7:08 pm

    Hey Rashmie, this is so creative and unusual thing I’ve come across…and Pari must have enjoyed making it a lot. :)

  • Himadri December 21, 2012, 7:48 pm

    good job- mishu

  • vandana December 22, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Heya rashmie,

    These are so yummy looking and definitely worthy of wearing them as necklaces.. :).. I also did a DIY keepsake ornament..


  • Ann December 24, 2012, 12:56 am

    These are so beautiful, I love all the variety!

    That is so wonderful your husband has set out on his own! My husband recently did this too! It is fun having his around (I like the help too – since I work part-time)!

    Happy Holidays, Rashmie : )

  • Randi January 12, 2013, 9:49 am

    Ours turned out very lumpy and runny. We halfed all the ingredients to make a test batch didn’t turn out so well. Can you please help?

    • Rashmie January 26, 2013, 10:43 am

      Hi Randi, sorry for the late reply about your salt dough ornaments question.
      Some possible causes for the ornaments turning out lumpy could be that they were still moist from within after baking? When you took them out of the oven, they may have seemed all right on surface but possibly didn’t bake fully in the core.
      Or, the dough itself was wet and needed more flour? When kneading the dough, if it seems wet and is sticking to the your hands, you can add more flour. It basically needs a little trial and experiment before you get the right pliable/stretchy consistency.

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