Salt Dough Ornaments

I can't believe how fast the first few months of school have gone by, my daughter is now on winter break. We have two weeks of mom and daughter days ahead of us and I am really looking forward to the extra time I get to spend with her.

Last week we made salt dough ornaments for the teachers and administration at school. We mixed up the dough, and I baked it in the oven for several hours (and then several more... these take a lot time to bake). Once hardened we painted them with acrylic paints, let them dry, wrote a little message on the back side of the ornament with a sharpie pen, tied on red and white bakers twine, and put them into clear gift baggies. No Christmas gift would be complete without a little chocolate, so we handed out Ghiradelli and Lindt chocolate bars along with the ornaments. I loved some of the surpised smiles on faces, as we handed a gift to the crossing guard, principal, office admins, and the janitor. Just a little something to thank them for all they do for the school and families.

Salt dough ornaments are very simple to make. Even for little hands. The ornaments below were a few that kindergarteners in my daughters class made. I'm the art docent in her class, and I get to bring in all kinds of fun art projects for the kids. We always have fun! I had the teacher choose the best behaved table that day to help me mix up a batch of dough, they each took turns pouring in the ingredients, and then stirring, and stirring, and mixing some more. When the dough was too tough to stir, you should have seen their faces light up when I told them it was ok to mix it with their hands. I do feel sorry for the janitor though, because there was a bit of dough ground in the carpet that day.

After the dough was mixed, I gave each of the kids a ball of dough and a little pile of flour at their desk. Most of them spend 15 minutes just playing with the dough, the last 5 minutes before they had to run off to recess, they picked their cookie cutter shape and made an ornament or two with their dough. I gave each a small sheet of parchment paper with their names on them. I took 4 trays of ornaments home to bake over the next few days. Then on Friday I brought the ornaments back to class and the kids painted them with acrylic paints.

Here's a few of the hand pressed ornaments made by the kinders. I'm not sure that these will be the most treasured art piece for their parents, but the kids sure enjoyed the process!

Painting teacher gifts with my little princess.
I love how my daughter tries to copy my patterns.

All wrapped up, and ready for giving.

This recipe is all over the web, but here it is again. I hope you have fun making ornaments with your little ones. Salt dough can be made into just about anything! Including big/little hands.

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Mix together flour and salt, then add water. Mix until the dough comes together, making sure to mix in all the salt that gets stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Dump out dough onto a floured surface, knead dough until smooth, and roll out to a 1/4" thickness. Make sure you have plenty of flour under the dough before you cut into it or it it will stick to the counter. Cut out dough using a variety of cookie cutters, we used stars, hearts, and my little ones hand. Transfer to a cookie sheet, then using a straw or toothpick (depending on the size of the string you plan to use to hang the ornaments), poke a hole through the dough - it helps to twist the straw to pick up that extra dough from the hole. Then bake at 200 degrees for 4 hours. You can also let them harden on the counter for several days if you prefer.

I hope you enjoy some fun ornament making time with your little ones.


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