Thursday, December 17, 2009

Salt Dough Ornaments

We haven't totally forgotten about Christmas around here. Even with an organization-crazed mama anxious to see what lies ahead in the coming weekend and week for our little family, the Christmas spirit is still very much alive. And growing. The last few days, Audrey and I have been working on a little project: Salt Dough Ornaments.

We followed this basic recipe, with minor changes. We didn't use food coloring, opting for painting ours after they dried and then covering them with glitter (as Audrey wished) while the paint was still wet.

This was a three day project for us. We made the dough the first evening. The recipe instructs that you roll out the dough, cut with cookie cutters, and move the shapes to a cookie sheet for baking. This dough is sticky and a bit hard to move. I placed parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and separated the dough into smaller sections. With the help of some flour, I rolled these smaller sections onto the parchment paper, Audrey cut out the shapes and we scraped the excess dough away, leaving the ornaments on the sheet where they lay. Using a straw, Audrey poked holes into the ornaments to create a space to add ribbon later. Then, they went into the oven on 250 degrees for a few hours, followed by a night of the ornaments being left out on the counter to dry.

The following day, Audrey painted the ornaments and added glitter. She was in a white Christmas mood, favoring white paint with a dusting (or downpouring, which ever you prefer) of red or white glitter - every once in a while throwing in a green ornament for good measure. The last five ornaments she decided to leave white, without "sprinkles" saying as she set each one down to dry for the evening, "that is so special."

This morning we shook the excess glitter free, I added ribbons, and Audrey placed the ornaments on the tree (before taking them off to rehang on her newly built Lego castle). I may just have to run out and buy a festive paint pen to write names across some of them to use in lieu of gift tags. Because, she's right, they are so special.

*I think this is an activity we could easily revisit each year, and one easily adapted to fit kids of all ages. Even the smallest kids love to get their hands into dough and pound with cookie cutters, whether their work amounts to an ornament or not. As a child's artistic talents grow, these can be made more complicated, using their favorite art supplies of the moment to decorate them. This recipe also makes quite a bit of dough. We ended up with a baker's dozen of ornaments, and still have a small tub of dough leftover in the fridge for those times this week we feel like getting our hands a bit dirty.

1 comment:

  1. This brings back memories. When I was 2 1/2 my parents did a salt dough ornament party with the church youth they advised. I have very vague memories of sitting among a bunch of people and working very hard on my ornament. I made a yellow 'chicken' with toothpick legs, and painted it yellow. My mother put it on the tree Every Year. It took 25 years for it to disintegrate into dust, and it's my family's favorite ornament with a story.