Friday, December 3, 2010

Salt Dough Ornaments

I remember vividly making salt dough ornaments in elementary school. I know that in his box of Christmas tree decorations, my father has many of them from my brothers and sisters and myself. In that tradition, I thought that it would be fun to give each of my daycare children a handmade salt dough ornament to remember this year in daycare by.

I got the recipe and idea from
Country Woman Magazine.

Basically, you will need 1/2 cup salt, 3/4 cup warm water, 2 cup flour, paper clips, paint, and polyurethane. The instructions say:

Mix salt and water. Add flour and knead to the consistency of soft piecrust. Add food color if desired. Dough may be kept in the refrigerator and used later.

Form the ornament on aluminum foil or roll dough and cut with cookie cutters. Insert half of a paper clip in the raw dough.

Bake ornaments at 200° until hard (4 to 5 hours), then let them air-dry and cool completely. (I used the cooking directions from another recipe because I was in a hurry, 375° for 1 1/2 hours), which might be why the wet spots swelled.

Paint if desired.

Immerse entire ornament in polyurethane varnish. Set on crumpled foil to drip and dry overnight. Repeat this step two more times.

Those of you who know me, know that I sometimes forget to take pictures of each step. So, pretend there's a cute picture of me kneading dough, rolling it out, and cutting shapes with cookie cutters. Here are my six ornaments:

To make two pieces stick together, wet them lightly with water. This works as a bonding agent. They then "cement" together as they're baking.

Then, instead of acrylic paint, I used white spray enamel for a base coat:

Then I hand painted each one:

You can use a toothpick for the detail work:

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