Conversation, ideas and events for parents in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County

A Christmas tree can have a truly homemade and family effect when the kids have painstakingly created ornaments that can last for years, wrapping up memories of years past in each one. A great way to do this is with Salt Dough Ornaments – one of the easiest ways to hand-make your ornaments. And the beauty is, these ornaments actually look best when they are slightly imperfect – making it the perfect craft to do with your kids to get them in the spirit of the holidays. 

4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
1-1/2 cups hot (hottest tap) water

Dissolve the salt in the hot water, and then add the flour. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, and then roll out until it is about ¼ inch thick.
Cut shapes into the dough, and then place them on a cookie sheet. Embellish them any way you want (hair for Santa, bow ties and buttons for snowmen, etc. And don’t think they just need to be for Christmas – any shape is perfect). Don’t forget to include a hole at the top of the ornament.
Bake them in a 325 degree oven until hard – about 30-40 minutes. It’s very important that they are completely dried out, because any wetness in them will encourage mold to form.
Once cool, paint them. Acrylic paints work great for this process – they’re inexpensive and can be washed out with water if they get on your child’s hands and clothing. Let each color dry before using another color.
Once painted, lay out on wax paper (not newspaper, it will stick) and either spray with a lacquer or paint with a varnish to protect the paint and to give it a shine. Spray/paint only one side, let it dry, then spray/paint the other side (so it won’t stick to the wax paper).
When dry, tie a ribbon through the hole on the top, and it’s ready to hang on your tree!

(photo credit: M Jackson on

Tags: Christmas, ornaments

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One variation to the hole for the ribbon is to instead cut up pieces of a paper clip and dry them in the top. This might give it a cleaner look instead of a hole, if you prefer.


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