Salt Dough Ornaments – The Best Recipe!

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gingerbread christmas ornament

Happy December!  It’s officially time to start thinking about getting out all those Christmas decorations if you haven’t already.  These star salt dough ornaments are easy to make and will help fill in your tree if you need a little extra somethin’-somethin’. 

As I mentioned before, this year I’m toning down my Christmas decorations.  I’m going less glitz and glam and embracing more natural decorations, neutral textures and just a lot less stuff in general.  I don’t want all my surfaces dripping with Christmas. 

Don’t get me wrong – I still want that cozy, festive look.  But I’m learning that you can still achieve that look with a lot less.  It makes the things you do decorate with feel more thoughtful.  At least for me.  It’s easier on your home.  Easier on your budget.  Easier on you!  

psst: check out our holiday home tour this year!

christmas tree in a living room

I wanted to give you guys a little glimpse of our tree this year too.  I know many people out there have two or even three trees in their homes this time of year.  We used to do that as well.  I used to put one “fancy” tree upstairs in our living room and one “kiddie decorated” tree in our TV room. 

I would agonize over the placement of each Christmas ball on our fancy tree.  Everything had to be perfect.  Perfectly placed ribbon.  Christmas balls evenly spaced using geometric equations (not really, but it felt like it).  And this year couldn’t be more opposite from that! 

We put up the handmade ornaments, the ornaments we collected from our travels, our baby ornaments etc.  I used a few Christmas balls and that’s it. 

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    And you know what? 

    I love it! 

    I love the feeling of letting go of perfection.  We all had so much fun decorating to the sound of Bing Crosby’s greatest Christmas hits.  This tree feels more real to me.  (And quite literally, it’s not a real tree.)  It’s an unlit 7 foot Silverado Slim from Balsam Hill that I picked up on clearance last year.   The pre-lit trees are super convenient but the lights never last for me.  This way, I can use my own lights. 

    Maybe one year I want color. 

    Maybe the next year I want white lights or cafe lights. 

    It leaves me with the option which I like.  And it doesn’t take me long to put the lights on every year.  

    The Best Recipe for Salt Dough Ornaments

    mix flour and salt for dough ornaments

    Let’s get to making these salt dough ornaments.  Here’s the basic recipe.  This is the BEST (IMO)!  

    • 2 cups flour (plus more for rolling out)
    • 1 cup salt
    • 3/4 to 1 cup of water (more or less).  
    • Jute twine.

    You basically mix the flour and salt and then slowly pour in the water while mixing until you get a nice dough consistency.  Salt dough ornaments are very forgiving.

    Too much water?  Add more flour.  Not doughy enough?  Add more water.  

    After that, you are just rolling them out to about 1/4 inch thick.  Use a dusting of flour to help you roll them out. If you make them too thick, they won’t bake right, too thin and they will crack easier.

    use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of dough ornaments

    Then, I used my star cookie cutters to cut out star shapes!  It’s basically like making Christmas Cut Out cookies – but please don’t eat these!  Or let your pets get into them.  The sodium content is crazy high.  

    Don’t forget to poke a hole in them before baking for the string.  I just used a toothpick.

    use a toothpick to poke a hole in your ornaments for hanging

    I bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.  They will also continue to dry just left out in the open.  It can take several days for them to fully harden this way.  

    Once they are cooled,  you can tie on a piece of jute twine to each one.  Voila!  I love the handmade look to these with the added texture from the jute twine. 

    You can also spray them with clear acrylic spray to set them.  (*optional)

    If you want more of a decorated look to them, see below for more ideas with your salt dough ornaments.

    salt dough ornaments with jute twine

    These star salt dough ornaments should last years for you.  The ones I made last year are still going strong.   I store them like all my other ornaments – wrapped in tissue paper and put into my ornament box.  

    More Ideas for Salt Dough Ornaments

    I tried three different ways with them – one which is more personal (family style), one marbled batch with food coloring (love how these turned out – see below), and one hand-lettered batch that we decorated with watercolors, stamps and markers. 

    Stamped Version

    stamped salt dough ornaments with lettered stamps

    Did you know you can stamp ornaments? You can! I used my Christmas acrylic stamps to stamp festive phrases on them and then painted them with greenish watercolors.  I bought the stamps from a local craft store around me but these stamps are something similar I found on Amazon.  

    You don’t necessarily need the acrylic blocks that go with them to do these ornaments but you will need them eventually if you use the stamps for other projects.  I love acrylic stamps because they don’t take up a lot of space and you can see where you are actually stamping because they are clear!  Genius.  

    close up of stamps on christmas ornaments

    Marbled Ornaments

    This method will give you a marbled look to your ornaments which I absolutely love.  A little bit of food coloring goes a long way and carefully work it into the dough before cutting out shapes and baking.  I think they are so pretty.  See the subtle marbling??

    christmas salt dough ornaments, marbled and painted

    For this method, follow the recipe above. Before you roll them out, add a few drops of  food coloring. Tip – you might want to section off your dough to keep colors separate and try different color combinations.  

    Knead the food coloring in there just a bit, and then roll out as you normally would. You should see a marbled effect. If you mix too much or add too much food coloring, your ornaments won’t have that marbled look.

    Painted Salt Dough / Handprints

    Use watercolors to decorate your christmas ornaments

    My sister made me a salt dough ornament with my daughter Hannah’s handprint on it years ago. I wanted to make one with my son Tyler.  I just rolled out a circular shape and stamped his hand on there.  I used watercolors and a metallic marker to outline it after it was baked and cooled.

    I also wanted to make something for our Wheaten Terrier, Sasha. I used a dog cookie cutter for her and finished it off with a bow collar and some marker. I just used a toothpick to engrave her name.

    Handprint salt dough ornaments

    Making salt dough ornaments is a fun project to do with the kids and an inexpensive way to add a personalized touch to your tree.  After all, Christmas is about spending more time with the ones we love.

    Plus, there is something very nostalgic about pulling these ornaments out every year.  It brings up happy memories that bring a smile to your face.

    Don’t forget to try these Holiday crafts next …

    Xo Karen

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