Give your christmas tree a homemade touch with these colourful ornaments. Salt dough is quick and easy to make and its a cheap alternative to shop-bought clay.
What you need
- 1 cup / 120g flour
- 1/2 cup / 150g salt
- 1/2 cup / 125ml water
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Baking tray
- Paint and brushes
- Clear varnish (optional)
- Ribbon or string
1. Preheat the oven to 120C / 250F.
2. Mix the flour and salt, and gradually add the water until a dough is formed.
3. Knead the dough well to remove air and roll out with a rolling pin.
TIP: Rolling the dough too thinly will make the decorations bend and curl up at the edges during baking.
4. Cut out festive shapes using the cookie cutters and place on the baking tray. Don’t forget to add a hole for the ribbon – a drinking straw works well.
TIP: Once on the baking tray, neaten up any rough edges with a knife for a smoother finish.
5. Bake for 2-3 hours until they look completely dry. This sound a bit vague but the cooking time really depends on the size of decoration and how thick you rolled the dough. Our decorations took 2 hours to cook.
TIP: If they start to puff up in the oven, just pop with a cocktail stick, pat down to remove the air then turn them over. Ours started to puff up after about ten minutes.
6. Once cooled, you can paint them however you like. We use poster paint, but acrylic paint would work just as well – though is harder to clean off clothes, hands and the dining room wall…
TIP: Before the paint dries you could add glitter or other embellishments.
7. If you just want temporary decorations and plan to throw them away in January then you can skip this step. If you want a keepsake which lasts for years, then you will need to add 3-4 layers of varnish, making sure that the entire decoration is coated so no moisture gets in. I know this because last year I lazily only used one coat of varnish and when I unpacked the decorations I was greeted with a soggy mess.
TIP: Apply the varnish thinly – it will turn white if it is too thick – and allow to dry between coats.
8. Add some ribbon or string and – ta-dah – handmade christmas decorations to add some colour to your tree. Now to clean up the mess…
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