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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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