DIY Homemade Salt Dough Clay Ornaments

 
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I have another easy ornament for you - homemade clay ornaments! We all probably did this in kindergarten, but now we have a little more patience and skill to make them more sophisticated looking! I had seen some really cute ones online, and I figured these would be a great alternative to gift tags, or just an extra something, for any wrapped presents.

There's a lot of room for creativity and personalization with this project, so definitely think outside the box once you start decorating them!

 

MAKING THE ORNAMENTS

There are a few recipes out there for homemade clay. I used a salt dough recipe, but I've heard that baking soda dough can come out whiter.  I included recipes for both, so you can decide which one to use, based on preferences or ingredients you have on hand! You can also skip the whole dough and baking part and use actual polymer clay, like Sculpey, which will probably have nicer color and texture. But, you'll have to order it first!

Dough Ingredients:

SALT DOUGH
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup flour

BAKING SODA DOUGH
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup cold water (add 1/2 cup, and then continue adding a tad more to make dough pliable)

I got about fifteen 2.5" diameter circular ornaments from the salt dough recipe, and you'll probably yield the same for the baking soda dough. If you want to make more or less, just make sure the ratios of the ingredients stay constant.

Other things you will need:
- Bowl and spoon
- Baking sheet
- Oven (or toaster oven!)
- Rolling pin (or a cylindrical object if you don't have one - I used a shot glass! :D)
- Parchment paper
- Straw
- (Optional) Cookie cutters
- (Optional) Spatula
- (Optional) Stamps or leaves, and/or stamping ink

Instructions:

Mixing ingredients
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl, stir with your spoon.
  2. Shape your ornaments.
    1. Using cookie cutters
      1. Consider adding a little more flour so that your dough isn't too sticky.
      2. On your parchment paper, roll out your dough to 1/4" thickness. (As you can see, I used a shot glass and it worked pretty well!
      3. (Optional): If you want to make impressions on your ornaments, you should ideally do this before baking and prior to cutting your shapes. Use stamps or leaves of choice, with or without ink, and press gently into your dough.
      4. Use your cookie cutters to make the shapes. Place your cookie cutters so that it captures any impressions you want on your ornament.
        (A wine glass works pretty well for making circles if you don't have cookie cutters, but the method listed below works way better for even circles!)
      5. Carefully remove the dough around each of your shapes. It's a little tricky if the dough is sticky!
      6. Optional: Flatten your shapes further by laying a piece of parchment paper over them and pressing gently with your spatula.
      7. Transfer the parchment paper with your ornaments to your baking sheet.
    2. If making circles, I recommend the following instructions instead of the above. My circles came out way more even using this method:
      1. Divide your dough into equal pieces, and roll into little balls. 
      2. Line the balls on parchment paper on your baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
      3. Cover the balls with another piece of parchment paper.
      4. Use your spatula to flatten each ball into a circle, until it's about 1/4" thick.
      5. Peel off the parchment paper. 
      6. (Optional): Use stamps or leave to gently make impressions in your dough. Press lightly to avoid misshaping your circles.
  3. Add a hole for your ornaments to hang. Using your straw, punch a hole in the top of each ornament. Twist the straw a few times so that the dough comes out with the straw when you pull it out. To get the dough out of the straw, just blow out!
  4. Bake your ornaments at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-5 hours, or until completely dry and hardened. This time can definitely vary - mine took almost 10 hours! 
 Using Cookie Cutters (or wine glasses!)

Using Cookie Cutters (or wine glasses!)

 Making circular ornaments from balls of dough

Making circular ornaments from balls of dough

Now you're ready to paint!


DECORATING YOUR ORNAMENTS!

There's definitely a lot of freedom to do what you want, so your supplies may differ based on what you want to do! I tried a lot of different things, as you can see below.

Salt Dough Ornaments 3.JPG
Salt Dough Ornaments.JPG

Some supplies that I used and that you may want:
- Acrylic paint
- Spray paint
- Paint brushes
- Paint pens
- Glitter
- Stencils
- Stamps and/or ink
- String (to hang each of the ornaments)
- Ribbon or cord (to wrap around the circumference of the ornament)
- Spray clear gloss enamel (to finish ornaments) - this will make ink bleed, so only use with paint!

Decorating Salt Dough Ornaments

Paint pens are great for details! Regular Sharpies work OK, but they have a more purply/blue color than black paint pens. I also found out the hard way that if you used regular ink pens, the spray clear gloss enamel will make ink bleed! It's not super necessary to begin with, but definitely only spray a clear coating if you only decorated your ornament with paint.

I ended up getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest. I love the simple look of black and white (and maybe some gold), and I also used silver spray paint, which looked AWESOME. Below you'll find images (click through to see the original blogs) of ornaments that inspired me:

I think I should start an annual ornament making party with some Christmas carols, holiday cookies, and of course, festive cocktails. I mean, these ornaments are easy enough to make with a warm, cozy buzz, right?