Salt Dough Ornaments

Salt dough ornaments are the sweetest little homemade gift! You can make them for the whole family or classroom with hardly any effort and there are plenty of fun personalization options. Kids will have a great time making these!

two salt dough ornaments laying on christmas hand towel

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Making Salt Dough Ornaments

A couple years ago, my daughter Madeline received a homemade salt dough ornament from one of her friends at school. I thought that was the cutest idea for kids to gift to one another and something that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

Christmas crafts as gifts for school friends aren’t something I’d really considered before – surely buying stuff was easier? But after she came home with that adorable ornament, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

So, last year, on a snowy afternoon when everyone was tired of playing in the snow, we decided to whip up a batch of these cute Salt Dough Ornaments to hand out to friends. We kept it simple with sweet green Christmas trees, but red and white candy canes or yellow bells would be super cute and festive, too.

Salt Dough Ornaments are actually really easy to make and are the perfect activity for kids to do during the month of December. Especially on days that are too cold or snowy to play outside. Usually those days are abundant here in Colorado.

We decided on two Christmas trees this year — one downstairs in the formal living that is all matchy-matchy and perfect. It sits in front of the windows and looks so pretty with the tree’s white lights and ornaments in shades of blue, silver, and gold glowing through the windows at night. Even though it is a decorator tree, there are a few special-to-me ornaments on it that just happen to fit the color scheme.

Upstairs in the hallway outside of the kids game room is a tree with all of their collector ornaments. That tree contains all of the cute handmade things the kids made in class in years past, and multi-color lights.

All that to say, I wish we had made a couple extra of these salt dough ornaments last year to put on our memory-filled tree. But, there is always time to make more this year. I don’t think this is an activity that kids will ever really grow out of.

Salt Dough Ingredients

This is the best salt dough recipe! If you’ve never learned how to make salt dough, don’t fret — it’s so easy. Here’s what you’ll need to make salt dough ornaments:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Water

In addition to these key ingredients, you’ll also need food coloring, a drinking straw, non-stick cooking spray, parchment paper, and colorful ribbon. That’s it!

three christmas tree Salt Dough Ornaments

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How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments

To make this salt dough ornament recipe, you first need to whisk together the salt and flour. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water and food coloring.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the colored water. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes on top of parchment paper until the dough is smooth and colored throughout. Roll out the salt dough, then cut it out using your cookie cutters of choice.

Place the salt dough ornaments on a baking tray, then cut a hole near the top with a drinking straw. Spray the salt dough with cooking spray, then bake at 250 degrees F for an hour.

How to Personalize Salt Dough Ornaments

You could make salt dough ornaments for your family, the classroom, coworkers – you name it! And your limitations are only set by the cookie cutters you own. If you want to take it one step further, you can even personalize the ornaments for the recipient!

All the different combos you could make, all the Christmas cookie cutters I just happened to have in the pantry… the possibilities are endless.

Here are some of my favorite ways to personalize these salt dough ornaments:

  • Take some mini ABC cookie cutters and stamp the middle with the recipient’s last name initial, monogram, or first name.
  • Stamp the ornament with that year’s date, or a date of special significance.
  • Lightly stamp a design within the cookie cutter using another, smaller cookie cutter.
  • Hang two ornaments together on the same string, for example two shapes that have significance for the person you’re giving them to.

Have a Salt Dough Ornament Making Party

Pair this fun activity with a mug of your favorite hot cocoa and a round or two of Christmas Book Bingo by the fire.

Grown ups will love this Spiked Peppermint Mocha Hot Chocolate  and kiddos will like a mug of Candy Cane Hot Cocoa. If mulled ciders are more your style, try this Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider.

Just make sure your favorite Christmas Tunes are playing in the background!

That sounds like just about the most perfect winter afternoon I could ask for. I hope it does to you too. Looking for more fun Christmas activity ideas for kids to pair with making these salt dough ornaments? Check out my post on Tips to Prepare for a Fun Winter Break with Kids

three christmas tree Salt Dough Ornaments on tea towel

Save this recipe for Salt Dough Ornaments to Pinterest!

How Many Ornaments Does This Make?

It depends on the size of your cookie cutters. I made about 15 small Christmas trees, but you can likely make anywhere from 15 to 30 ornaments with this salt dough recipe.

What Type of Salt Should I Use?

Regular table salt will work! No need to buy anything special.

Tips for Making Salt Dough Ornaments

The hardest part of making these salt dough ornaments is simply making sure that your work surface remains dye-free. I recommend covering your work surface with parchment paper or a plastic table cloth. Something inexpensive that you don’t care if it gets stained or that you can just throw away, the dollar store is great for this.

Wearing gloves and aprons will help make sure that clothes and fingers aren’t dyed red and green when you’re making your salt dough ornaments.

More Homemade Gift Ideas:

If you love to make homemade gifts for friends, neighbors, teachers, or anyone else on your holiday gift list, you might like to try a couple of these ideas, too.

Instead of throwing out broken bits of crayon, learn How to Make Recycled Crayons and try melting down your scraps and reshaping them into something new. For Christmas-themed crayons, look for silicone molds that are Christmas Tree or snowflake shaped.

Featuring lemon, oil, sugar and salt, this All-Natural Moisturizing Kitchen Hand Scrub is a simple DIY gift to prepare – perfect for the holiday season. Teachers will love this pampering item. For something extra special, pair it with a mani/pedi gift card or some fun new nail polish colors.

This Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub is another homemade gift any woman in your life would love. It’s easy to make and can be used all over your body.

Homemade bookmarks make fun crafts for kids and also super cute gifts for them to pass out to friends at school; check out these 8 Cute DIY Bookmark Ideas.

And there are 35 more Homemade gift ideas here!

What are your favorite homemade holiday gifts?

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Salt Dough Ornaments

Salt Dough Ornaments

Yield: 15 - 30 ornaments
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Salt dough ornaments are the sweetest little homemade gift! You can make them for the whole family or classroom with hardly any effort and there are plenty of fun personalization options! Kids will have a great time making these.

Materials

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup table salt
  • 1/3 cup water, plus 1 tablespoon
  • Food coloring*
  • 1 drinking straw
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • Parchment Paper
  • 1 roll colorful ribbon, (1/8 to 1/4-inch wide) or string

Tools

  • Surgical Gloves, or kitchen gloves
  • Rolling Pin

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F.
  2. Place the rack in the center position.
  3. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  4. Line the work area with parchment paper to prevent your counters or table from becoming stained.
  5. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt until well whisked.
  6. In a glass measuring cup, stir in the water and food coloring (see note below) together.
  7. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the colored water.
  8. Stir well.
  9. While wearing the surgical gloves, knead the dough with your hands for approximately 10 minutes (on top of the parchment paper), or until the dough has become smooth and the color is distributed throughout.
  10. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a1/4-inch thickness on the parchment paper.
  11. Use whatever shaped cookie cutters you’d like to cut out the dough.
  12. Transfer the cut shapes onto the prepared baking sheet.
  13. Use the straw to cut a small hole near the top (where you’d like to hang the ornament from).
  14.  Lightly spray the cut shapes with the non stick cooking spray.
  15. This will help seal in the color.
  16. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.
  17. Thread the ribbon or string through the holes and tie to hang.

Notes

  • *Color and amount of food coloring is up to you depending on how dark, bright, or light you would like your ornament to be. For natural colored ornaments, simply eliminate the food coloring.
  • There are many helpful tutorials on pinterest that will give you specific drop and color combinations for specific colors.
  • The gloves keep your hands from becoming stained from the food coloring as you knead the dough.

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Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it by leaving a comment below.

Save this recipe for Salt Dough Ornaments to Pinterest!

I originally shared this fun recipe for Salt Dough Ornaments on Food Fanatic, but I thought you’d like to see it here on Good Life Eats.