Make your own Salt Dough Ornaments

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Make your own Salt Dough Ornaments

This amazing Salt Dough Ornament Recipe is perfect for making Kids Christmas Ornaments (a classic Christmas Craft for Kids) or for Mom’s making gifts or treasured keepsakes. Either way, this is THE recipe to use!
How to make Salt Dough Ornaments - a classic christmas craft for kids, a great personalized gift, and a wonderful keepsake for mom to make and save big money!
I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I see the price tag on some of the cute personalized ornaments out there. They are cute and I love getting ornaments that feature an interest of my child to represent that year with their name on it…. but $13+ for each one when you have several children gets VERY expensive! 

Plus making ornaments is a classic Christmas craft for kids. They love to create and then see their creations hanging on the tree!

Salt Dough Ornaments are a great gift kids can make themselves and give to grandparents, family, and friends.

Salt Dough Recipe to make Christmas Ornaments

So I learned to make my own. Now I want you to know I am the LEAST crafty person on the planet. I am a good baker, birthday planner, and have lots of creative ideas – but actually making something crafty is not my thing. So if I can do this – YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
Just mix 3 ingredients together in any bowl

Simple mix these 3 ingredients in any bowl:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
now add food coloring

Now you can add food coloring to small sections of ornament dough depending on what color ornaments you are planning on making.  I used Wilton food gel coloring as it gives really rich colors without adding a lot of liquid to the dough that you will have to compensate for by adding flour.

balls of colored ornament dough

Note: You can just paint the ornaments instead, but I like to color the actual dough (that way you don’t miss crevices painting it). Plus it makes it more kid friendly as painting just little parts is difficult for even elementary age kids.

roll out dough & shape

Next you will need to shape your ornaments. Cookie cutters are a great starting point for most ornaments. Then you can add details to make them more interesting after that. 

Christmas Craft for Kids - making Ornaments 
This is simple enough for kids to make and versatile enough for adults to make beautiful ornaments too.

My daughter Minnie, who was just 3 when we did this activity, just cut out shapes with cookie cutters.  Goofy, who was 6, made the bear (above) by using a cookie cutter to shape the main ornament and adding different pieces of dough to personalize his creation.

how to make your own keepsake personalized ornaments

Above you can see some ornaments I made. The dough is so versatile!

I made the kids with Santa hats in front of the tree which I will later add facial features and give to my sister-in-law to represent their family. A lovely personalized Christmas gift from the heart. The gingerbread girl (right) is for my niece.

bake your ornaments on low for hours

Place all finished ornament creations on a baking sheet. Make sure to use a straw to make a hole for the ornament hook (don’t miss this step – you cannot do it once the ornament cooks).
Now cook the ornaments at 225 F for 3-6 hours (depending on the thickness). It is such a low temperature it won’t burn.

Note: My six year old made the slice of Pepperoni Pizza at the bottom because a tree is not complete without pizza, right =)

personalize your ornaments with more paint and sharpies

Personalize the ornaments once they cool. I added faces, names, years, etc. I used Acrylic Paint for the faces.Don’t use the washable Crayola stuff – it doesn't hold up as well.  I used a Permanent Fine Tip Sharpie Pen for the names.

Dip ornaments in lacquer for a glossy top coat

To give it the really polished, shinny finish you’ll see on the “professional” keepsake personalize ornaments you need to add a shinny top coat by dipping them in Lacquer.  You don’t have to, but you really want to. Besides sealing the ornaments so they don’t crack, it gives them a shiny finished look.

see how the lacquer intensifies the color and adds a nice polished touch

All you do is put the ornament on a hook, dip in lacquer and put on wax sheet to dry. To give it a really polished look give it 2-3 coats with 24 hours between each coat to allow it to fully dry. Take a look at the picture to see the difference in ornaments not coated in Lacquer and those that are. The ones on the left have NOT bee coated in Lacquer.  The coating really intensifies the colors too!!

make keepsake handprint ornaments from this dough too!

I used this same recipe to make keepsake handprint ornaments of my kiddos for their 1st Christmas too. My kids give some of their ornaments to grandparents and the rest they get to hang on their tree in the play room that houses their ornaments. (They decorated it themselves & they can “re-decorate” it throughout the season).

I do pull out any especially wonderful creations the kids make as keepsakes that I put on our family tree or in a box to give to them when they are older.

How to make your own keepsake personalized ornaments

So flip through those personalized ornament catalogs if you need some inspiration, but then make them them yourself. Not only will you save lots of money, your kids will love to make ornaments and the ones you made with your own hands will be such precious, treasured keepsakes!

 Christmas Crafts for Kids book

More FUN Christmas Crafts for Kids


  1. These are so cute! I love seeing our homemade ornaments on the tree each year. It brings back good memories!

  2. we just made our first salt dough ornaments this year - i wish I had mixed the dough w/food coloring - painting took forever! I din't have many colors on hand though and once we started the girls would not stop! We had a great time with it! I will be posting ours soon! :)

    I love all the details you were able to add - great ideas for next year!


  3. These turned out beautiful!! I think we will have to do this next year for our personalized ornaments. I hand painted some wood creations this year.. My husband is the oldest of 7 so we draw names for his family. Since we do this I like to make something a little personal for everyone else but I certainly can't spend more than a few dollars on each! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

  4. Love these, pinning for future reference. I hope you will link them up at the Christmas Fun Linky I am hosting :-)

  5. I'm putting these on our list to do next week. I'll link them back to you. Thanks for sharing. I've to see nice looking crafts I can do with my girls. I was impressed how nice yours turned out. Came from TGIF.


  6. These are so adorable and what a great craft to make with kids. It's a great tradition to start. Thank you for sharing.

    Karina @

  7. Thanks for sharing! I want to make handprint ornaments in the next week or do!

  8. Gotta do this! Thank you for sharing.
    Discovering Montessori

  9. I like how you did these, we made ours much simpler but next time we will try this!!

  10. gracias por compartirlas con nosotros, están preciosas!! a mi hija le encantará trabajar con la harina y hacer plastilina!!!!!!!!!!

  11. WOW! Yours turned out soooo well! We tried them for the first time this year and had a ton of fun. How did you keep yours from puffing up when they baked? Thanks for linking up!

  12. Love it, and you're right it does cost a bundle!!!! I can't wait to make some! I am your newest follower please come by and check out my blog, ty!


  13. Thanks for the great idea, and for stopping by Science Fiction Mommy a few weeks ago. I haven't decided what crafts we're doing this year yet, and I may wait another year before doing this one with my sons, but I've copied it all down so I can remember it.

  14. Thank you. This is a great tutorial. I couldn't believe how awesome your ornaments looked when I saw them.

  15. I love your tip on dipping them right into the lacquer. I have sprayed mine in the past and not had great coverage and the whole house smelled. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness.

  16. These are adorable, Beth! They're perfect for gifts - and I love that you let your kids redecorate their playroom tree throughout the season with some of them! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. (If you could add the Montessori Monday button to your list or link back, that would be awesome!) I shared your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and pinned it to my Kids' Christmas Activities Pinterest board at