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

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Beth Gorden
Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.