Monday, December 2, 2013

Salt dough ornaments for Christmas

We have been chomping at the bit to decorate for Christmas!  Haven't you?  There is only one problem, though.  All of our decorations are at our house four hours away.  We have people living there and we are living here in a tiny house with no room for all of our decorations. :(  Boo....hiss......The only thing we brought was a box with three little tinsel trees in it that I happened to grab during one of our visits to pick up winter clothing and such. 

I wanted my children to be able to decorate the trees but we didn't have any and I really didn't want to buy a whole bunch of ornaments to use for just this year.  So we decided on salt dough ornaments!  This was our first time and it was so much fun!  We had all of the ingredients so it didn't cost us anything to make them.  Like my son always says, Hurray!  My friend always makes salt dough ornaments every year and I used her recipe:

preheat oven to 200 degrees

1 cup flour + a handful for dusting
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

1.  pour both the flour and salt in a bowl.
2.  add the water.
3.  mix on low and then turn the speed up and mix until the dough looks like a rough ball.  it will still be a little sticky.
4.  turn it out on a floured surface and knead it until it becomes a little stretchy like bread dough.  I don't remember how long this took for us but it was less than 10 minutes.  My children loved helping with this.  Many hands make light work!
5.  roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters, fondant cutters or whatever else you have handy (soda caps, plastic knives, cups, etc.)  don't forget to put holes at the top so you can string ribbon through for hanging them.  we used a kebob stick for this.  make the hole a little bit bigger than you think you will need.  this will save you frustration later.  take it from a person who knows. :/
6.  assemble on your cookie sheet.  you don't have to space them too far apart from each other because they don't cook up or spread out. 
7.  cook for 3-4 hours.  really you want to cook them until they're hard.  don't let them brown.  ours cooked 2 hours on one side.  i flipped them and then cooked them for an hour on the second side. 

I doubled it because I really wanted to make sure we had enough to paint.  And we did.  I have a great set of little ornament cookie cutters which were absolutely perfect for this.  I don't remember where I got them but these are similar.  

Roll the dough to an even thickness.  While doing this I was really wishing I had those bands that you put on your rolling pin to help with this but we did the best we could.  
My babies really had fun with this, especially my daughter.  If it involves making a mess, she is in!  We cut all of the ornaments out and put them in the oven.

It felt like forever!!!  We kept checking on them, (i know, i know a watched pot never boils.) At two hours we agreed they looked done on the first side and needed to be flipped.  We were anxious to paint!  They cooked another hour and that was about all we could take.  Painting began while those suckers were still warm, let me tell ya!  We used the non-toxic, acrylic paints that you can get about anywhere.  I poured out about 10 colors apiece for each one of us and we got to town. 

It was a lot of fun showing them how to make polka dots with the tip of the paint brush.  They thought that was a neat idea.  I also showed them how to paint stripes so we have a lot of them with stripes too.  After they were all painted I gave them a coat of varnish to protect them.  Then we strung them with ribbon and hung them on our trees.  I also made a star banner to hang on the mantle.
 These above are the ones I painted. 
These are the ones my 5 year old daughter painted.

And these are the ones my 4 year old painted.  Pretty good, aren't they?
 His tree above. 
Her tree above.

And my banner. 
Hope you like our little Charlie Brown Christmas trees!  I know we had a great time making them.  Try it sometime!  You will have a lot of fun making memories with your children.  Guaranteed!  Have a great Monday!  Thanks for hanging out with me today.                   

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