We made these salt dough ornaments on the afternoon of the winter solstice. It felt like the perfect day to stay home and do cosy, festive crafts. This is a really sweet and engaging seasonal craft for children. I’d wanted to make salt dough with the kids for ages and this year we were keen to teach them about the joy in giving gifts and so the idea came to me to create our family in salt dough figures. It’s the perfect handmade gift for the children to give out on the big day. We thought carefully about what sort of outfits each person would wear and even included their four legged friends! I love how there are stages to the creative process in this craft, which means that there are different sensory and creative experiences to be enjoyed and also opportunities for breaks in between each, which suits those with short attention spans.
Step One – Mix
To make the dough mix 1 cup salt with 2 cups plain flour and 1 cup luke warm water. To make this as accessible as possible for little ones I measured out the ingredients and then let them pour and mix them together themselves.
Step Two – Kneed
I started off the kneeding before leaving them to do the rest. Indie loved the feeling of dough between her fingers and spent quite a bit of time manipulating it to get it to the right consistency. This is the messy bit which means it’s a hit with children.
Step Three – Roll & Cut
I helped gather the dough into a ball and gave Indie the rolling pin first so she could roll it out. She then cut the dough into pieces using Christmas shapes. I made another ball with the remaining dough so Roo could have his turn. Once all the shapes had been cut out and all the dough used up we made holes in the tops of each ornament ready for hanging on the tree.
Step Four – Bake
I prepared some baking sheets with baking paper and placed the ornaments on top. I baked them in the oven at 120 celsius for 1.5 hours and then took them out to cool on a rack.
Step Five – Paint, seal and thread
We painted the ornaments the following day because it was late by the time they had cooled. I helped a lot with the painting because it is fiddly but made sure there was lots of opportunity for them to get involved. They painted on the eyes, smiles, and hair and helped choose the colours and outfits.
Once the paint had dried they sealed them with varnish and I strung each ornament with thread. The finished collection has lots of quirks and charm and the kids can’t wait to give them out and see their family’s faces light up on Christmas Day.