Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ornaments to make for gifts and/or your tree

This is some you need to start making now.  Your kids might like to join in making these ornaments.  I always like to pick up ornaments that were handmade at the Christmas craft show in our area when I was able to go to them.  One year I got some great Texas Santa which I sent out as gifts.  Near the end there are two recipes will make your room smell wonderful!!  The last one is a gluten free ornament.

Ornament Dough

Materials:  4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Combine the flour, salt and water; mix well and knead for 10 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface.
Cut into desired shapes and make holes for hanging. Bake for 30 minutes; cool.
Decorate with poster paints or tube paints. Allow to dry and spray with clear polyurethane on both sides to preserve. Use ribbon or yarn pieces to hang.

Oven Flour Clay Recipe (salt Dough)

Materials:  2 Cups Flour, 1 Cup Salt, 2 Tbsp.  Vegetable Oil, and 3/4 - 1 Cup Water

Mix together flour and salt. Add the oil and then slowly add the water and stir until you get a nice clay consistency. Once completely mixed, make into the desired shapes. Bake in a 250 degree oven for approximately 1 hour. This will vary depending on how thick you creations are. One hint, do not make shapes too thick or they will crack with baking.
The star shown here was made using this recipe. Before it was put in the oven, I made a hole for the ribbon using the end of a straw. Once the star was out of the oven and cooled, I painted it with yellow paint and then glue. The glitter was then sprinkled on generously! Once the ribbon was in place this made a fun necklace!
From Ian: Here is a similar recipe using 4 Cups of Flour, 1 cup of Salt, and 1 1/2 Cups of Water. Your creations can be baked at 300 degrees for about an hour. For a golden appearance, paint your creations with egg yolk before you put it in the oven.
You can use anything you want to decorate your ornament - like glitter, paint, and beads. They can be painted or simply use felt tip markers. When finished, spray completely front and back with clear varnish or polyurethane spray.
2nd option:  Painting
Set up your painting and glitter area outside. Even if it’s freezing, it’ll be worth it.
Use acrylic paints. Don’t mess around with tempera. Acrylic is archival and the ornaments will look beautiful when you take them out year-after-year. FYI: Acrylic paint will not wash out of clothing.
Add some shine. Use glitter or metallic paint. Make it sparkle. It’s the holidays, after all!
Limit the palette. You can limit ours palette to red, white, and green for the kids. If you make Chanukah ornaments, you could use blue, white, and silver. With young children, fewer paint choices make things simpler.
Gather your materials ahead of time.
Use a paper plate for a palette and cover the workspace in paper. When you’re done, all you should have to clean are the brushes and hands.

Non-Edible Cinnamon Dough

Materials:  3/4 cup applesauce and 4 ounces ground cinnamon

Mix the applesauce and cinnamon to form stiff dough. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and make a hole for ribbon. Carefully place cookies on a rack to dry. Let air dry for several days, turning occasionally.

Pumpkin Spice Salt Dough for Ornaments

Materials: 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water, and 2 tbsp.  Pumpkin Pie Spice

Stir all really well.  Knead this like bread dough.  You want it to be dry, but not cracking.  If it is sticking to your hands at all, add more flour.  If it is crumbling all over the place, add more water.  If you want to roll them out you will need to lightly flour your work space between rolling out each ball of dough.  Baked them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven for an hour, then flipped and cooked an additional hour.  Your ornaments should be really hard with no give.  Child may make thicker ornaments; so, you may need to bake for longer than 2 hours.  If you have thinner ornaments, they may be done slightly sooner.

Gluten free salt dough ornaments

Materials:  1 ¼ cups of water, 1 cup of salt, 2 tbsp. oil and 1 cup cornstarch

Bring 1 cup to a boil and add 1 cup salt.  Stir and dissolve for about a minute (not all of the salt dissolves.), Pour salt and water over 1 cup of cornstarch and mix together add 1/4 cup of cold water add 2 tbsp. oil.
Mix and kneed the clay like dough. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add more corn starch till it has a play dough consistency. Roll the dough until it was about 1/4″ thick. 
Cut some circles (large and small,) stars and a few trees (with fingerprints in them to be decorated later.) Use a straw to make holes in each one for stringing.
Baked the ornaments on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 200 degrees F. then increased the temperature to 220 degrees. a half hour later, put it on 245 F. all in all, these took about 3 hours to bake, and some of the thicker ones are still a bit soft in the centers. 
Note:  They’re rolled out pretty thin, then start out by baking at 245 degrees F.
Use palette of acrylics paint for this project or acrylic metallic paints and some stamps.

Homemade Cornstarch Ornaments

Materials:  1.5 Cups Water, 2 Cups Baking Soda, 1 Cup Cornstarch, Parchment Paper

In a large pot combine all ingredients. Stir over Medium to Medium Low heat. I initially kept my stove on Medium Low and after 20 minutes the consistency had not changed. So I cranked up the heat to about a 4.5 on my stove and started to see a change in consistency. You do want to constantly stir, play with the right heat setting, and it shouldn’t take yours as long as it took mine. I would say, maybe over 10 minutes stirring.
When the mixture starts to look like the consistency of mashed potatoes, remove from heat & let cool down.
Once the dough is cool enough to touch, remove from the pot and place onto your counter. It helps to spread a bit of cornstarch on your counter to prevent sticking. This is the best feeling dough, and really doesn’t “stick” on anything. It wipes away very easily.
Form the dough into a nice ball, cover with a damp cloth, and allow the dough to cool to about room temperature.
Place the dough ball  onto your parchment paper (it is not like pizza dough and will not move easily onto your cookie sheet). You will be able to easily move the paper with the dough on it to your cookie sheet once the ornament shapes are cut out. I promise.
Begin to roll out your dough. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick. My dough was thicker in some places, and I should have taken the time to make sure it was 1/4 in all the way through. This can cause the ornaments to not want to dry all the way.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees (this will take no time). While your oven is pre-heating, begin to use your cookie cutters (or hands) to make the ornament shapes. Cookie cutters have a “lip” on them. Make sure you are not pushing the wrong side into the dough.
After you have stamped the ornaments, remove the surrounding dough. I placed my leftover dough in a zip lock bag wrapped in a damp paper towel. You can store it in the door of my fridge for later use.
Poke holes in the ornament shapes where you want the holes to go. This is where your string will be. You can use a bamboo skewer on hand, or a straw or any other item.
The original directions say to bake at 175 degrees for one hour, flipping halfway through. The oven is cool enough that you can actually flip the ornaments by hand. They will still feel very soft to the touch, so you can tell when they are about ready to come out.
If they aren’t 100% dry, they will continue to dry when out of the oven.
Once they are ready, paint them, Hang them on the tree with a piece of ribbon, twine, or whatever you have lying around the house. Make sure you write the date with sharpie.

NOTE FOR STORAGE:   You really want to store these in a cool dry place. AVOID putting them in a Ziploc bag. The Ziploc bag or container will cause condensation, drawing the moisture out of the ornaments. You don’t want them to crumble or become soggy. I would store them in an inconspicuous place, covered by a towel. I would not keep them in the attic either, so try to find a good place where they can hang out all year!

Share your ideas on this or anything here on the blog either here or e-mail me at  I look forward to hearing from you!

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