DIY Christmas Ornaments: Salt Dough

Click here for an easy to follow how-to video.

Well, as you can see, my week of DIY ornaments took a little break.  It wasn’t my intention, but life has been a little busy.  I have taken on a big project – I’m in the middle of making the costumes for my mom’s Christmas program at her church.  I’ve made 3 spiders, 3 flowers, and I’m in the process of making a duck, a skunk, a bull, a donkey, a camel, and a cow (and there are more I’m not remembering right now). So, I’m going to attempt to stay on top of it all this week. ‘Tis he season for being slightly crazy, right?

So, this will take you back to elementary school.  I’m sure you all made these in the 3rd grade, and your mother hung the ugly blobby things on your tree, and you were so proud.  Well I think this might be an update.  These simple ornaments are made with the classic salt dough recipe, but stamped for a cleaner design.

Salt Dough
1 cup salt
2 cups flour
1cup water

Mix all ingredients in a mixer until a smooth dough forms.  To dry the dough, bake in a 250F oven for at least 3 hours.

I rolled out the dough to 1/4″ thick, stamped my M’s (for McConnel) and birds and then cut out the circle.  It was easier to stamp first so that the image would be centered.  I rolled out the dough on the parchment paper so I wouldn’t have to move the ornaments.  Oh and I just used a regular plastic drinking straw for the hole at the top.  Once they were dry, I threaded twine through the holes.  These look cute on the tree and attached to gifts.  I also used them as napkin rings for Thanksgiving.  I of course made a batch for my kids and they spent hours making all kinds of treasures for the tree as well.

What has you overwhelmed and hectic this season?

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82 thoughts on “DIY Christmas Ornaments: Salt Dough

  1. Jeran

    I just used a regular rubber stamp (got these ones from a dollar bin at Michaels a while back) and a blank ink pad. Nothing special or fancy. Sorry I didn't specify that.

  2. Penny

    The end of school year has been pretty busy for us with parties, award nights, church activities, tantruming almost two year old etc. But your ideas here make me realise I need to slow down and do something fun with the kids now they're on holidays. I think we'll start with some DIY ornaments and some Christmas Oreo pops!
    Make sure you spoil our mutual friend while she's with you. 🙂 I'm sure you will.
    Catch you later,

  3. Dana T.

    Do you think a food processor would work to make the dough? My mixer moved on to better mixing (it died last month)!

  4. Thaydra

    Can you paint them after you bake them, or will it look funny? If so, what kind of paint would you recommend?

    I love stuff like this!

  5. Jeran

    To answer some questions: Yes, I did stamp them before I dried them in the oven. And yes, you can definitely paint salt dough. I would just paint them with acrylic craft paints. Have fun.!

  6. Jeran

    Once they are dried in the oven, there is no going back. Do all the cutting and stamping before putting them in the oven to dry. Sorry that was not clear 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing, these are great! I do have another question though. How do you get the cool design/color?

  8. Anonymous

    These are just darling. Very "country", they give me that warm "back home" kind of feeling. I've seen other salt dough tutorials, but they always say to air dry, thanks for the tip about baking at 250 for 3 hrs. 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    I recall with some of these recipes that the ornaments come out very heavy. I'm hoping for light to mid-weight. How does this recipe compare? 🙂

  10. Charlotte

    How did you get the pattern on the stamp? it's such a cute idea, and I would love to try this :3 <3

  11. Jeran Post author

    @Jessica Beason That sounds like a good idea. I'm not sure if a fingerprint would show up. Let me know if it does. A hand print would be cute, but definitely bigger.

  12. Nicole

    I just made these and love the way they turned out excepted some of them puffed up.. Can you tell me what I may have done wrong??

  13. Anonymous

    I had my first attempt at making salt dough ornamnts a couple of days ago. however they did not turn out a lovely pale colour like yours but a light brown, almost looked like cookies, do you know why this might have happened?

  14. Jeran Post author

    Maybe bleached vs. unbleached flour? Or maybe just the drying time and temp. Everyone's oven is different. Try 200F for about 2 hours and then check them. That's what I can think of. Sorry they didn't work out. Try again, don't give up 🙂

  15. Ash

    @judy How much cinnamon did you add? I remember making these as a girl, and we did use cinnamon for scent and colour – I'm guessing we just used a lot more than you did. (But I can't remember the amounts!)

  16. Crunchy4Life

    I substituted 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of cinnamon & dried in my dehydrator for 3 hours. The house smells wonderful!

  17. Anonymous

    I am planning on making ornaments with my kids this weekend. 🙂 We plan on adding glitter to our dough, and maybe a little peppermint oil.

  18. Kristi

    I followed your recipe using 1 cup salt, 2 cups flour, and 1 cup water, mixing it in my stand mixer, and my dough was extremely runny. Any ideas?

  19. Candis Daugherty

    Just wanted you to know that we successfully made a batch of ornaments today…and had fun doing it! As a homeschool mom, I should be all into this kind of stuff. But I'm a bit of a control freak and I have issues with the mess that these projects inevitably create. I was determined to make some fun Christmas memories this year (and some homemade Christmas gifts), so I'm pleased to report that we made some really cute ornaments AND we had fun (even me!) We will decorate and paint them tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  20. Ruby Shoez

    I can't believe I only now found the video. Lol frig. Well I made them tonight… Not as easy as i had imagined, but that's not to say they were hard to make either. Maybe ill list what I did/should have done differently to help anyone who may need it.
    1) my parchment paper was a nightmare. It did not roll off the dough like in the video. The dough would NOT come off of it.
    2) I found that if I stamped the cookie cutter ( I made snowflake shapes) and left them alone for 15-20 minutes they dried ever so slightly ( got just a little stiff) and then I could peel them off and place them elsewhere.
    3) I rolled out a huge amount of dough, and it was just too wet. The snowflakes would not separate from the dough. I popped them in the oven for 5 minutes to speed up drying time…. Terrible idea. They got "cracky

  21. Ruby Shoez

    Sorry. There's more. The stamping process took some time, I used blue ink and red ink, unfortunately the stamps i used were far too elaborate. Some came out clear and look super cool, most of them look like a hot mess. I'm not going to bake them. I'm going to let them dry for a couple days… I still have no idea how ill get them off the parchment paper. I ran out of time and instead of meticulously peeling them away from the paper I left them as is and am hoping for the best.

  22. Ruby Shoez

    Either way… I'm going to do this again. I'm determined to nail this project because it is so personal, so pretty, so thoughtful and cost effective. And I am so happy to have found your blog. Thanks so much for your time and effort relaying the info. And sorry for writing a novel. Merry Christmas errbody.

  23. Anonymous

    hey this is so freakishly amazingly spectacular that i am making them hah!
    Guess what everyone they came out perfect!!!

  24. Anonymous

    Just made these and after setting temp on oven correctly they burned after 15mins in oven..any ideas why

  25. Anonymous

    This is a great idea. Can you dye the dough a pink or green? for a baby shower.. would love to use this for party gift tags.

    1. Jeran Post author

      That's a great idea. The color may darken a bit as the dough dries, so keep that in mind if you are looking for a pastel tone.

  26. Anonymous

    I wonder if you could put kool aid in the mix to add smell and color? We are going to try some this weekend! Fingers crossed!

  27. Anonymous

    I have made salt dough ornaments many times over the years. I usually add more salt…helps make the dough less sticky and I use a mix of salt and flour on my work surface. I dry in the oven 30 min @ 200…take them out, let them cool, flip over and back in for another 30 minutes. Repeat. I have also let them air dry and flipping them every day til dry. Takes days though. I have quite a few hanging on my tree from back in 1988 when I first made these with my kids. Only losses were due to drops and carelessness. Super easy…this year we are doing pears, squares, elephants and circles. Going to embellish with decoupage shapes of paper….music sheets, colored tissue and of course acrylic craft paints and stains. If you want your paint color to stand out, paint them white first. I always spray seal them with varnish both sides.

  28. Anonymous

    hi Jeran, just wondering if you use a sealant on the finished product. If not, how long do these salt dough ornaments last? Do they crack easily?

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