Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… *sung in best Zooey Dechanel impression*.

I love Christmas. Like LOVE. You know those crazy neighbors of yours who have the singing house that is covered in lights, the car decorated like a reindeer, wearing a Santa hat as a normal hat? Yep, that’s me. November 1st is the day we generally start busting out our Christmas gear and music, giddily turning our home into some sort of Griswold fantasy place. Twinkling lights everywhere, garland, bows, sparkles, yummy smelling candles, and a outside (tastefully) covered in lights. I mean, how do you NOT have a 10 foot blow up Santa Claus on your front lawn?

One of my favorite things  has been building Christmas traditions with Jason and Marley, and this seems to be the magical year for her. She gets it much more, wants to help decorate and is asking a ton of questions about Santa and the Reindeer.

We decided to have a comfy PJ day today, un-brushed hair and all, and with that coziness came Christmas carols blaring and me deciding to start another Christmas tradition with Marley. I have memories of making Christmas ornaments while in daycare, mushing my little hand into circles formed by the soft dough, and carefully painting them for my loved ones, excited to give them something I had made myself and they could put it on display.

So I quickly checked my pantry, to make sure I had all of the very basic ingredients needed to make a salt-dough, and once we were set, we went to work, Marley totally dug the entire process, helping me pour things into my handy Kitchenaid mixer (WHICH I LOVE), doing the dishes, and rolling out the dough. We carefully cut out a few circles to take imprints of her chubby little hand, then made one of Oscar’s paw (he was not so sure about that), and a few other shapes. Once they were all baked and cooled down, we painted them with red glitter paint and set them out to dry. I am planning on adding the date onto the back of each one, tying a ribbon through the holes we added and wrapping a few up as gifts for her grandparents. I loved watching her total concentration to little details, trying to keep her movements controlled and soft, and the imminence pride she showed when we laid the finished ones out to dry. If you get the chance to take some time and make these with your little one, I highly recommend it, the emotional rewards are priceless.

Salt-Dough Recipe (makes approx 12 ornaments)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water


  1. Combine ingredients and knead into a dough for approx 15-20 minutes. (If you have a stand mixer, like the KitchenAid one, throw it all in, switch to a dough hook and leave it on #2 setting for 10 minutes.)
  2. You may have to add a little bit more water to make the dough more pliable, but you do not want it to be sitcky.
  3. Roll dough out, about 1/4 inch thick, with wax paper underneath.
  4. Use a small bowl or freehand to cut circles to fit your child’s hand imprint into them, or trace around the hand. You can also use cookie cutters if you just want to do shapes.
  5. Use a reusable straw or pencil to cut out a small hole where the ribbon to hang them will go through.
  6. Once shapes/imprints are done, place on a cookie sheet that is lined with wax paper.
  7. Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes, depending. I ended up baking mine for about 30 minutes. They will not be completely set when you remove them, but they should be fairly hard. They will harden as they cool.
  8. Once completely cooled, print and decorate as desired. I used Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Glitter Acrylic Paint. You may want to finish them off with a spray varnish, or modge podge to protect them even more.
  9. Once totally dry, string a ribbon through the hole you made for easy ornamental hanging.

Once ours are all dried and ready to go, I am planning on attaching a little gift tag with the following verse on it:

‘This is to remind you

when I have grown so tall,

That once I was quite little

And my hands were very small.’

Now excuse me while I have a little emotional breakdown over the thought of 16 year old Marley hanging these on our tree.


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