Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Joyful Christmas Heart (Tree Ornament)

 Salt dough ornaments are so simple to make - and you can make anything you have a cookie cutter for.   To go with the prayer for the second week of Advent

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son: 
that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming...

we made heart shaped ornaments, and wrote "JOY" on them, to celebrate the joy that is in our hearts with the arrival of the Saviour.

salt dough tree ornament

First, we mixed up the salt dough.  That was simple - and a great experience for Jude.  Pouring, scooping, measuring, and for my mess-adverse yet brave little boy - a sensory experience in dry flour, gritty salt, and then slimy and gooey dough.

Salt dough recipe:

1 cup Kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups water

 Add the salt and flour to a mixing bowl.

Mix the dry items gently with your fingers.  Add about 1/2 cup of warm water, and mix until a soft dough forms.  If not all the flour mixes in, add water about a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.

Turn out onto parchment paper and knead until smooth.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick. I like to roll it between to pieces of parchment - it cuts down on the flying flour.

Be careful not to leave it too thick (because then it will take longer to dry) or too thin (it will make the ornaments extra fragile).

Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into the shape you want.  We used hearts, but you can make any shape ornament!

Using a drinking straw, punch a hole in the top center of the heart.  This is where you'll thread your hanger once the dough has dried.

You can either allow them to air dry for 24-48 hours or bake in a low oven (200°F) for about 12 hours.  If it's particularly humid, then air-drying may take a little longer.

Once the cutouts are dry, paint them!

You can use either acrylic paint, or (washable) poster paint.  Acrylic paint will give you a darker and shinier ornament, while poster paint will give more of a softer, more "watercolor" effect.  .

 I painted the acrylic heart sample, but most of ours were done in washable poster paint.  Washable being the key - you can see from the pictures how messy my little painters are!

Once the ornaments are dry, use a Sharpie to write "JOY" across the front.  (You can also write the child's name and the year on the back.)

If desired, seal with spray shellac.

To make a hanger, guide a ribbon or a pipe cleaner through the center hole. Tie or twist to secure.

Once the top is secured, hang it on your tree.

Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy.  Lk 2:10

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  1. These look so pretty and would make wonderful gifts. I am curious about why you need to use Kosher salt and what kind is needed. Can these be made with regular table salt?

    Thanks for sharing with Throwback Thursday Blog-Style and being a faithful participant. I just wanted to let you know that Throwback Thursday will be taking a break for Christmas, but we will be back the next week in the new year!

    Wishing you are your family a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful new year!

  2. I think Kosher salt works better because it dissolves more easily into the dough - it's a "flake" shape and has more surface area to absorb water. You can use regular salt, but I find it makes a bumpier surface - possibly because it usually has iodine and anti-caking agents added rather than being "just" salt. If you do use table salt, start by adding only 1/2 c. water and go from there - kosher salt generally absorbs more water than table salt.


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