Salt-dough ornaments are a classic holiday craft — easy, but not quick. If you’re looking to make family memories, unwind from a busy day or decorate on the cheap this holiday season, here’s your salt-dough ornament how-to:
Roll It Out. Roll out your dough around ⅛-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. You can make it thicker, of course, but it will just take longer to bake. Salt dough can also be used like modeling clay to create three dimensional shapes — so go ahead and recreate your favorite “Star Wars” characters, if you’re so inclined.
Cut and Design. Cut out shapes in the dough with cookie cutters and transfer the shapes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can add texture to your ornament by making slight indentations in the dough with a knife, toothpick, pencil eraser, handprints or anything else — just be careful to not press down completely through the dough. These indentations also reduce the tendency of the dough to puff up, so if you don’t add texture in another way, use a toothpick to poke several holes in your ornament. Before placing in the oven, use a plastic straw to add a hole at the top of the ornament.
Bake it Low and Slow. Higher temperatures make it more likely for your ornaments to puff up, so bake at 170 degrees until the ornaments are completely dried. Flip the ornaments halfway through so they dry evenly; ⅛-inch thick ornaments can take eight hours or more to dry. If your ornaments are of varying thickness, they will dry at varying speeds.
Make Them Pretty. Once your ornaments are done, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. Then pull out your acrylic paint and get busy: create solid colors, patterns or designs with a paint brush. If you want a glossy or glittered finish, paint a glossy or glittered finish overcoat once the paint has dried.
Show Them Off. Thread whatever ribbons or string you’ve got through the hole you punched and tie a loop. Then hang up your festive creations.