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Dough Ornaments

Salt Dough and Cornstarch Dough

Christmas Tree Cookie Ornament Recipes

Dough ornaments are especially fun to make as a group arts and crafts project with family or friends.

And these ornaments last! I made the dough Christmas ornaments shown in these two photos thirty years ago and they still are holding up quite well. (Of course, I also have made some that bit the dust long ago!)

The instructions below are for making ornaments using cookie cutters. However, as an option, you can hand mold the dough into ornaments or other decorations.

Various recipes for dough ornaments have been around for years. The two set forth below are the ones I personally have used.

The salt dough ornament recipe calls for flour and salt and requires baking. The second recipe uses cornstarch and does not require baking.

Just a reminder, these handmade ornaments are inedible, so don’t try to eat them!

Recipe #1: Salt Dough Ornaments

This salt dough recipe makes ornaments that look like baked cookies before they are painted. If you prefer to keep the “baked cookie” look, coat the ornaments with a clear thin varnish or clear nail polish instead of painting them.

Materials

4 cups flour

1 cup salt

1-1/2 cups water

Cookie cutters

  • I prefer cookie cutters that impress a design into the dough as opposed to cookie cutters that simply cut out a shape, but use whatever kind of cutter you want to!

Acrylic or enamel craft paint (optional)

Instructions

Combine the flour and salt.

Add the water gradually until the mixture has a consistency like putty. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Be sure the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Roll the dough on a floured surface, to 1/4-inch thickness.

Cut with cookie cutters. (Dip cutters in flour before cutting to prevent them from sticking in the dough.)

Skewer a hole at the top of each ornament (for the hook to go through later to hang the ornament).

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 1/2 hour at 325 degrees (until light brown). (Or instead of baking, you can let the ornaments air dry on a cooling rack for 48 hours.)

After the ornaments have dried, use an emery board, or fine sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.

Paint the ornaments with acrylic or enamel paints. Paint the edges and backs too. This gives them a more finished look. You also may want to sign and date the ornaments on the back. (See craft painting tips)

When the paint is dry, coat the ornaments with a clear protective coating.

Recipe #2: Cornstarch Dough Ornaments

This cornstarch dough recipe makes a smooth, pure white ornament that resembles plaster before you paint it.

If you prefer a white, porcelain-like finish for your ornaments, coat them with a shiny protective coating such as a clear thin varnish or clear nail polish instead of painting them.

Materials

1 cup cornstarch

2 cups baking soda

1-1/4 cups cold water

Cookie cutters

Acrylic or enamel craft paint (optional)

Instructions

Combine the cornstarch and baking soda in a saucepan.

Gradually add the water until the mixture is smooth.

Stirring constantly, heat until the mixture reaches a moist, mashed potato consistency.

Turn the dough onto a plate and cover it with a damp towel.

Knead the dough when it is cool enough to handle.

Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.

Cut with cookie cutters. (Dip cutters in cornstarch and shake before cutting.)

Using a skewer, pierce a hole at the top of each ornament (for the hook to go through later to hang the ornament).

Place the dough ornaments on a cooling rack to air dry. It will take several days at room temperature for the ornaments to dry and harden sufficiently before they will be ready to be painted.

The rest of the instructions are identical to those for the salt dough Christmas ornaments. File any rough edges after the ornaments have dried. Paint the ornaments with acrylic or enamel paints. When the paint is dry, coat the ornaments with a clear protective coating.

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