I am German. that means my Holiday traditions are a bit different from my sweet husbands (who is from Texas). I don’t decorate the tree until the 24th. He wants it up day after Thanksgiving. “My” Christmas with gift giving is in the evening of the 24th, his is in the morning of the 25th. I like white tree lights with an elegant, simple, he loves them colourful and preferably blinking! We do love each other very much, so we try and accommodate each other. He totally loves the Christmas on the 24th. I try to put the tree up a bit earlier then the 24th.and we alternate with the lights. (unless I can sneak in my white lights.. sometimes he forgets it’s “his” year tehehehehe)
So, this year we put the tree up on the 18th. I went out to the shed to get our ornaments and decorations. They were all mostly handmade by us and the kids. Notice the WERE? Yup! I live rather rural and have an empty field next door. A mouse family loved our shed so much and made it’s nest in the Christmas box! 😦 I could not save a one of our ornaments, except the tree tip! I need new lights (BOTH white and coloured) and new ornaments! Well, I’m on a budget and it’s also the 18th of December. I am SO NOT going to go out there and buy any. Not only is the traffic insane, but it’s expensive. So I thought for a few minutes and came up with something I did when I was a teenager! Salt dough! WOOT WOOT! Said and done! I had all the ingredients at home and the kids were happy to help!
Needless to say: the new ornaments will be stored in the attic from now on!!!!
I took pictures along the way and thought I share with you how to make last minute ornaments (or gift toppers) in a matter of hours!
You will need:
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup warm water
In a large bowl mix salt and flour.
Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency.
Form a ball with the dough and kneed it for at least 5 minutes. The longer you kneed the dough the smoother it gets!
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, or use it like you would clay and form ornaments (like snowmen etc, but remember the dough will take longer to dry in 3d ornaments!)
Place the ornaments on a cookie sheet and poke a hole in the top with a toothpick, so you can thread ribbon for hanging. If you make 3d ornaments, then you may want to invest in tiny cup-hooks to screw into the top before baking. Let them air dry or bake them at 200F until dry (you can up the temp to 350 but they may turn brown a bit. Not a big deal if you paint them anyway, and if not it might look rather nice. They tend to look like cookies, or bread when they turn brown a bit)
If you don’t have the time to use it all up right away, or want to prepare it in advance for the Grandkids to help then you can store the dough in an airtight container for a few days!
You can paint your Ornaments with acrylic paints and seal with varnish or polyurethane spray. (if you put in essential oils, then you may not want to seal or paint them. BUT they will draw water! So make sure you store unfinished ornaments in an airtight container! )
Bake the ornaments at 200 F until they are dry. The amount of time needed to bake depends on size and thickness; thin flat ornaments may only take 45-60 minutes, thicker ones can take 2-3 hours or more. Increasing the temperature to 350F will dry the ornaments faster, but may make them brown. If you paint them, this will not matter, since the paint will cover the brown. On the other hand they may look very nice and rustic, like cookies or bread if they are kept the natural colour and just lacquered.
These make great “Baby’s first Christmas” presents as well and look cute tied to a gift! You can personalise them by painting the name of the recipient on them!
Have fun making your very own ornaments for your tree!