1st December 2014

Easy Salt Dough Tree Decorations

photo 1Last year, I decided to make salt dough decorations with Stanley’s handprints at Christmas – and I absolutely loved the result, so I thought I’d share the recipe and process with you on the blog today.

The process is simple as this:

1) Add half cup of salt, half cup of flour, and a quarter cup of water to a bowl – and mix with hands until a dough forms.

photo 22) Roll the dough into a large rectangle of 1-2cm thickness.

3) Make imprints of your child’s handprints, leaving at least 2cm between each one. Make sure they push down firmly enough to leave an obvious impression.

4) Cut around the imprints with a knife, leaving a border of 1cm around the edge of the handprint. Make sure the edges are as neat and smooth as possible as what they look like now will be the finished result.

photo 35) Poke a hole in the top so you can hang the decorations (this needs to be in the base of the handprint, as you can see from the photos of my decorations).

6) Bake on a tray at 100’C/200F for three hours.

7) Leave to cool and sit for a day to further harden the decorations – and then paint with watercolours, gouache paints, emulsion paints, poster paints or acrylic paints. I used acrylic when I did it last year – and there was no need to seal, as the finish was glossy.

IMG_37868) Tie a ribbon through the hole and hang. You may like to write the child’s name and date on the back too, so you can remember in years to come.

I made several of these decorations last year and gave them out to family members, keeping one for our tree at home. To be honest, I underestimated how much I would appreciate my own effort in future years – as when I unpacked the decorations last night, this little decoration was my favourite thing that I pulled out and hung on the tree. I immediately grabbed Stanley’s hand to measure it photo 4against last year’s handprint and felt a pang of nostalgia as I realised how much he had grown. It is definitely worth the effort – not just for this year’s tree, but for the future too.

This year, I am going to attempt to make reindeers with the boy’s footprints so I can remember how little their feet were when I pull out the decorations.

For these, I need to poke three holes through the toes and create antlers from pipe cleaners to finish them off. I’ve found packs of 25 pipe cleaners on eBay for just £1.75 with free postage, so those are ordered 857d1faaf74372fb2011257b95e7b583and ready for me to get going!

It’s a really cheap and easy activity – and believe me, you will thank yourself for the effort in years to come.