Hey all, happy weekend, and happy December! Can you believe tis the season already? Well, we can, which is why over here at cookquiltmakeandbake we have been getting our Christmas craft-on and are very excited to bring you the first of our 12-Days-of-Handmade-Christmas! posts.
Phil and I don’t really have many Christmas decorations (aside from a few beautiful ones we have been given as gifts and lots of lights). Normally we spend the vast majority of Christmas with family, so havn’t embraced decorating our own home with so much gusto, but this year we decided it was high time to remedy the situation. So, when the Christmas decorations appeared in stores in November, we decided to have a look at what we could find.
Well, if I’m totally honest we were a bit disappointed! Yes, there were lots of very sparkly gold and white (and even blue) giant baubles, which just arn’t our thing (although, we totally don’t judge if they are your thing! hey- whatever floats your Christmas boat right?). Also, when we did find the ornaments and decorations which were more our taste – sort of homey and less bling – they were both expensive and a bit – well – rubbish. After about my 50th chorus of “Phil, look that costs £8 and I could make that in 20 mins”, it was decided. Rather than fork out lots and lots on decorations we were only half happy with, we would make ours this year. Which is where ’12-Days-of-Handmade-Christmas’ was born from.
Most of the crafts we have picked are quick (easy to make in a evening or a weekend afternoon), super cheap (short of ribbon and some extra PVA more or less everything is from our home craft supplies) and hopefully cute. Plus, we are having so much fun making them together, and they feel more personal. So, we hope you enjoy having a peek over the coming few weeks. Feel free to craft along and share your creations! We love to hear from you.
Anyway, enough chatter – to business.
All you’ll need for these ornaments is a batch of salt dough (instructions below), a rolling pin, any shaped cutters you want, bits and pieces to decorate with, and some ribbon to tie them to the tree. They are the perfect ornament to make with kids, and I was surprised how pliable and friendly to work with the salt-dough was.
Our Salt – Dough Recipe
(There are lots of versions of salt-dough out there – this is just our take on it, but use whatever normally works for you)
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1) Mix together the salt and flour, gradually adding in the warm water and vegetable oil until your dough pulls together into a ball, leaving the sides of the bowl clean.
2) Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and slightly stretchy.
3) Cover in cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
4) Go ahead and work with your salt dough – it should be a similar consistency to play-dough but holds together better so is easier to work with. We think its easiest to work with on baking parchment so that it doesn’t leave any residue on the counter top, and you don’t have to flour your surface.
5) Salt-dough keeps in the fridge and is good to work with for about a week if you keep it in an airtight container or in plastic wrap.
N.b. Don’t forget, Salt-Dough isn’t an edible dough – decorations only!
Making Salt-Dough Ornaments
Once you have made your dough you are ready to go.
1) Roll your dough out to around an 1/8th inch thick with a rolling pin. You can go as thick as you’d like, but with our dough, any thinner than an 1/8th inch and the dough became slightly too fragile to work with.
2) Cut out any shape of your choice using a cookie cutter – although you could go free hand with a sharp knife if you felt so inclined. We chose a star but anything would work. Also, if you didn’t have a cookie cutter the edge of a glass would work to make circles.
3) If you want to decorate with patterns now is the time to do it, while the dough is still soft. We used the patterned ends of some icing nozzles, a skewer to make little holes, a pin to make little speckles, anything we could find in the kitchen really. It was just a case of trial and error, pressing something into the dough and seeing what it looked like when we had finished.
4) Poke a hole with a skewer for the ribbon to go through.
5) Leave the dough to dry. This is the part where you have to be patient. The dough usually takes around 48 hours to dry – less if it is thinner, more if it is in big thick pieces.
If you are in a hurry you can also dry the dough in a cool oven which will take about 4 or 5 hours. The negative to this is that when salt-dough is placed in an oven it can go a little puffy, so you might loose some of the detail of your patterns. Also, the oven needs to be verrryyy cool or the salt-dough will crack.
6) Decorate the dried ornaments. Once they are good and hard now is the time to paint your ornaments or glue on extra decoration if you fancy.
7) Thread a thin ribbon through the hole you made before, tie at the top and hang on your tree. Stand back and admire your pretty work! See, it’s that easy.