Holidays are all about traditions for me. I dream of a household full of family, true belly laughing, games of all kinds, reminiscing cherished memories and creating new memories, baking with favorite recipes and trying new ones, holiday crafting for all ages, and just about anything that fills our heart and souls.
This pure white, better-than-salt-dough dough (or clay) is perfect for all ages to join in. With just a few ingredients, and a few tools you can make stunning custom ornaments, keepsake ornaments, kid designed ornaments, with easy clean up.
A son of my good friend is like a little kindred spirit, and we have hit it off since he was almost 3. He is my little love-a-bug, all boy and lights up when he sees me like no one else. Just fills my soul with joy. I made is Erupting Dinosaur Cake for his 3rd birthday and he still talks about it!
I wanted to come up with a Christmas craft to do with my friend and her family. There are so many options, and I wanted something younger kids would enjoy. Then I thought of play dough, which led me to salt dough, but I always have an issue with how homemade the salt dough looks.
I was a bit nervous making this dough for the first time being that you need to cook it on the stove, knead it when it is cool, and I had no clue how young kids were gonna handle the prep time before they had a chance to get hands on. I was pleased to see they were happily watching a holiday cartoon, and my friend and I got to catch up while making this dough.
While stirring the ingredients on the stove I seriously wondered if it would come together as a whole dough because it seemed to thicken unevenly no matter how much I stirred to incorporated the water. Almost instantly it came together in a dough ball in the pan. I then was apprehensive on how long it would take to cool the dough down enough for the kids to handle and not dry out. It was my first go at this recipe.
Once again I was pleasantly surprised and quite relieved that after kneading it lightly on the counter, it cooled rather quickly. It was very hot at first, so I just used a spoon to knead it. If I had my dough scraper I would have used that.
And then it was time to begin the fun! We had various Christmas cookie cutter shapes. We had straws to cut out a hole for the ribbon to hand the finished ornaments. My friend brought out the play dough rolling pins for the kids, which was perfect. It rolled out really well. The dough could dry and get crystally, but I found if you kneaded it all the moisture dispersed and restored the dough. Very straight forward.
I had a background stamp I used to get a Christmas texture on the cut out shapes that turned out better than I imagined. The kids had a blast, until they were done which left us girls to finish and plenty of girl talk time. As we finished the cut outs, and used the straw to cut a hole at the top, we placed them on a cookie sheet to dry. We estimated about 24 hours to dry, but the thicker ones definitely needed to be turned over and dry another 24 at least.
The next day I was so pleased with how this dough worked, that I made another batch and my own set of custom ornaments.
I am OBSESSED! I was impatient and tried to dry these in the oven at 300 degrees F, but it did crack and turn the pure white ornaments somewhat yellowish which did not happen to the air dried ones at my friend’s house the day before. Rather than scrap them, I painted a layer of white craft paint and sprinkled ultra fine white glitter. I added a narrow red ribbon. They turned out stunning. The pictures do NOT do these justice.
I literally want to batch of bells or stocking cut outs pained red with red glitter, tree shapes that are painted emerald green and emerald glitter, maybe circles or hexagons that are lime green and lime glitter. I am sold on the colors as I always decorate Christmas in vibrant reds, whites, and multiple shades of greens in different finishes, textures, and shapes. This dough just opened a portal to a slew of custom ornaments!
Pure White Air Dry Ornaments
This is surprisingly simple dough, and must be cooked on the stove top in a saucepan for the dough to come together, and then cooled and kneaded before cutting out the shapes. Simple cookie cutter, straw, rolling pin, and cookie sheets to dry are the tools you need. These are also flexible enough to decorate with ink, permanent markers, paint, modge podge, and ultra find glitter. The most important thing is to have fun making your custom ornaments!
2 c. baking soda
1 c. corn starch
1 3/4 c. water
Add all the ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir on medium heat until all the water is incorporated, and the dough comes together as a ball of dough. It will seem like it is getting thick in some areas and still watery in the rest, then all of a sudden it comes together.
Knead the dough on the counter with a spoon or dough scrapper until cool enough to handle. It will be ready to roll out when it is not hot, just warm enough for bother kids and adults to handle.
If you want a back ground texture, once you roll out the dough press a large back ground stamp, repeat a stamp design, or use a background embossing design to press into the dough. Then position your cut out shapes.
Use a straw to cut out a hole for the ribbon to go through, and place on a cookie sheet to dry for at least 24 hours. You may need to turn them over and let the backside dry for another 24 hours or more. Once the front is dry you can paint, draw, modge podge and glitter to your hears content.
Some keepsake ides: Use a Christmas tree cookie cutter, have a child press their fingers in a swag design criss-crossing down the tree like a garland. These little finger prints are “light bulbs” and you later can use ink and have the child press different colors in the impressions, and then use a black permanent marker to connect the garland of the light bulbs.
Hand or foot prints work well too for great keepsake ornaments. Label names and dates as desired.