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Crafts

Easy Gifts Kids Can Make: Tree Keepsake Ornaments

Nov 22, 2017

November is here, and some families have already begun their holiday planning! You may even be among them. Don't worry, we've caught the fever, too! And fairly soon, children near and far are going to kick off the yuletide season with the age-old tradition of picking out a tree, putting it up and then decorating it with bits and bobs. Since it's almost time to jazz up the ol' tannenbaum, we've cooked up an easy-to-make tree ornament your kids can make and personalize. It's a sweet little gift for friends and family, and the little ones will love putting some together. 

You Will Need:

  • homemade baking soda clay (recipe below)
  • parchment or wax paper
  • rolling pin or flat object (we used a plate)
  • straw
  • tree-shaped cookie cutter
  • small paintbrush
  • paints (pick your favourite colours!)
  • a fine-tip black marker
  • ribbon
  • clear sealant or Mod Podge (optional)

To start, you'll need a great clay recipe. Here's one we've used time and again from Jen Kossowan of Mama.Papa.Bubba.

Baking Soda Clay Recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups of baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup of water

A container of cornstarch, a box of baking soda and a measuring cup of water.

To make the clay, simply place the ingredients in a pot and heat on medium while stirring constantly. Before long the mixture will begin to thicken and come together in a mass. You'll know it's done when it resembles whipped mashed potatoes. It begins to get too dry very quickly, so take it off of the heat as soon as you see that mashed-potato texture.

A bowl of clay in progress that looks like mashed potatoes.

Remove the clay from the pot and place it in a bowl covered with a damp cloth to cool. 15 minutes should be plenty. Next step, rolling out the dough! You can either use a rolling pin, or cover the ball with wax paper and firmly press down with a plate to flatten. Once you have it flat, grab your tree-shaped cookie cutter and press down, like so:

After you've discared the extra bits, use your thumb (or any finger!) to make a few imprints (once painted your kids' favourite colours, they'll look like the tree's ornaments). Next, grab your straw and pierce a hole at the top of the tree, because this is where you'll thread your ribbon, twine or yarn. But here comes a life lesson for the little ones: patience. It could take about three days for the dough to fully dry, so be prepared with other activities while that's happening.

Is your dough dry? Now it's time to paint! Ask your kids to pick out their favourite colours so they can set up a palette using an old plastic lid, or whatever you have lying around. We've done a few ornament indents, but really leave the personalization up to your kids! The sky's the limit. 

Once your paint has dried, and you've added any finishing touches (we used a fine marker to add our kids' names, some ornament details and the year we made it), it's time to seal with clear sealant or Mod Podge. Take a brush and paint on a thin layer.

Set aside your ornament and let the Mod Podge or clear sealant dry. Once it has, it's time to finish it off with a shiny ribbon. Just thread your ribbon through the hole you created, and tied it off with a firm knot. 

And there you have it! A new crafting tradition your kids will love! And bonus! It means a new family ornament every year.

 

 

 

 

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