Keepsake Craft: Baking Soda Clay Handprint Ornaments

Nov 16, 2015

Over the course of my little one's years, we've made many of these sweet handprint keepsakes together. Some serve as a reminder of how big her hand was at a particular age, some hang on our Christmas tree each year, and some have been given as from-the-heart gifts to those who love her most. They're so simple, but absolutely darling and perfect reminder of how quickly time passes by.

You WIll Need:

  • homemade baking soda clay (recipe below)
  • parchment or wax paper
  • rolling pin or flat object such as a plate
  • straw
  • small paintbrush
  • white glue
  • glitter
  • ribbon

While you could use salt dough, modelling clay, or plaster of Paris for this project, we like using one of our very favourite moulding materials--homemade baking soda clay. If you haven't used it before, you're going to love it! It's super simple to make, the ingredients are most likely already in your kitchen, and it's lovely to work with.

You'll also love: Fingerprint Heart Ornaments

Baking Soda Clay Recipe

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

Now 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 mashed potatoes.

Once it's finished, remove the clay from the pot and place it in a bowl covered with a damp cloth to cool. 15 minutes or so should be plenty.

Now to make the handprint ornament! First, you need to create a round of clay that is about 1 centimetre to 1.5 centimetres thick and large enough to fit your child's hand. You can do this using a rolling pin and a circular cookie cutter, but I like the natural edges that occur when a ball of clay is flattened with a flat object such as a plate.

Whichever way you do it, one thing I'd recommend is using parchment or wax paper as the clay is soft and can get stuck on your kitchen tools, making it difficult to pull away without damaging the circle's smooth surface.

Next, help your child centre his or her hand on the clay circle and press it down firmly.

The resulting handprint should be nice and easy to see. {Aren't the little palm lines adorable?} If the print doesn't work out as well as you want it to on the first try, you can always try again. If needed, wet your hand a little bit before rolling your next ball to give the clay some extra moisture.

When your handprint is as you want it to be, use a straw to create the two holes that will later be used for hanging the ornament--just be sure to not put them too close to the edges! Then it's time to let your keepsake dry... We normally let ours dry for a full 24 hours, flipping it here and there, but sometimes it takes a little longer.

Now time for the best part: decorating! While sometimes we paint them and sometimes we leave them plain white, this time around we decided to use glitter to decorate our keepsake. I think opting to coat just the outside edges in glitter really allows the details of the handprint to shine, but you could do it either way. Simply brush the glue onto a section of the ornament, sprinkle on some glitter, shake off the excess, and continue the process until the job is done.

It's not a necessary step, but when the keepsake is fully dry, you can spray it with a clear sealant if you choose to. Then all you have to do is thread your ribbon through the holes and tie the ends together, and your creation is ready to be admired.

This post was originally published in November 2013.

Article Author Jen Kossowan
Jen Kossowan

See all of Jen's posts.

Jen is a teacher, blogger, and mama to a spirited little lady and a preemie baby boy. She's passionate about play, loves a good DIY project, adores travelling, and can often be found in the kitchen creating recipes that meet her crunchy mama criteria. You can follow Jen on her blog, Mama.Papa.Bubba, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.