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Crafts

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
  • clear sealant or Mod Podge (optional)

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

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. Ten to 15 minutes should be plenty.

Now to make the handprint ornament! First, you need to create a round of clay that is about 1 centimetre thick (any thicker and they tend to crack more easily) 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.

A ball of clay being pressed by a plate between two sheets of waxed paper.

Whichever way you do it, one thing I'd recommend is surrounding the clay round in parchment or wax paper as it can stick to your kitchen tools and make 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.

A child's hand being pressed into a round of clay.

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.

A print pressed into a wet round of clay.

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 couple of days, flipping it here and there, but sometimes it takes a little longer.

A cut straw used to poke two holes into the ornament.

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 or coat it in Mod Podge if you wish. Doing so will ensure that the glitter lasts for years to come.

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 recipe will make 2 or 3 handprint keepsakes, depending on the size of your little ones' hands of course.

 

This post was originally published in November 2013, updated November 2016.


More DIY Holiday Crafts: 

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.

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