Easy Keepsake: Simple Handmade Clay Dough Christmas Ornaments
By Jackie Currie, Happy Hooligans
Dec 12, 2018
Decorating our Christmas tree is an experience that I look forward to and treasure every year. I make a day of it and savour it slowly, pouring over all of our ornaments and finding the perfect spot to hang each one. It’s a trip down memory lane, as every ornament conjures up a fond sentiment or special memory.
My favourites aren’t our pretty store-bought ornaments though. No, my favourite ornaments, the ones that melt my heart and sometimes bring tears to my eyes, are the sweet, homemade ornaments that my sons made years ago when they were little boys.
At the time, I didn't realize just how much these simple handmade ornaments would mean to me one day, but I truly cherish them now. And that’s one of the reasons why we make so many homemade ornaments here in my daycare every Christmas. I want the children and their parents to experience the same nostalgia and flood of happy memories when theyre decorating their Christmas trees years from now.
The ornaments I’m sharing today are sure to bring back memories of simpler times one day. In fact, just making these ornaments brought back fond memories for the hooligans, as they reminisced about some of the clay ornaments we made years ago when they were toddlers and preschoolers.
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This three-ingredient clay dough recipe is my favourite for homemade ornaments. It’s easy to make, and it remains white and bright when it dries.
You can paint these ornaments or decorate them with buttons and beads, but today, we’re sparkling our ornaments up with glitter. If you’re not a fan of glitter, don’t worry — you’ll varnish these ornaments to keep all of that gorgeous glitter in place.
One batch of this clay dough yields approximately 26-28 ornaments when using standard-sized cookie cutters.
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- rolling pin and cookie cutters
- drinking straw
- cookie sheet
- glue and paintbrush
- ribbon or metallic thread
To Make Your Clay Dough:
- Add the ingredients to a pot and place over medium heat.
- Stir continuously as bubbles form and the mixture thickens.
- When the water has evaporated and the dough resembles thick cake frosting, remove pot from the heat.
- Allow dough to cool for a few minutes, then transfer it to the countertop to knead it into a smooth clay.
Time to make your ornaments!
It’s a good idea to protect your tabletop with a vinyl table cloth or to work on plastic cutting mats.
Have your kids roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick, and then cut out their ornaments with assorted cookie cutters.
With a drinking straw, poke a hole in the top of each ornament.
Transfer your ornaments to a cookie sheet or rack, and allow them to dry fully before decorating.
We leave ours to dry by the fire overnight. You can dry them in the oven at the lowest temperature, but I would leave the door open a crack so it’s not too hot. If you’re drying at room temperature, I would leave them for a full 24 hours.
When your ornaments are dry, brush the front of each one with a generous amount of glue. Don’t skimp here! You want a nice thick layer of glue so the glitter will really take hold.
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Glitter time! Place your ornaments on a cookie sheet to contain any loose glitter.
Sprinkle a generous amount of glitter all over your ornaments. We combined colours to give our ornaments a little more depth and interest.
Let your ornaments dry on the cookie sheet, then tap off any excess glitter.
Spray the front side of your ornaments with varnish to seal the glitter to the ornament. I use Krylon transparent varnish, but any clear craft varnish will do.
Thread some ribbon or cord through the hole, and knot to secure.
Now, go and find the perfect spot on your Christmas tree to hang your gorgeous ornament.
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