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Ornaments minus salty price tag

Salt dough and cinnamon dough ornaments make for a fun, cheap family craft

Salt dough and cinnamon dough ornaments make for a fun, cheap family craft

November 21, 2008|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

This Christmas, everyone's paying more attention to the bottom line. Whether it's gifts for family or slashing the budget for decorations, anywhere a penny can be pinched is a gift in itself.

And so is finding the time to spend a little quality time with your family without breaking the bank.

Making salt dough ornaments and cinnamon ornaments not only brings time to actually sit down beside your kids and talk, but it can also bring a lasting memory.

What's so wonderful about the craft is that it's inexpensive. Recipes vary, but the main two ingredients for both projects are flour and salt, which can be found in the typical American pantry. You'll need about 2 cups of salt, but, still, it's cheap. Even cinnamon isn't an expensive spice; it can be found at dollar stores.

Last month my sister, Spring, and I tried our hands at attempting to make Halloween cookies.

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So when I approached her about trying our hands to make the salt dough ornaments, she had reservations. Frankly, with the mess we had last time, I didn't blame her.

One thing you need for this project is Christmas cookie cutters. I only had a few, but I found that a large assortment at Michaels for about $10. I figured the expense would easily be repaid the next time I decided to attempt making sugar cookies. Or better yet, hand the cookie cutters off to Mom.

Spring already had a collection of paints, so there was no cost required. Her craft paints are acrylic, which dry quickly. She said she purchased the paints relatively cheaply.

Although we talked about adding glue-on googly eyes and using cloth to add aprons onto the gingerbread girls and so forth, we decided it would do just fine to keep it simple enough with a variety of colors of glitter.

I found several recipes on how to make both the salt dough and cinnamon ornaments in both traditional oven baking and also for microwaving the ornaments. I didn't want to chance microwaving something because I was unsure if it would dry out the ornaments completely. One called for applesauce and glue. I couldn't understand how it would keep its shape to be made into a form without flour and if making something out of applesauce would make it through the holiday season.

One tip we learned: Be careful how thick you roll out the dough. Too thin and it loses its shape before it gets to the baking sheet. Too thick and it loses its shape during baking.

To add a little interest, use a toothpick to make marks into the dough before placing it in the oven. On the Santa hat, I used a toothpick to help define the parts of the hat.

To make holes to place the ribbon in the ornaments, use a drinking straw to cut a hole. Those little, circular bits of leftover dough can come in handy if you want to add Christmas balls to your Christmas tree. Just roll up the dough and gently place it on the unbaked ornament. I suggest putting it on the end of a toothpick to help place it on the ornament for easier handling. For the snowman I rolled dough to give him his carrot nose.

And although the directions say to bake for 1 1/2 hours, I strongly suggest to check about half way through baking time. Even though all of the ornaments were placed in the oven at the same time, a portion of the cinammon ornaments burned. They could have been painted, but I don't think there's enough paint to cover the stench of burnt cookies.

To add the glitter, we simply painted the ornaments and dusted the wet paint with glitter.Or let the paint dry, then use slightly diluted craft glue to coat the ornament before adding the glitter. If painting first, allow it to dry completly before adding the glue.

After the ornaments came out of the oven, Spring and I spread out newspaper on the table, gathered our paints and went to town. As the first snow flurries of the season fell outside the window, I couldn't help but smile. Christmas had come early.




Salt dough ornament recipe



2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In medium mixing bowl, mix flour and salt. Add 1/2 cup of water gradually, then add remaining water. Knead dough for about 5 minutes or until it appears smooth.

Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick on flour-dusted surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Poke a drinking straw into shape to make a hole for hanging the ornament. Before placing ornaments in oven, add the extras onto the dough - such as the balls for the tree or nose for snowman.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, but check about halfway through baking time. Remove cookies that look done.

Place on cooling racks and cool completely. Paint and decorate with glitter as desired. Coat with a spray acrylic to make ornament more durable.

Cinnamon dough ornament recipe



2 cups flour
1 cup salt
5 teaspoons cinnamon (add more for stronger scent)
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In medium mixing bowl combine flour, salt, cinnamon. Slowly add water. Knead for about 5 minutes until dough forms a ball and looks shiny. If dough is too sticky, add more flour; if too dry, add more water. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a cinnamon-dusted surface to 1/4 inch thick. Thicker ornaments will take longer to bake. Cut out ornaments with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Poke a drinking straw into shape to make a hole for hanging the ornament. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, checking at 45 minutes.

Place on cooling racks and cool completely. Paint and decorate with glitter as desired. Coat with a spray acrylic to make ornament more durable.

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