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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

EDITED TO ADD:  I just learned after mailing these in a bubble wrap envelope that many recipients said their ornaments were broken. You may need to make fewer ornaments (maybe 4 instead of 6?) so they are thicker and stronger, or add more flour to the recipe below?  The first set of ornaments seemed to be more durable, that recipe is linked in the paragraph below.

I wanted to do a keepsake ornament to commemorate the babies' first Christmas for the grandparents and great grandparents (and also for us), so I looked online and I found this recipe to make clay for handprint ornaments.  It required hardly any ingredients and looked simple enough.  I should note I ended up doing this project twice because one set of ornaments was damaged when a Fed Ex driver threw one of the packages on one of our family member's porches.

I was much happier with the second batch of ornaments because I used a recipe mentioned by one of the reviewers of the original recipe.  This reviewer divided the original recipe by 4, and since I only had to make one replacement set of ornaments and one set of ornaments for me and Chad to keep, I decided to use the reviewer's recipe for the smaller amount.  I was much happier with the consistency of that recipe as the dough was much softer and more pliable.  This made it much easier to make an impression on the dough with the babies' hands.  It was a more manageable amount to knead as well.  Note:  The recipe below is for the smaller amount of clay and makes about 6 ornaments 4 inch in diameter. 

Here is the list of needed materials and the process (along with pictures):

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • optional food coloring (if you choose not to paint ornaments)
  •  round cookie cutter (I used 4 inch)
  • ribbon
  • acrylic paints
  • paintbrushes
  • straw (McDonald's straw works really well)


1.  Mix together flour, salt, and water.   If you plan to use food coloring instead of painting your ornaments, mix in food coloring also.

2.  Knead dough for 15 minutes.  Roll out dough.

3.  Use cookie cutter to cut out ornament shapes.  Press child or baby's hands in the middle of the ornament to make an impression.  Use a straw to make a hole in the ornament for the ribbon to go through.

4.  Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  Bake ornaments for 40-45 minutes or until golden and hard.

5.  Wait for ornaments to cool and paint as desired.  I also wrote the baby's name, age, and 2011 on the back of our ornaments.

6.  Put a ribbon of your choice through the ornament.

These pictures are all from the second batch of ornaments I did.  Since I liked these so much better and the handprints showed up so much clearer I decided to do more ornaments than I initially intended and resend these to everyone. Some of you may wonder how I had time to do these.  I did a lot of the mixing, cutting out shapes, and painting during the babies' naps.  Some of the time they were in the kitchen with me like this:

They had fun in their Pack N Play playing and trying to steal each other's toys (like in the above picture).  I think it is a fun ornament idea and I believe we will do these again.  Maybe next year the babies will "help" me paint their ornaments!  In case you were wondering, the green ornaments are Brady's hands and the red ornaments are Chloe's.


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