December 18, 2011

Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments

Today I want to share a fun Christmas craft you can do with your kids and use in your holiday decor or give away as gifts come Christmas. 

Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments!

There's still plenty of time to get them made!
So let's get started on a tutorial...
I invited some of my girlfriends over for fun ornament making party so we could all experience this process together. It was a lot of fun to share this with them!

I gathered as many supplies as I thought we could possibly need 
for cutting and decorating our ornaments.
cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes
rubber and foam stamps
paint brushes
acrylic paint

I also set out baking pins, mats with parchment paper, and flour (for rolling).

To make the dough you will need
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1.5 cups water

Start by mixing all three ingredients together with a large spoon. As it starts to thicken, start mixing with your hands. When it start to form the dough, knead it thoroughly for about 5-10 minutes. Add more water or flour in small amounts as necessary to get the right consistency (not sticky, but not too dry). You should be able to tell when you get there!

Roll your dough out until it is about 1/4" thick.

With small children (think under the age of 1!) it will probably take two people to get a good handprint in the dough. One to hold the child and the other to keep the baby's fingers straight and press into the dough. Older children will only need someone to help press their hands into the dough evenly.

If you have a cookie cutter (or cup or bowl) that is large enough to cut out the handprint, do so. If not, find a tool to use to cut a rough circle around the handprint. You certainly do not have to stick to round cookie cutters. Try a Christmas tree or Santa face for a more fun shape!

BE SURE TO POKE A HOLE IN THE TOP OF YOUR DOUGH IF YOU'RE GOING TO USE YOUR CUT OUTS FOR ORNAMENTS! You need to be sure you have somewhere to put the wire or ribbon so they can hang on the tree.

The dough can be a bit fragile before it is cooked so I would recommend taking the parchment paper you just cut the ornaments out on and placing it directly onto a baking sheet. You definitely need to use parchment paper as a buffer between the dough and the pan or there will be a lot of sticking.

You can see in the photo above that I tried out a lot of different shapes not even using the handprints. I thought while the dough was there I would try a few other things, too. ;)

Once you have all of the dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pop it into a 350F oven for about 20 minutes. 

Note: Your ornaments should feel fairly solid once you pull them out of the oven and let them cool for 20 minutes or so. If they don't feel firm, put them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

The baked handprint ornament looks pretty much just like raw version!

Now its time to get even more creative!
Decorate the ornaments!

My girlfriends were super crafty and made Santa faces with some of their ornaments.

I was little more lame and stuck to coloring the hands one color and the backgrounds another.

I also made a Christmas tree with everyone's thumbprint.

Note: Some of my paint looks bubbled up because I actually stuck my ornaments back in the oven after I had painted them to harden them up some more. Learn from my mistake! Make sure they are hard before you paint them. ;)

You can label the back of the ornaments with a Sharpie marker.

Once all of the paint is dry, varnish the ornaments to seal the paint and further harden the ornaments.

Thread wire or ribbon through the hole in the ornament so you can hang them!

I love how our thumbprint tree turned out! This will be such a fun ornament for us to hang on our tree this year. This is actually two cookie cutter cutouts stacked on top of one another.

I'm going to use these little handprints as decoration on the grandparent gifts this year. 
I think they'll be a big hit!
And, of course, a pair are going to stay at my house as keepsakes. :)


  1. Christmas excess has really gotten to me this year, and I have determined that someday, when I'm a gramma, I will DO things with my grandchild(ren) versus buying things. This is on my mental list...


  2. LOVE these Michele!! We still have handprint ornaments on our tree from when the kids were little! I love seeing them there! I really like your painted versions - those are super cute.

  3. Made these tonight (finally)! They turned out way cute :)

  4. These are adorable...and how fun to have a party = great idea!

  5. This is a great idea! I have 5 kids, so this could be a really fun ornament on my tree!

    Creatively Living

  6. I missed the memo this year...apparently salt dough is the IN thing! They turned out amazing!!! Would you please share these with our readers for Fun Stuff Fridays?

  7. What sort of paint do you uise? Nicola

    1. Hi Nicola! I just used regular acrylic paint. It worked great!

  8. We just tried making these and we got it all figured out. However when we baked them , they got really, really puffy and we cannot see the handprints or footprints. Any suggestions??

    1. Oh no! Ours puffed just a little bit, but not very much. We were about to prick tiny holes in them to get the air out. If you can keep an eye on them while they are in the oven, you should be able to use a toothpick to stop the puffing when you see it starting to happen.

  9. About how many ornaments does your recipe make? I have 3 little ones ranging in age from almost 5 to 8 months, and we want to make 3 sets. Thanks!

    1. One batch will probably make 6-10 ornaments. We had 4 kids (3 families), and we each made our own batch of dough.

    2. Thank you! What kind of varnish did you use to seal them?

    3. Its just a wood varnish. But you could probably also seal them with some spray sealer for paint. :)


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