Last year I got all crafty and made all of the decorations for our Christmas tree. The mood didn’t strike me this year (although we still have several of our salt dough ornaments from last year), but in case any of you are inspired to create an eco-friendly homemade Christmas tree, I thought I’d repost the blog I wrote a year ago.
Originally posted Dec. 15, 2008
After writing my holiday eco-friendly crafts post, I got this insane great idea that it’d be lots of fun to make all of the decorations for our Christmas tree this year. I was hoping to involve the kids in the crafting, but my first two attempts – with popcorn garland and cranberry garland – were not as successful as I hoped. Turns out that popcorn is fairly hard to put a needle through and I didn’t want to risk Ava poking the heck out of herself, so she and Julian ate popcorn while I threaded it. The cranberries were a little harder than I would’ve liked too so I did those myself while the kids ate them and then spat them out because they are, of course, very tart. ;)
I also made the star on the top of our tree by cutting it out of a pie tin (super sharp edges) and gluing it to a piece of black paper.
Finally this morning, I decided on a project we could work on together (at least Ava and I could and Julian could help out later) – salt dough ornaments!
Here’s the recipe that I used.
Salt Dough Ornaments
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Optional: 1 tablespoon any type of oil (to make it easier to work with – thanks to Brighid for the tip)
I didn’t have enough sea salt, so I used my kosher salt (after grinding it up in the food processor a bit). It worked just as well. I think table salt is probably what they have in mind for this recipe though.
Mix salt and flour. Add in half the water, then gradually add the remaining water. Knead until the dough is smooth, this can take up to 10 minutes.
I divided up my dough into different segments and used food coloring on some of it.
For flat dough ornaments roll out the dough (to about 1/4 inch thickness) on baking paper, wax paper, or directly on a cookie sheet. Use cookie cutters, cut-out templates, or just use your hands.
Add details to the ornaments with a toothpick and knife.
Don’t forget to use a straw to make a hole so you can hang the ornament. (I forgot to do this on two of mine. Oops!)
Baking: Time varies based on thickness of ornament
Time: 20 minutes or until dry - They should be hard to the touch, but not brown.
After they are done baking and cooling, you can paint, add glitter, spray with a clear finish, etc. We chose not to do this and let me tell you why I’m glad we didn’t.
a) because Julian decided to start tasting several of the ornaments
b) because a few, invariably, got dropped or stepped on and broke, but because they don’t have any extra stuff on them, I can just throw them into the composter. (The popcorn and cranberries can go out for the birds when you are done with them or into the compost bin). :)
Finally, add ribbon, yard, string, twine, etc. and your ornaments are ready to hang on the tree or give as gifts.
And now, the pictures…
I don’t know if we’ll stick with just the homemade decorations on the tree – I think we may add a handful of ornaments we’ve collected over the years – but I will say that despite the extra work involved, I really enjoy the organic-feel and personality that our tree has this year. It’s been a lot of fun. :)
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