Wednesday, November 30, 2011

[Make] Salt Dough Gift Tags & Ornaments

A couple of weeks ago we had a few days of damp and cold weather...  which is so odd to say since it was 85 degrees today and dry as the down of a thistle (ah yes, I've been reading Twas the Night Before Christmas over and over again...). Anyhow, we're not very good at being housebound on the weekend, so I had to come up with an activity to keep the boys busy and my sanity intact.  

I've had clay gift tags on the brain for a while, so that seemed like the perfect project that everyone could do. At first I was going to use air dry clay, but since I didn't feel like running to the store... and I had LOTS of flour and salt... I decided to make Salt Dough instead.

I remember making salt dough ornaments as a kid.  I also remember my dog eating them off the Christmas  tree and getting sick as... well, a dog.  So, just something to keep in mind if you have a salt-loving hound in your house.

cut & painted by the boys

The boys (ages 3 & 5) had a great time playing with the salt dough.  Their favorite part was rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters.  After the ornaments were dried, they painted the hearts-- first white, then red... which soon became pink.  Then they topped them off with some fun glitter paint. Pretty snazzy!  Hmmm... I think I'll keep these in mind when Valentine's Day rolls around.

Click "read more" for the tutorial.

Salt Dough Gift Tag & Ornament Tutorial

Dough Recipe:

There are several recipes for salt dough, but this one worked well for me

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup warm water

I mixed the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Then I added the warm water and kneaded it with my hands until the dough was well incorporated and  took on a play dough like quality (around 5 minutes).

Roll out your dough and make your ornaments with cookie cutters, jars, templates, etc...  Make sure to poke a hole at the top-- I used a straw, a chopstick or skewer also works.

Preheat the oven to 200 F and bake for 2-5 hours (depending on the thickness of your project).**

** I also baked a batch at 275 F and it was done after 1 hour.  However, the bottom turned a light brown... not a big deal since I painted the ornaments, but just something to consider.

the tags/ornaments ready for painting

metallic acrylics - adds a pretty sheen and dries quickly with a thin coat
glitter acrylics - adds dimension & lots of sparkle.  love the colors from the Martha Stewart brand
"plain" acrylics - makes a nice base, but a little flat. an additional coat of glitter paint really make them pop.
glitter spray paint - fun! i used the krylon brand (fyi, the can is really small).

**We used foam sponges to apply the paint.  Easy to use and clean.

first they were painted with a metallic base coat...

then some received a glitter paint topcoat...

and others were decorated with puffy paint ;&  iridescent glitter

Letter stamps & texture:

The gift tags are stamped with names & Christmas-y words.  The letter stamps are from a William-Sonoma cookie cutter set that I purchased on sale last year.  The cookie cutters are too big for a gift tag, but the letters are the perfect size for this project.  

I also used rubber stamps and even an embossing plate from my cuttlebug.  They're not quite ready so I'll be sharing those later!

We also have a bunch of stars in the pipeline.  The boys are in charge of the cookie cutting & painting. With some luck, I'll be sharing that project too.

It's official my friends... Happy December 1st!

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