Okay, it’s November so we can officially mention Christmas (though crackers and cards seem to have been in the shops since September).  Now it’s time to get out your sticky-backed plastic, toilet rolls and glitter – it’s Christmas craft time!

Kids love an excuse to get messy. So clear the table, cover it in plastic or newspaper and wrap your kids in overalls, aprons (or old shirts) and get stuck in.

Salt dough ornaments

These are nothing short of amazing.  All the fun of baking, dough forming and painting and you finish up with a decoration that can be proudly displayed at the end. This is a useful craft that will deliver years of enjoyment, not take up much room and can be put away and brought out again next Christmas.

First, the recipe:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup water

Now the method

  • Pre heat the oven to 250˚F
  • Measure the ingredients, use a tea cup if you don’t have a cup measure to hand
  • Add the flour and salt to a bowl and stir
  • Add the water and mix thoroughly
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form into a ball. If the dough is too sticky add a bit more flour
  • Once you’re happy with your dough, roll it out to a ¼ inch thick with a floured rolling pin

Now the making bit

  • Use cutters to cut out your decorations. You can have a simple round shape to decorate or use Christmas tree or Santa cookie cutters. If you don’t have proper pastry cutters you can use a knife to cut them by hand (careful  supervision needed with younger ones of course), or raid the playdough cutter box. Just remember to wash them thoroughly first.
  • Remember to poke a hole near the top so you can add the ribbon later. A drinking straw or a pencil both work well for this.
  • Place your shapes on a non-oiled baking sheet
  • Once you’ve laid them all out, pop the trays in the oven and bake for 2-3 hours or until completely dry, remembering to flip them half way for an even bake.

Next is the design bit

When your ornaments have cooled, it’s time to paint them and add the ribbon so they can be hung on the tree. You can also add glitter or stick sequins on, PVA will work or a hot glue gun will make things a lot quicker.

The final step, to give your ornaments a long life and keep them looking good, is to paint them with a couple of coats of clear varnish. Remember to cover all areas so no moisture can get in.

Once they’re dry, simply add coloured ribbon, string or even pipe cleaners and get ready to hang them on the tree.

You can make new ones each year and they’ll make great gifts for fond grandparents.

Happy crafting!