We don’t follow any particular parenting or education philosophy – we pick and choose what works for us – but I do really like the way Waldorf emphasises seasonal rhythms and festivals, making preparations for holidays a big part of their curriculum.
Seasonal festivals serve to connect humanity with the rhythms of nature and of the cosmos. The festivals originated in ancient cultures, yet have been adapted over time. To join the seasonal moods of the year, in a festive way, benefits the inner life of the soul. Celebrating is an art. There is joy in the anticipation, the preparation, the celebration itself, and the memories” [source].
Crafting as a family is a great way to strengthen connections and make memories that will last many years after the gifts are forgotten. I don’t remember what I got for Christmas when I was a kid, but I do have strong positive memories of the family traditions we enjoyed during the season.
Handmade ornaments are a lovely way to personalise Christmas as well as extend the joy and anticipation over the month of December.
Today’s recipe is for salt dough ornaments.
Salt dough ornaments are fun for all the family, easy and inexpensive to make and look amazing.
Salt dough is just like play dough, except you let it go hard on purpose (as opposed to the bits of play dough that get lost in the carpet or behind the lounge) in order to make the handmade Christmas ornaments.
Here’s how to make your own salt dough ornaments.
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups plain flour
- 3/4 cup or so of water
- 1 squirt of white acrylic paint (optional)
- Combine salt and flour in a large bowl. For a smoother dough, run the salt through a blender or grinder until it's super fine. This is totally optional though.
- Add in a squirt of paint if using and enough water to make a firm dough. The paint is to make the dough whiter, you can leave it out for a more natural look. Or you could colour your dough with any colour you like.
- Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Roll to about 1cm thick and cut ornaments.
- Bake at 100°C for 1 - 3 hours or until the dough is completely dry (the time will depend on the thickness of the ornaments).
- It's easier to roll and cut the dough on the baking paper.
Ideas for decorating your ornaments
- Cut out using Christmas cookie cutters and leave plain. There’s nothing like the elegance of plain white against the green Christmas tree.
- Cut snowflake designs from your ornaments.
- Stamp using regular paper stamps. You can either stamp your ornaments plain or use ink to give your impression a bit of colour. Don’t forget, stamp before you cook your ornaments so that you leave an impression. It’s easier to stamp first and then cut out your ornament around the stamp.
- Add texture. Similar to stamping, add texture to your uncooked ornaments by pressing a textured surface into the dough. Ideas include leaves, lace, burlap, bark, shells. Anything textured. Again, it’s usually easier to add texture to the dough first and then cut out your ornament shape.
- An alternative is to add a raised textured design with glue after the ornament has cooked. Then paint over the glue.
- Use a toothpick to draw designs or write words in your ornaments before cooking.
- Paint your cooked ornaments. Paint them a single colour or paint faces on your ornaments.
- Add embellishments to your cooked ornaments by gluing on glitter, sequins, buttons, seeds, ribbons, beads etc.
- Press your child’s hand into the dough each year for a handprint ornament keepsake.
- Use a marker to draw patterns or or write on your ornament.
- If you’re super creative, rather than cutting out flat ornaments, use the dough to craft a 3D ornament like an angel or snowman or these absolutely adorable Santa Clauses or this one (with tutorial). These will take longer to dry out in the oven.