The Christmas prep is well underway. My friend Kat and I have been busy making salt dough Christmas decorations for our trees this year. Here’s what we did:
To make your dough you will need:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of cold water
Mix together to create a moist dough (but make sure it’s not too wet).
75C (170F) for 3 hours. Keep an eye on your decorations so they don’t burn. They may take more or less time depending on the thickness of your dough.
The fun bit!
We started off making our dough and cutting out our shapes (whilst listening to Christmas music of course).
Used a straw to make a hole for the string.
Layed out all the dough shapes on an oven tray and baked them for around 3 hours.
The first batch we made took a long time to dry. The front dried out quickly but the back stayed quite damp even though we flipped them over half way through cooking. They did eventually dry out but it took a couple of weeks because we rolled the dough too thick (5-6mm).
We also had slight rippling on the back, which is where the top was cooking hard but moisture was trapped on the side face down on the tray. It looks more noticeable in this photo because of the lighting.
I painted my shapes a gingerbread colour with gouache and let them dry. I used 1 part red, 2 part yellow and 1 part brown, which creates a life-like gingerbread colouring.
I used Tulip Slick Paint for the icing. This paint is great, it puffs up a little as you apply it and dries hard. If you make a mistake you can peel the paint off once it’s touch dry and start again.
And these are my gingerbread decorations! I’m really pleased with how they turned out.
I had a few round shapes left over, which I turned into Scandinavian style snowflakes based on the Christmas wrap I made last year.
Once the shapes were completely dry, I varnished them with a matt Rust-Oleum spray.
Apply varnish after your decorations are painted and dry. This stops the decorations absorbing any moisture in the air. Without glaze, the decorations will crumble over time. If you use acrylic paint, you can skip the varnish stage.
This effect came from a happy accident. I painted the decorations and left them on newspaper. I thought they were dry, so I flipped them over and painted the other side. They stuck to the newspaper a little and some of the paint peeled off. This photo doesn’t capture it very well but they look like weathered wood.
And this is a gift for the dog in the family!
These decorations don’t have to be just for Christmas, you can also make seasonal ornaments for your house all year round.