How To Make Salt Dough Ornaments

on December 13 | in DIY Home Decor, Kid's Stuff | by | with 98 Comments


Ready, Set, Bake!

This salt dough ornament project is as easy as 1-2-3, but I broke it into ten steps so that I could include more pics of my kiddos – ha! 

If you’re looking for a fun project to do with the kids for the holidays THIS IS IT. Katie made hers without any help (except for the baking), and Micah did most of his on his own. And of course after all the fun is over you have a sweet keepsake for your tree and possibly a gift for the grandparents, too.

Note: If you saw the photos in Levi’s birth story you **may** have noticed I like bright colors. My Christmas tree is no exception, but these would be beautiful with more traditional colors, too!


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water (or more as needed)
  • polyurethane or acrylic spray (optional, seals out moisture so that they last longer)

Equipment Needed

How To Make Salt Dough Ornaments

Salt Dough Ornaments

Step 1: Preheat oven to 250F. Measure flour and salt, then add them to a medium mixing bowl and stir.


Step 2: Add water.

Salt Dough Ornaments1

Step 3: Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle parchment paper with flour and knead dough until it’s soft and pliable. Add more flour if it’s ultra sticky.


Step 4: Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

Salt Dough Ornaments2

Step 5: Cut out ornaments using cookie cutters.


Step 6: Peel away dough and lift cutout.


Step 7: Place cutout on and ungreased cookie sheet.

Salt Dough Ornaments3

Step 8: Using your straw, create a hole for the ribbon that will hang the ornament. Place ornaments in the oven and bake for two to three  hours, or until completely dry. Flip once while baking, then remove and allow to cool completely.


Step 9: When the ornaments have cooled, decorate them with paints and/or glitter if desired.

Optional step: If you want your ornaments to last for years and years, seal them with three to four thin coats of polyurethane gloss varnish (it’s clear) or acrylic spray after the decorative paint has fully dried. Make sure to coat the entire surface to prevent moisture from getting in.






Step 10: Snap selfie, because while you **may** have managed to prevent your preschooler from painting the kitchen table, you did not prevent him from painting you.



Looking for more ornament projects?

Here’s one we did a few years ago.


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98 Responses to How To Make Salt Dough Ornaments

  1. Laurel Monkman via FB says:

    I wish I lived in a less humid place!

  2. ReNee O. McDonald via FB says:

    I was looking for something on my tree! This is it! Thank you!

  3. I love this! I have been saying I want to do this project with the kids this winter but just haven’t gotten around to it. I think we will do them tomorrow during the snow storm coming our way.

  4. Oh my gosh we had a major disaster when we did this

  5. Dawn Mary Jean via FB says:

    Does anyone know a grain free dough recipe like this?? My kids are allergic to grains (including rice) so they can’t even touch it to make dough :(

  6. Jena Carr via FB says:

    My kiddos and I just finished ours up this morning! They came out beautiful!

  7. I’m going to make one of these and put my daughters hand print in it for a ‘babies first Christmas’ ornament!

  8. Jackie says:

    Does this have to be wheat flour? I don’t have any in the house anymore but I have plenty of others. Though, it’s cheap enough that I can probably pick up a small sack.

  9. Jillian Bourke – Ohhh, I we did that but I forgot to include it in the post! I need to take a pic and update – thanks for the reminder!

  10. Angela says:

    Could this be done gluten free? I know we aren’t going to eat them, but I can’t be anywhere near gluten without getting very sick. Thanks!

  11. Kelly Marlene Geiser – What was the disaster?

  12. Awesome! Good to know they worked out for you. I can’t find a babies first Christmas ornament ANYWHERE! At any stores :(

  13. Kristin Fisher Lawler via FB says:

    Does the handprint bake up well? We just had our 3rd two days ago, and I would love to do handprints of all 3 kids. :)

  14. Amanda Sharer- Yates via FB says:

    We may make these today.

  15. Kristin Fisher Lawler – Yes! I will try to post a pic soon, but I used a large coffee mug to create a circle and it turned out pretty good I think.

  16. Toni says:

    I don’t have any paints on hand, could I put food coloring in the dough?

  17. I followed a “new&easy” recipe and they burnt up and the house was full of smoke for hours and we need a new oven the stench will not go away my mom told me just use the directions you have don’t try those that won’t work and she was right always listen to your mother…

  18. Can you please add a “pin it” button to your posts? I love to pin your stuff, but it’s so inconvenient to have to copy the link, open pinterest to pin it. Thanks for the great posts, though :)

  19. Lissa Zack LoVasco via FB says:

    Jenn LoVasco

  20. Kristin Fisher Lawler via FB says:

    Thanks Heather! I see a fun craft in our near future. :)

  21. Amy Hedderly – If you hover your cursor over a photo it will give you a “Pin it” option :)

  22. Marina Lambert Farook via FB says:

    Jillian Bourke- have you tried a Hallmark store?? They specialize in the sort of thing. Try Hallmark online?

  23. Talley Priester via FB says:

    Did that this year, use half as much salt sub for cinnamon and they’re wonderfully scented.

  24. Melanie Nemeth we should do this when we come!

  25. Courtney O'Connor Morse via FB says:

    Any suggestions if they’re not hardening up well?

  26. Maria Christina Da Rocha Moliterno via FB says:

    See Adna Miranda Mezzaroba!

  27. Melanie Nemeth via FB says:

    Yes! Mary Riddell Petersen!

  28. Okay, i’ll try that. Thanks :)

  29. Elisabeth Carol Harvey McCumber via FB says:

    Good idea

  30. Courtney O’Connor Morse – I would just bake them a bit longer.

  31. Noelle Smith Marier via FB says:

    These keep for years if you wrap them in waxed paper and store them in a zipper bag. :-)

  32. Heidi Schmidt via FB says:

    These do not work in New Zealand ;)

  33. Pam Buswell Chamberland via FB says:

    You are so pretty mommy pot !

  34. Jen says:

    Thanks for the idea! I may have to do this with my niece. :) And also, your kids are ridiculously gorgeous!

  35. Tally Paulich Kerr via FB says:

    Does anyone know if GF flour will work well?

  36. Tally Paulich Kerr via FB says:

    Thank you!

  37. Cassie Collins via FB says:

    We’ve done this twice already this season. Kids love it and makes a great cheap gift for grandparents!

  38. Sorry it’s sideways but here are the ones we made today. We used stamps and stamp ink to color them. Except the 2 solid colored we used water colors

  39. Melissa Yancer via FB says:

    Is that vintage pyrex i spy????

  40. When I was a child my dad used a recipe very similar, we did not add any food coloring and instead of individually creating hanging ornaments individually we created a ornament wreath layering each of the cutouts. The entire reath was done in white I believe he is still at and very high gloss . To top it off we used a red bow at the top . It was so simple clean and so very beautiful . I think it is a great option for older children and families to do together, and a great great option.

  41. Melissa Yancer – YES! It was my grandmother’s. One of my favorite pieces ever.

  42. Sasha Smith Fernandez – So cute!

  43. Niki Gee via FB says:

    Just came home from my last day at work and made these with my son to start the holidays – thank you!

  44. Back in 1985 I made dozens of salt dough ornaments to give as gifts as we were broke.

  45. Kim Lusignan Lowe via FB says:

    We use to make these a lot when I was a kid…I think u can still find a few of these ornaments lying around my parents house somewhere

  46. Cassie Collins via FB says:

    We didn’t use food clotting either but can paint and clear coat after

  47. Lisa Clenard-Stocker says:

    I pinned DIY unpaper towels. Now that my kids are getting older my husband and I are talking about doing this!

  48. Jayleen Marie via FB says:

    Making these!!!

  49. elizabeth says:

    Bake for 2 hours? I’ve been reading a few other salt dough recipes and they have the same ingredients but 20 minute bake time? Big difference:)

  50. Ashley Elizabeth Genn Jackelyn Amber DeVeny

  51. Amber Risucci via FB says:

    Cassandra Seebaum, well timed! Ha

  52. Sarah says:

    I can’t get this to pin :( can u please email it to me? Thank u!

  53. Thorin Thompson via FB says:

    Brings back memories…used to do this as a kid.

  54. Is there a gluten free version?

  55. Anna Desjardins via FB says:

    Thank you! I made these with my kiddos today, when we needed something to create together and connect.

  56. Tiffany Spalding via FB says:

    It is SOOOO funny you posted this! I was plaaning on looking into this for my kiddos tomorrow! Perfect timing I would say!!

  57. Emily says:

    Just wondering where you got your acrylic paints from in the picture?

  58. Kirsty Miller via FB says:

    Me too Tiffany, for the same reason as Anna. Thank you!

  59. Melissa Yancer via FB says:

    Do these last long?? Thinking of handprint or footprints…?

  60. Laura Gavigan via FB says:

    You ave too much time.

  61. Lunapie says:

    Thank you for posting this. I made them this evening and I am looking forward to putting the finishing touches on them with my 7yr old and her friends..
    thanks. Happy holidays

  62. Melissa Yancer – If you coat them with a clear varnish (from the hardware store) to prevent moisture from affecting them they will last for years and years. More details in the post.

  63. Melissa Lagerquist Legg via FB says:


  64. Beth says:

    I’ve done these several times and I usually heat the oven to 200° and I bake them for 3 hrs. I use food coloring as paint and old shimmer powder from an old make up kit and I put it on before baking.

  65. Melissa Yancer via FB says:

    Oops missed that part. Thanks!

  66. Lisa Singleton via FB says:

    Will print & file away!! Thx

  67. Tiffany Spalding via FB says:

    Its better to make time to do this than to make time on the computer :)

  68. Thanks for the idea for a morning activity – here are ours :)

  69. love these!! we do them every year with slight variations :)

  70. Could you make these smaller and use them as essential oils pendants? Or would the oil dissolve them?

  71. Love them, Caitlin Gibson! So cute!

  72. Christine Peterson Storer – I don’t think the eo would dissolve them but I don’t know for sure.

  73. ok, guess it’s time to start experimenting…I’ll keep you posted! :)

  74. Martha says:

    Love this, it will be a great project for school break the couple days before Christmas!

  75. Tiffany Spalding via FB says:

    we havent painted our yet, but plan on doing that this week. Another activity…2 for 1

  76. Michelle says:

    This is such a great idea for the Holiday season. If you use a stand mixer to mix the dough, the time spend making the dough will be cut down so you can spend more time decorating and end up making more ornaments. I will definitely have to try doing this with my niece and nephew before Christmas! Thanks for the recipe.

  77. Rebecca says:

    Do you polyurethane before or after painting?

  78. Nikki says:

    Can you use self rising flour or does it need to be a different kind?

  79. Melissa says:

    We have handprints in the oven right now! Did you flip the handprint ones that you did as well? Wasn’t sure if they’d lose their impression?

  80. Nicole Lynne says:

    I am trying these for the first time to do with my 2 1/2 year old. (Fingers crossed!!!) How can you be sure they are completely dry? I used the same snowflake cutter that was shown in the picture and the middles are raised (puffed out) a bit and a slightly different (darker) color than the arms of the snowflake. They have been in the oven for 3 hours. I cant imagine that they aren’t dry but I’m afraid I will ruin them if they aren’t dry and we decorate them.

  81. Kelli says:

    Hi. I can’t wait to make these with my kids. What kind of paint do you get after they are cooled? Please email me Thanks. Merry Christmas.

  82. Lisa Moore says:

    Worked on these with my 2 1/2 year old daughter the last couple days. She had so much fun. Did you know that dogs love them?! We found out the hard way. :( But still made good memories. I posted about it on my blog here:

  83. Johanna says:

    Pinned =P love this idea =)

  84. […] I painted them and bundled them up to go to Abby and Molly. Salt dough is pretty simple to make (go here for a tutorial) but I had the oven too hot (figured that out a few days later) and that’s […]

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