Salt dough ornaments are one of my family’s favorite traditions, but this year in addition to our usual afternoon of painting and sprinkling with glitter, I decided to grab my hand saw and head into the forest behind our orchard. Inspired by this ornament on Amazon (and this one, and this one) and my recent education in using my husband’s drill (don’t worry, you won’t need any tools), I thought it would be fun to try to make them from scratch.
You see, one day I’ll be sending off each of my little ones with a handmade ornament for each year we trimmed our tree, and I thought it would be especially meaningful if one of those ornaments actually came from the land where we’ve made so many memories – getting snowed in and sledding down Elderberry Hill, finally getting stuff to grow in our garden (after two failed attempts!), catching glimpses of deer in the orchard and building campfires out by the barn just so we can scramble some eggs . . . even though we have a perfectly good working stove in the kitchen. 🙂
So I sawed, and we sanded, and in the end a whole lot of our ornaments looked like they’d been done by a three year-old who needed a nap (because they were), but some turned out quite lovely, too, and I thought you might like to make some as well.
DIY Chalkboard Ornaments
- Wood slice tags or homemade wood rounds*
- Black chalk paint (or you can buy these tags that have been pre-painted with black chalk paint)
- White chalk paint
- Chalk pen with a fine tip (Optional – use if you’ll be decorating with stencils)
- Stencils and/or stamps with simple, clean designs – The bird in the photo is a stencil from a local craft shop, the words are handwritten, and the rest are stamps
- Small paintbrush (If you’re using stamps to decorate)
- Baker’s twine to hang the ornaments
- Permanent marker (Optional, but helpful if you want to keep track of which child made which ornament)
*To make the rounds, I used a hand saw to cut a branch down, then cut the branch into small rounds and sanded them with fine-grit sandpaper. Then, after we painted them I drilled holes.
Start by painting a large black circle on each wooden round. My littles weren’t quite coordinated to do this step, so I made them some paper “rounds” to practice their stenciling and stamping on while I finished them up. See how they totally followed my suggestion and place the designs within the circles? 😀
Once the circles have dried for several hours, use a chalk pen and stencils to add your design OR brush a very thin layer of white paint on the stamps you selected and then stamp on your design. If something doesn’t look quite like you want it to, you can usually rinse off the white paint if you move quickly. If there’s a little white paint remaining after you rinse you can dab on a little more black paint and let it dry, then try again with the stencils/stamps.
If you’re working with more than one child, it can be helpful to have them keep separate piles of their creations until you (or they) have had time to write their name and the year on the back – my kids always love hanging up “their” ornaments from previous years!