Easy Salt Dough Ornaments and Mantel Garland

Salt dough ornaments are easy to make with pantry staples, and are a fun and inexpensive craft to do with kids of all ages.
 
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I can't believe I've never made salt dough ornaments before! I've been doing so much crafting this winter because it's been colder than normal, and it's been a great way to pass the long, boring days of winter!

Catch up with all my Valentine crafts here


I didn't really even have a plan for how I would use these ornaments, I just knew that I wanted to try the process! I fell in love with Miss Mustard Seed's salt dough gingerbread houses over the holidays and finally set aside a morning to make salt dough.

Making salt dough

The ingredients are simple - just flour, salt and water! I followed a recipe I found online  here and it really couldn't be easier to make the dough! You mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add the water and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Then you knead the dough for a couple minutes until it comes together, adding a little more flour as needed, until you get a nice smooth ball of dough. It looks good enough to eat, but remember...this dough is not edible!


I loved working with this dough, it's similar to sugar cookie dough but again, don't let your kids try to eat it!

Cut out shapes

The next step was to roll the dough out and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. I didn't have any of the beautiful cookie molds like Miss Mustard Seed used, but I have my eye on the amazing wooden cookie molds here and am just trying to decide which ones to buy! I'm leaning towards the Easter eggs. They are so intricate and I love all the embossed details! Look how cute this rabbit is! If you plan to purchase these cookie molds, make sure to read Miss Mustard Seed's post because she shares some helpful tips for using the molds with salt dough.


For today's project however, I used what I had on hand, which was heart and snowflake cookie cutters. Last year I purchased this set of nesting snowflake cutters, and didn't get a chance to make the gingerbread snowflake wreath I wanted to. I used a small and a large cookie cutter of each shape, and made sure to make a hole at the top (with a wood skewer) for hanging while the dough was still soft.


See all the salt on my hands?

I wanted to try to add some dimension to my ornaments, so I snipped off a stem of faux lavender from my stash, and also a couple branches of boxwood from the backyard. I lightly pressed the shapes into the salt dough.

Bake in oven

I filled two cookie sheets with my salt dough shapes. The next step is to put them in a 200° F oven for a couple hours to let the shapes dry out.


Once the salt dough ornaments were dried out, it was time to decorate. Like I said, I had no specific plan in mind, but being that it's so close to Valentines, I decided to make a garland for my mantel.

Decorate

I strung the mini hearts on cotton kitchen twine and hung it on my mantel. A tip for working with small ornaments and small holes is to thread the twine onto a sturdy needle and feed it through the holes, it makes it so easy.


The finished garland turned out really cute. The salt dough ornaments have a gritty feel and texture to them and a warm, neutral color.


I decided to make another garland with the larger hearts and hang them from the beaded garland I already had up.

To make them match the white beaded garland, I painted the salt dough hearts with one coat of white chalk paint, front and back. They almost look like cement or plaster because of the surface that is pitted from the salt.


I tied jute twine on each ornament and then tied them onto the beaded garland just like I did when I made my wood slice Santa garland. Remember the pattern I tried to create with the lavender and boxwood? Once the salt dough ornaments dried, it was really hard to see any real pattern...so in the future I won't bother doing that.



I'll be sharing more of my winter mantel later this week! I'm curious...have you made salt dough before? Make sure to let me know if you're inspired to try it, it's a great afternoon project to do with the kids or with friends.

Pin it to remember

I'm hanging on to the snowflake ornaments I made and I'll do something with them next Christmas.

bringing beauty to the ordinary,

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Comments

  1. Such a fun idea... it is still pretty cold here in the midwest, and I can't wait to make some of these hearts with my kids. I really enjoy all of your ideas and am going to set a Valentines breakfast table for tomorrow morning... another fun idea I got from you. I love the budget-friendly approach you use - thanks so much!

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    1. So happy I've inspired you! I think even if I won a million dollars, I'd still create on a budget... the thrill of a thrift store hunt and putting together a home with very little money is so rewarding! Have fun making the salt dough hearts with your kids!! 🖤

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  2. You are amazing, Cindy. I love everything you make.

    Denise TX

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    Replies
    1. Gosh thank you sweet lady! It's a passion and I love sharing with a great audience!

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