To make homemade Christmas ornaments, you can use something like a polymer clay or whip up a batch of salt dough (also known as baker’s clay or homemade play dough).
It’s a safe non-toxic modelling medium you can put together from common cooking ingredients, form into shapes, then bake at a low temperature to dry hard in the oven. Ornaments and decorations made with salt dough clay are surprisingly durable and can last for years and years.
Salt Dough Modelling Clay for Homemade Ornaments
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup corn starch
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup salt
Mix together the flour and cornstarch. In another bowl, combine the salt and hot water, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Stir the salt water into the dry mixture and knead it with your hands for about 8 minutes, until smooth.
Tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, this modelling clay will keep for several days in the refrigerator. If it seems a bit dry when you go to use it, wet your hands and knead it for few minutes to get the texture smooth and workable again.
Form into desired shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
If you want to be able to hang the finished pieces with a ribbon or wire, don’t forget to make the hole when you’re first forming the shapes out of dough — don’t wait until the ornaments are dry and hard, or you’ll have to use a drill.
Dry in the oven at 200°F for 2 to 4 hours. Smaller pieces will dry and harden more quickly than large or thick pieces. Dry thoroughly, but remove the pieces from the oven before they start to turn brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack, then paint and embellish as desired. You may want to paint them with a protective clear coat finish, to help protect the paint job and keep your ornaments looking good for years.
This is a terrific project to do with kids. A lot of my happiest childhood Christmas memories are of sitting at the kitchen table, modelling a batch of salt dough into strange animals and lopsided angels!