4 Cups Flour
1 Cup Salt
1.5 Cups Water
*Cinnamon/Cinnamon Essential Oil
(the amount of ground cinnamon you use will effect the color and scent of your ornaments.)
Paper Clips (for hooks)
Wax Paper (optional)
Mix dry ingredients. Slowly add water and mix completely. Roll out on a floured surface to a thickness that matches your cookie cutters. (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch). Cut with cookie cutter. Insert paper clip into the top of the ornament. I bake mine on wax paper. Bake at 200°. Bake until the entire ornament is hardened and has no doughy looking areas. Mine usually bake close to 2 hours.
*If you decide to add cinnamon, your ornaments will have a nice cinnamon scent. I also like to add Cinnamon Essential Oil to my ornaments. I only add about 10 drops to the dough. Cinnamon Essential Oil can be a skin irritant if it comes in direct contact with your skin, so gloves are a good idea while hand mixing your dough. I usually don’t wear gloves while I am rolling the dough out or cookie cuttering them. Ornaments containing cinnamon will be a darker color. If you paint your ornaments, its a good idea to leave the back of the ornament unfinished so that the cinnamon can be smelled.
You will see some recipes like this instruct you to bake them at 325°. I don’t bake at this temperature because it causes the ornaments to ‘rise’. Unfortunately, since this is just a basic salt dough recipe, the ornaments will not rise uniformly and the areas which have risen are far more likely to burn. The part that has risen is also far more likely to break because there is now a hollow air pocket within the ornament.
I use a big wooden spoon until its pretty well mixed then I continue with my hands. The high salt content kind of makes my hands hurt while hand mixing, so I wear rubber exam gloves.
Done right, these ornaments can last years. The Santa in the above photo was made by my mother in 1983.
You can see that the Santa raised during cooking as I mentioned above. The Bell was made by me, somewhere between 2001 and 2005. It was baked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. It was finished with a clear spray paint. Since I’ve done many of these over the years, I no longer use clear spray paint to finish my ornaments. I now use a spray Mod Podge (available in a shiny finish or matte finish) to finish my ornaments since it doesn’t yellow like the spray paint tends to do.