Salt dough ornaments are a fun craft for kids (and adults!) and make great gifts and keepsakes for grandparents, friends, or almost anyone. Making the salt dough ornaments is a bit time consuming due to the drying time so recently I put together a paint-your-own assortment of salt dough ornaments that I sold at a local craft fair. Of course you can make your own ornaments, in fact I have detailed instructions right here: salt dough tutorial.
Once you have your ornaments ready to go, it’s time to get creative!
Paint your salt dough ornaments
Gather an assortment of paints and brushes and get painting! Acrylic paints are best, craft grade or kids tempera paint both work well. It’s not necessary to prime the salt dough ornaments before painting.
Tip: if your dried ornament has any rough edges, you can use sandpaper or an emery board to sand and smooth the area
Kids may enjoy experimenting with painting the salt dough with watercolors. Be mindful that the more water that gets put on the salt dough, the more additional drying time will be required as the dough may start to degrade a bit.
After the base coat(s) of paint has dried, it’s time to decorate!
There are so many ways to decorate salt dough ornaments, here are a few ideas to get you started.
If you are a glitter tolerant household, there are plenty of ways to add sparkle to your ornaments.
For the star ornament:
- Pick a glitter color
- Paint a base coat in a matching color (as close as possible–or a contrasting color for a fun variation)
- After paint has dried, paint the ornament completely with Mod Podge or white glue
- Place the ornament in an upcycled styrofoam tray lined with a piece of waxed paper and sprinkle generously with glitter
- Let dry overnight~ the hardest part!
- Shake off the excess glitter
- Use the waxed paper to make a funnel and return the excess glitter to its container
For the tree ornament, follow the same steps but use chunky glitter and only apply Mod Podge to select areas of the ornament.
On the round ball ornament I used glitter glue. Glitter glue is a bit less messy and always a fun surprise to see exactly what it looks like when it dries.
Add accents with more paint
Using contrasting colors, go back and add details to your ornaments with paint. Vary large areas of different colors along with smaller patterns (see the house ornament below).
After any additional paint has dried, you can add accents with paint pens. I love the Posca paint pens.
Beads & sequins
Add yet another layer of interest with dimensional accents such as beads and sequins. Pom poms and buttons are more fun options. I like to use tacky glue to attach dimensional elements but white glue or a glue gun work as well.
Depending on the size of your salt dough shapes, it can be tricky to write directly on the ornaments. Instead, cut words and/or phrases from scrap magazines and/or thrifted books. Trim and attach with Mod Podge or white glue for a unique look.
Seal Your Salt Dough Ornaments
To ensure that your salt dough ornaments last for years to come, seal with 1-2 coats of Mod Podge (or watered down school glue) or a spray sealer. Be sure to seal the both sides.
Add A Hanger
If your salt clay ornament has a hole, string a length of thin ribbon, baker’s twine, or cord through the hole and knot to make a hanging loop.
Tip: if the hole is too small, you can try to gently enlarge it using a bead reamer or similar tool.
Alternatively, you can make a loop with ribbon and attach to the back of the ornament with glue. Either use the ribbon loop to hang the ornament or add a wire hanging hook.
After the season, store your salt dough ornaments away from excess moisture and humidity. A shoebox with a bit of tissue paper or bubble wrap works great. If you have a packet of silica gel, toss it in to help keep dampness at bay. I’ve had some of my salt dough creations for years and they still look great!
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