Arts Education Wednesday: Handmade Ornaments

Today's blog post is part of a new weekly series and is written by Rachel Johnston, a fiber artist in Ruston, LA. Rachel teaches early childhood arts classes at Creative Journey Studio. She will be posting each Wednesday. Hello again! The past few weeks, my students have been working on some fun handmade ornaments. Today I’ll be sharing some recipes and instructions so you can make some too.

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Salt dough

1 cup salt 2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup warm water

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Gradually stir in water. Mix well and knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and easy to work with. If it’s too sticky, add additional flour until it no longer sticks to your hands. Roll it out to desired thickness- I let the kids do this by themselves. It’s okay if it’s not rolled out perfectly even, it will still dry well and look great! Cut out various shapes with cookies cutter, then poke a hole in each one (the end of a small paintbrush works well for that). Allow to air dry for several days, or dry them in the oven at 200 for 1-3 hours. If you use the oven, check them often to make sure they don’t burn. Halfway through drying, turn each ornament so that both sides dry evenly. Once dry, you can decorate your ornaments. Paint and glitter glue are good options, but use whatever you have on hand. After they’re decorated, put a ribbon through the hole in each one, and hang them on your tree or let the kids wrap them up and give them away.

Cinnamon applesauce dough

These are cool. Mix equal parts cinnamon and applesauce, along with 1 teaspoon of white glue if desired (so that the finished ornaments aren’t so fragile). The exact ratio will depend on the consistency of your applesauce, so if the dough is too wet, add more cinnamon. Roll it out, cut shapes, dry, and decorate as explained above. These look great undecorated too. (Make sure children know this isn’t edible!)

If your children want to give ornaments as gifts, you can also let them make wrapping paper. My students made footprints all over a big sheet of kraft paper, and they used that to wrap their ornaments. This project is good for children of all ages. Even very young kids can help measure ingredients, stir & knead dough, and paint the dry ornaments so let them do whatever they, and enjoy the process together!


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