Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas is... #11 Christmas Salt Dough Decorations

There's been quite a few people posting on Facebook a simple guide to making salt dough Father Christmas decorations. So simple, I thought, yes, I'm sure I'm capable of this one!

I have to admit to being very proud of the result:

So, what did we like about this activity?
Well, firstly, it's based on your child's (or your) handprint. So, it will always be our memory- of when the little peoples hands really were this small.

Secondly, it only required three ingredients (salt, flour, water). There are variations using cornflour, and since I have seen a great post about using glitter and food colouring,may be next year!

Thirdly, we spread this activity across three days, which meant there was a real sense of achievement as well as keeping Squeaks busy.

So, on day 1 we made the salt dough- basically a measure of flour, a measure of salt, and half a measure of water. This was kneaded into a dough, with extra flour used for rolling out the salt dough.

Squeaks loved this part. The boys weren't too fussed, and as a result of the encouragement needed to get their handprints I failed to get photographs- and in my delight at getting an extra hand print from them I forgot to put the hole in two of the hands. Because this is the bit to remember, include straws in the ingredients list and remember to make a hole for a ribbon if you are intending to hang them.

The decorations were put into the oven for three hours at 100 degrees celsius, some people use microwaves, but I decided to stick with tried and tested.

And that was our first day.

A couple of days later we got around to painting the hands. I must admit to having delayed this as everyone recommended using acrylic paints and I was trying to buy some. But I was a little surprised by the price of them, so I decided we'd stick with the paint we had. Admittedly it wasn't all it should have been and probably could have done with quite a few coats.

I then took the bizarre step of using a sharpie marker pen to decorate them given the paint seemed too thin. I was quite pleased with the result, although this restricted Squeaks' involvement to colouring in the Father Christmas hat.
We did enjoy threading the ribbons though (in the decorations we had remembered to put holes in).

So, yes, I love our decorations, yes, I would appreciate any advice on the best paints to use- and whether acrylic paints are worth investing in, and what sealant is best to use, I ended up with one for use on oil paintings- and seriously, there aren't!

I can't wait to make a lot more of these decorations, we made a couple using the cookie cutters and this worked really well, couple this with the food colouring and glitter- and we've got next year sorted!

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