Handmade memories: Salt Dough Decorations
Christmases with the kids are always special. So we wanted to share a way of making them last even longer, in the form of these cute and personalised salt dough decorations. Year after year you’ll be able to put them on the tree and remember just how small your little angels once were.
All you need to do is follow a few simple steps…
What you’ll need:
- For the salt dough:
- 300g plain flour
- 150g salt
- 1/3 cup water
- Cookie cutters / cups / bowls in various sizes
For the decoration:
- Clear varnish
- A length of ribbon or pipe cleaner
- Put the flour and salt into a bowl and mix together. Then pour on the water, and mix it up until it forms a dough.
- Using a rolling pin, roll your dough out until it’s 0.5cm-1cm thick.
- Now comes the fun part – persuade your child to gently push their hand (or foot) into the dough until it makes a nice impression.
- Then cut out your decoration using a cookie cutter. If you don’t have one big enough to fit around the handprint, just use a small bowl or cup, with a knife to help.
- Don’t forget to make a hole for hanging the decoration. You can do this with the end of a pencil or paintbrush.
- Cook your salt dough shape until it’s firm and dry. This might take 30 seconds in the microwave or 20 mins in the oven at 180°C. It all depends on how thick your dough is, but if it comes out a bit wet, keep on cooking.
- Once your dry dough has cooled, pick a colour and paint the shape of the handprint. And if it takes your fancy, add in some festive glitter while the paint is still wet. Once this is all dry, you can also add a clear varnish for extra longevity.
- Thread through some ribbon, hang on the tree and enjoy!
Handmade memories: Upcycled Stars
A pretty alternative to recycling those empty toilet rolls. Gather the kids together and get creative!
What you’ll need:
- Cardboard toilet rolls / kitchen roll
- PVA glue / glue dots
- Paint (and glitter paint if required)
- A length of ribbon or sparkly pipe cleaner
- Paint your toilet or kitchen rolls until completely covered and leave to dry. Once dry, you could also add a layer of glitter paint for extra sparkle.
- Cut your rolls into 1-inch sections. Press one end of each section to make a point, and you should end up with at least five petal-like shapes.
- Carefully glue one end of each petal in a ‘v’ shape (your kids might find sticky ‘glue dots’ easier) and stick it to another petal.
- Repeat until you’ve formed a nice star shape, then leave to dry. Here’s a tip: if your star keeps breaking apart, use clothes pegs to hold it together while the glue dries.
- Once dry, use your glue one more time to attach a length of pipe cleaner or ribbon. Then your star is ready to hang up!
Handmade memories: beautiful baubles
We don’t know about you, but we think messy homemade decorations are one of the best things about Christmas. Get your kids to make these hand-printed baubles when they’re tiny, and see how much they’ve grown year after year.
What you’ll need:
- A little helper
- White child-safe paint
- A shatterproof bauble in a contrasting colour
- Metallic pens
- Permanent marker
- Paint your little helper’s hand with a light-ish coating of child-safe paint. It might tickle, so be patient until it’s completely covered!
- Press their hand onto the bauble, being careful to keep those fingers still. You don’t want your design to smudge.
- Leave to dry for a few hours. You could keep your design simple and leave it there. Or if you want to create some Christmassy characters, use your marker pens to draw a snowman on each fingerprint.
- Hang on the tree and enjoy!
Handmade memories: origami stars
This magical decoration can be hung from the ceiling or from trees. The intricate paper folding might be a bit complicated for kids, but we promise they’ll love the end result.
What you’ll need:
- A square sheet of paper (a 12” square will make a 7” star)
- A thin piece of ribbon or string to hang up your star
Part 1: Making the pentagon
- Fold your square of paper in half. The ‘rectangle’ you end up with should be landscape.
- Fold the bottom left corner until it touches the top of the paper, then unfold it again.
- Fold the top left corner until it touches the bottom of the paper, then unfold it again. The creases should now make a ‘cross’ shape.
- Fold the bottom right hand corner until it touches the middle of the cross. This time, keep it folded there.
- Your shape should now have two ‘layers’ to it. Fold the top layer of paper in half, as shown.
- Can you see the edge that runs from ‘A’ to ‘B’ on our photo? Fold that up so it runs along edge C.
- Turn your paper over, then fold it in half along the line shown.
- Still following? Great. Now it’s time to get the scissors out! Cut along the line shown.
- You’re halfway there. Unfold the paper, and you’ll have a perfect pentagon.
Part 2: Making the star
- Start with the ‘foldy’ side facing upwards. Then fold your pentagon in half five times, until you have a set of creases as shown.
- Fold up the bottom edge of your pentagon, so the bottom corners touch the creases you just made. Then unfold it again.
- Repeat this with all five sides of the pentagon. You’ll see a star shape starting to emerge in the creases.
- Now comes the tricky bit. Fold the left edge of your pentagon inwards, along one of the creases you just made. Then fold up the bottom edge into the middle. As you do this, the corner of the pentagon should be poking out to the left, as shown. Press down hard so it all creases nicely.
- Unfold your pentagon completely, then repeat step 4 for each side of the shape. Your final set of creases should look like this.
- Again, unfold your pentagon completely. You should now pinch each corner together, before pushing all five of them into the middle of the shape. After a bit of gentle wiggling, your paper should fall into a star shape (that’s why you did all that pentagon folding at the beginning).
- Flip over your star, and fold the right edge into the middle of your shape. Be careful not to fold the star’s point at the same time.
- Rotate your star to the next ‘point’, and fold in the edges four more times. You should be left with a perfect origami star!
Part 3: The final touch
Glue on a little piece of ribbon or string, and hang up your handiwork for your family and friends to enjoy. Why not reward yourself with a mince pie?