DIY Christmas Ornaments

Have I mentioned how excited we are to be celebrating our first Christmas together? So excited that our tree has been up, lit and decorated since November 11th. One month ago today!

We've each acquired our own collection of ornaments over the years, but it wasn't quite enough to outfit our apartment-sized tree. Not wanting to spend too much money on decorative or themed ornaments until we get a bigger tree, I decided to put our DIY-ness to the test and create some originals.

I drew inspiration from a salt dough recipe I found on Pinterest and bought a few Christmas stamps from the dollar bins at Michael's. It was a fun Sunday craft for Thomas and I to do together - we're all about making memories.

{my favorite was the "partridge in a pear tree" stamp, but the text didn't stamp very well into the dough. The one that worked the best was probably the peppermint candy}

1 cup flour
1/2 cup table salt
1/2 cup warm water

I doubled the recipe and it made approximately 18 ornaments. Simply place all ingredients in a mixer and blend until smooth. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick before cutting into shapes. The dough will not rise - placing them in the oven dries it out - so use your best judgement on the thickness. You don't want it so thin that it breaks when dry, but if it's too thick it will take forever to dry.

{oh hey, mr. reed.}
{without a proper biscuit cutter, we got creative and used a votive holder to cut perfect circles}
{Poke a hole for string or ribbon using a skewer or straw. We used the end of a beater from our hand mixer and it did the trick. Don't forget this step. Wouldn't you just kick yourself if you took them out of the oven to realize you have no way of hanging them?!}

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for four hours at 200 degrees. Even after the time was up, I let the ornaments sit on the counter for a few hours to ensure they were completely dry. See the rough edges of the ornaments? Easy fix. I used a nail file to smooth everything out and they turned out beautifully!

I used extra jute from our wedding to hang the ornaments for a shabby feel. If I could go back and do it again, I might add a little shimmer to the dough before drying. I tried to mimic the painted look of the original recipe {see above}, but the metallic silver and gold craft paint I used on the stamps did NOT turn out pretty.

You can also see another of my DIY ornaments in the photo on the right. Using another "Pinterest-spiration," I found clear plastic ornaments for $0.50 at Michael's and filled them with strips of paper cut from our wedding program {photographed above} and invitation. I cut the strips so that words from each could still be read, and curled the paper around a pencil to give it some volume. I then dropped the curled paper into the ornament and voilĂ !

On the topic of ornaments, I've been searching for the perfect "just married" or "our first Christmas" ornament for a few weeks now and have yet to find one I love. Any suggestions?


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