Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Handprint and Footprint Ornaments

We wanted to do something special for the grandparents for Nathan's first Christmas.  So where did I go?  Pinterest, of course!  I found this and was instantly inspired.  This is my account of our salt dough ornament adventure.

The Recipe

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour + 1/2 cup extra
  • 1 cup water
The Instructions
  • Heat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
  • Add 1 cup flour to the salt.
  • Add water to the mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Use the extra flour as needed to result in a fairly dry dough ball. When giving the dough the fingerprint test (press your finger into the dough), your finger should pull away cleanly.
  • Sprinkle flour on counter and place your dough ball onto the surface. 
  • Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about an inch thick.
  • Use a cookie cutter of the correct size or the rim of a drinking glass (or some other round object of the correct size) to cut out the round ornaments.  
  • Continue to roll remainder of dough into a ball, roll out flat, and cut into circles until all dough is used.
  • Press hand or foot into the flat dough circle, making sure to get a good impression.
  • Place ornaments onto wax paper and wax paper onto cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours or until ornaments are no longer doughy. 
  • Remove from oven, cool, and paint if desired.
Sounds simple, right?  But nothing is ever simple when we are involved!  We decided to double the recipe, because the pin I found said the recipe would make 3 handprints, and our plan was to do three hands and three feet, that way we would have a set for my parents and for Jon's mom, and then one set for us.  We found a cookie cutter we liked from a box of 101 cookie cutters we bought several years ago and have never used, and got started trying to make the dough.  Something you should know about where we live - it's humid.  All the time.  Even in mid-December, it's as humid as a sauna.  So the dough never turned into a "fairly dry dough ball."  Keep in mind if you live in a humid place, you will need A LOT more flour than the recipe calls for, which makes more dough.  We had so much of this stuff when we were finished that we had to come up with other uses for it.  And that's why we ended up with all these:

Yes, you do see dog paws, dog bones, and little gingerbread people.  We had way too much dough!  I do love the dog paws, though, and the bones will be painted and each dog's name will be printed on one with a metallic Sharpie or painted on with some cool paint.  We haven't finished those yet, they are sitting on my craft desk right now.  

Anyway, we baked them for something like 5 hours, and then we discovered they were still doughy on the back, so we turned them over and baked them for another couple of hours.  In the end, this gift took longer than any other gift we gave, but they turned out SO CUTE that I don't even care.  See...

Sorry for the blurry photo, it's from my phone.  I love the paint we ended up using - it was just a nice acrylic craft paint that we got at Hobby Lobby.  We also glazed them with a glittery ceramic glaze, which gave them some nice sparkle.  Christmas ornaments should always sparkle, in my opinion!  

Here's the blue paint we used: Metallic Blue Pearl
And the white: Titanium White
And the glaze: Sparkle Glaze

A few tips.  
- If you are trying to do this with a small baby, tap his or her palm a few times with your fingers to get them to open up their hand all the way.  I don't know why this works, but it does.  Remember, if you don't get a good impression, it's okay.  You can roll it back into a ball and flatten it to start over.  Nothing is set in stone until it is baked.  
- If you are doing dog paws, just put the dough on the cookie sheet and then put the cookie sheet onto the floor.  Hold a treat in one hand and pick up the dog's paw in the other.  If they will sit and stay, your job will be easier.  If not, you will be wrestling a dog for an hour or two.  If you can pick up the paw and direct it to the dough, you can get the impression fairly easily.  
- If you want to make a hole for a ribbon to hang it on a Christmas tree, use a straw and just poke through before you bake.  This make the perfect hole for a small ribbon.  
- Choose a ribbon that complements your colors.  Ours have snowmen on them in the same blue as the ornament.  
- Get some sort of Sharpie or metallic marker with a fine enough point that you can write something, but not so fine that you can't see it, and write the child's name and the year on the ornament, either in front or on back.  Grandparents love to have dates on their crafts.  

So that's pretty much it!  This is a really fun craft to do together, and the grandparents loved it.  You should totally consider doing one of these for your next gift opportunity if you haven't already.  And now I'm going back to Pinterest to see what our next craft will be...

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