Salt Dough Ornaments with Video!

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  • Make Salt Dough Ornaments to decorate your tree and gifts this holiday season. This easy Salt Dough recipe is tried and true! I’ve been making it annually for the past 30 years – a holiday tradition I hope you enjoy, too! 

    salt dough ornament recipe to make ornaments to hang on tree

    One of favorite activities to do this time of year is to make Salt Dough Ornaments. We include it in our advent calendar.

    salt dough ornament on tree

    Growing up, I remember making these ornaments with my best friend Liz. They’re so easy to make that her mom left us in their second kitchen unattended to finish mixing them and cut them out. Before you knew it, we grew tired of cutting ornaments and began cooking pizza.

    salt dough ornaments in a pile next to twine

    We added an egg to the dough to make “pizza crust”, and searched the refrigerator for ingredients. Ketchup seemed like a great idea for pizza sauce and parmesan would make a great substitute for traditional cheese. Of course we had to have someone taste test it – fortunately, her little sister Maria was there. While it wasn’t edible, it’s one of my favorite childhood memories. Fortunately I’ve grown as a cook.

    salt dough ornament hanging on tree

    We continued to make them each year and making Salt Dough Ornaments has become one of our favorite holiday traditions!

    salt dough gift tag tied on gift

    Today I’m sharing my classic Salt Dough recipe. They’re quick to make and fun for all ages. You can do as little or as much as you want with them. While I often keep them classic, you can dye the dough with food coloring to make Color Salt Dough Ornaments, add glitter, paint them, stamp them, and more! Use your imagination to create a one-of-a-kind ornament perfect for your tree or gift-giving.

    Customize your salt dough ornaments with finger prints, hand prints, stamps and more! You can even paint them after they have been baked. It’s a fun activity for people of all ages!

    They’re not just for Christmas! Make hearts for Valentine’s Day, or eggs for an adorable Easter tree! The options are endless!

    Salt Dough Ornaments Ingredients

    This salt dough ornament recipe uses only a few staple ingredients, making it a great last minute project or gift idea.

    • Flour – all purpose flour, no need to sift.
    • Salt – table salt.
    • Water – all you need to bind the salt and flour to make these easy ornaments.

    How to Make Salt Dough

    You can see just how easy it is to make Salt Dough Ornaments by watching the video in this post, reading the printable recipe or following along with the step by step instructions below! I keep this activity limited to a half hour from start to finish. The girls help make the dough, roll it out, and cut it!

    1. Combine ingredients. If it’s dry, you can add additional water.mound of salt dough next to rolling pin
    2. Knead the salt dough. If you have a KitchenAid Mixer, you can use the dough hook to do the work for you! Otherwise, you can knead the dough with your hands…a perfect job for little hands. The more you knead the dough, the smoother it will be and therefore the smoother your ornaments will be.
    3. Roll out the salt dough on parchment paper for easy cleanup. salt dough rolled out on parchment paper
    4. Using cookie cutters, cut your shapes. You can remove them and place them on a cookie sheet or peel the excess dough around them and transfer your parchment paper to your baking sheet. 
    5. Optional: Press a finger or hand into your salt dough ornament for a beautiful keepsake or gift. salt dough ornament with fingerprint
    6. Using a straw, make a hole for ornament hooks or ribbons. It’s the perfect job for children of all ages. salt dough ornaments on baking sheet with straw to poke holes
    7. Bake your salt dough ornaments until moisture has been eliminated.

    salt dough ornament hanging on tree

    Tips for Making Salt Dough Ornaments and Variations

    Make No Bake Salt Dough Ornaments

    In fact, you don’t have to bake them if you have patience! You can simply set them out to allow them to dry until they harden. Just place in a warm, dry place 3-7 days!

    How Long Does it Take for Salt Dough Ornaments to Dry?

    Dry time depends on the size and thickness of your ornaments. They can take several minutes to several hours. Baking them helps speed up the process, removing the moisture from the ornaments.

    What to Do if Your Ornaments Get Puffy / Rise

    • Reduce the temperature and extend baking time.
    • Gradually add in water, only using as much as you need.

    How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments Shiny

    I prefer mine matte, but if you want them to appear glossy or to add a photograph, use ModPodge! You can also seal them with polyurethane spray for a glossy look without a lot of effort.

    Can you Make Salt Dough in Advance?

    Salt Dough lasts up to a week when sealed in an airtight container (ziplock bags work well) and refrigerated. You can make the dough and just have kids or grandkids help with cutting shapes and holes.

    How Long Do Salt Dough Ornaments Keep?

    Believe it or not, 30+ years! I have childhood Salt Dough ornaments that are still in incredible shape!

    salt dough ornament

    salt dough recipe

    This Salt Dough Ornament recipe yields a lot of ornaments – the number will vary based on the cookie cutters you use.

    Salt Dough Ornaments Make Great Gifts

    Make an ornament with a fingerprint or larger ornament with a baby’s hand as a beautiful keepsake for grandma and grandpa! Salt Dough Ornaments also make beautiful gift tags. You can even make dog paw print ornaments! You can find this red and white twine here.

    You can see just how easy it is in the YouTube video in the printable recipe card.

    I hope you enjoy this Salt Dough Ornament recipe as much as we do! Please leave a 5 star rating in the comments below!

    salt dough ornament
    5 from 10 votes

    Salt Dough Ornaments

    Salt Dough Ornaments made with just 3 staple ingredients! Easy enough for little hands this classic salt dough recipe is a fun family tradition! A tried and true recipe to decorate your tree and gifts!

    Keyword christmas, christmas craft, craft, dough ornaments, how to make salt dough, how to make salt dough ornaments, kids, salt dough ornament recipe, salt dough ornaments, salt dough recipe
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 35 minutes
    Servings 48


    • 2 c flour
    • 1 c salt
    • 3/4 c water (more if needed)


    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
    2. Mix flour & salt together.
    3. Gradually add in water and mix well.

    4. If your mixture is still a little dry, add a little additional water until barely moist.
    5. Knead until smooth.
    6. Roll out dough to desired thickness.
    7. Cut with cookie cutters.
    8. Punch a hole to hang/tie with.
    9. Bake 20 minutes on a cookie sheet {preferably lined with parchment paper}.
    10. Flip over and bake 10 additional minutes.

    Recipe Video

    Recipe Notes

    Baking time will vary based on your cookie cutter size. For smaller, more delicate ornaments, reduce baking time. For large ornaments, increase baking time.


    (Originally published December 2013)

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