Christmas Ornaments: Salt vs. Cornstarch Dough

homemade christmas ornaments

There are a lot of dough recipes floating around good ol Pinterest land and I’ve been eager to try a few out.  Since it’s been especially frosty. . . highs of 3 degrees, in fact, and we had some special friends coming over, the conditions seemed perfect to test out some of these doughs out.

I put two recipes to the test today and will list the pros and cons so you know what you’re getting into before you turn your kitchen into a winter wonder flour land and deplete half your Christmas cheer.  I’ve had one too many craft projects suck the life right out of me and now is not the time for soul sucking crafts. . . you have Christmas cookies and cards to make after all!

My dear friend, Suz, and her little one came over with treats from Great Harvest (next time you are there try a pumpkin muffin-oh man) and after devouring every crumb, we got to work.  I decided to start with the Cornstarch and Baking Soda dough recipe because it had a shorter bake time.

Take a look at both recipes and see which one works best for your Christmas festivities.

handmade dough christmas ornaments

Cornstarch and Baking Soda Dough

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup baking soda

3/4 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine cornstarch, baking soda, and water in sauce pan.  Stir over medium heat until dough forms and is the consistency of dry mashed potatoes.  Remove from heat and place in bowl with a damp cloth over dough ball (to prevent from drying out) and let cool.  Once the dough is cool to touch, sprinkle cornstarch on the counter surface and roll dough out to desired thickness-we did about 1/4 of an inch.  Cookie cut away.  You can use a toothpick to make holes for string to make ornament.

Lay ornaments on baking sheet and bake in oven for about 30 minutes.  Take out and let them continue to dry on a flat surface.

Pros:

  • Quick baking time
  • Dough is sturdier than salt dough so it’s really easy for small hands to handle
  • Dough is whiter than salt dough making it look like more like plaster

Cons:

  • Blemishes in dough are extremely noticeable (like indents or scratches from transferring dough from counter to pan)
  • Baking too long will promote cracking in dough
  • You need to cook dough in a sauce pan (an extra step compared to Salt Dough)

Salt Dough

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in bowl until dough ball forms.  If dough is tacky, add a little more flour.  Roll dough out on floured surface and cut shapes.  Use toothpick to make holes for string to make ornaments.  Transfer to cookie sheet and bake for 2-3 hours.

Pros:

  • Dough is quick to make
  • The baked ornaments are more rustic looking and hide small blemishes better
  • Seem less delicate once baked

Cons:

  • Dough is extremely elastic and soft-dificult to get good hand prints from wiggly babies and kids
  • Salt really dries out hands (no fun in winter!)
  • Dough takes a longer time to bake

Here’s my conclusion. . .

The cornstarch dough was great for squirmy hands.  It was sturdier and seems easier for little ones to handle and play with.  The dough dries very smooth making it an easy surface for kids to paint.  If selecting a Christmas craft to do with your kiddos (especially if they are tiny), I would recommend the cornstarch dough.  You’ll at least get one good handprint :)

If you are more interested in actually making (*ahem) decent looking ornaments for presents or gift tags, then I would go with the Salt Dough.  I think the finished product looks prettier and the texture of the dough when it dries is really nice.

rolling out the dough

Rolling out the dough!

handprint in the dough

Trying to get handprints for grammas!!

handprint in dough

Handprint fail.

What a fun day inside with our friends!

goodbye

Goodbye Ben!!

Hope this helps with Christmas crafting!!

Let me know which one you try and like the best by leaving me a comment below.  And feel free to share dough ornament tips you’ve learned.

Merry Christmas!

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Sugar Plum Bazaar and Christmas Goods

This weekend I had the privilege of stepping in for my friend Ashley (Bow and Arrow Art) and co-hosting a booth at the super cute Sugar Plum Bazaar.  This eclectic market has a blend of everything unique and pretty and vendors are tucked into rooms and hallways (even bathrooms) inside a historic Denver mansion.  I shared a small room with two other vendors on the third floor (we lovingly nicknamed it the treehouse).  Though it got a little toasty by the end of the day (78 degrees-whew), I had a blast and was honored to have met two other creative minds.

I love creating and crafting and sewing, but I am still praying for a vision and craft that I want to pursue.  So far I just like to experiment on the sewing machine, recreate pinterest finds, and perfect the timing of getting ice onto a hot glue gun burn.  I contributed a random assortment of goods to Sunday’s display including infinity scarves, wall and stubby vases, some burlap flags, and hand warmers-most of which are still for sale ;)

Sugar Plum Bazaar A Ruffled Heart Booth

My fellow crafters are just too great to pass up a little shout out.  I want to formally introduce you to two small businesses that will bring cheer to you this holiday season and for the rest of your life. . .promise.

First up. . .

Bow and Arrow Art

Ashley Greeno

Ashley is super fun and full of life.  About 80% of our conversations are just laughing.  She turns up the happiness in any room.  She also has a gift for handlettering and designing fabulously hip patterns turning the average greeting card into something dipped in sunshine and proverbial glitter.  Mmm it’s good.  And for those who think they can handletter, I dare you to try.  And when you’re done, eat the humble pie (like I did) and marvel at the gift Ashley has been bestowed.

Here are some of her classics (and they are for sale on her Etsy site).

Bow and Arrow Art

Bow and Arrow Art

 

Bow and Arrow Art card

 

 

Bow and Arrow Art

She has Christmas prints too-so hurry on over!!

Up Next. . .

Jemma Baby

When Andy and I hiked to the treehouse to set up shop I saw my neighbor, Jemma Baby, and I gasped. . .this girl has got it going on.  Her packaging made me salivate, and her graphics made me want a baby blanket for myself (that is.. . me, not my 7 month old).  I was nervous to meet the mastermind behind Jemma Baby, but it turns out the mastermind was a pleasant, extremely fun and easygoing mom of two.  I ate up everything Mary (Jemma Baby) shared about her adventures and her creative process.  I learned about her machinery and that she designs and prints her own fabric, all her labels, and creates it all-cutting, sewing, etc.  Love.  She inspired me to keep dreaming and creating.

Jemma Baby

If you need a baby gift, or need a well designed small blanket for yourself, then head on over to Jemma Baby.  You will not be disappointed.

Here are some lovely things I was able to take home to River (and you should consider for that special bundle in your life).

Jemma Baby

Floatees Jemma Baby

Jemma Baby

They come with discs for a 3D tub experience!

jemma baby

Thanks for taking time to learn about these two ladies and the art they are creating.  I hope you are inspired too and maybe found some unique and lovely Christmas gifts for your fam and friends.

a ruffled heart

Riv enjoying her silky lovee from Jemma Baby. She’s getting a little squirmy for iphone shots.