Obsessed with the look of porcelain ornaments but not so much the price, we set out to make our own. With a few simple items we already had in the kitchen and the craft room we made these awesome dual purpose ornament/gift tags that are just as adorable as they are customizable. Wanna see how we made our gifts look like a million without spending a dime? Then READ ON thrifty creative ones!
First and foremost, these are NOT salt dough ornaments. Close….but still, not. Salt dough takes forever to dry in the oven and the end result isn’t as smooth as the porcelain look we’re going for nor is it as sparkly white. We alleviated both issues with the Baking Soda/Corn Starch option and the results were, well…..perfect. To make your own you’ll need the following:
- Baking Soda – 2 cups
- Corn Starch – 1 cup
- A Big Pot
- 1 1/4 Cup of COOL Water
- A Dish Cloth
- Cookie Cutters of your choice
- Wax Paper
- A Rolling Pin
- A Straw
In the pot mix 2 cups Baking Soda and 1 cup Corn Starch until blended. Then add 1 & 1/4 cups of cool water not forgetting to stir constantly. It will eventually become a running but well-mixed liquid. Next place it on the stove under a medium heat, stirring constantly.
At first it will seem like the stirring will never end but once it begins to bubble, it will become a doughy ball rather quickly so make sure you keep on a’mixin’ to make sure none of it burns. Once it becomes a doughy ball, dump it into a large bowl and cover it with a damp cloth SO THAT IT CAN COOL before kneading. (TIP: This is MUY IMPORTANTE otherwise you’ll give yourself the gift of 2nd degree burns this year.)
Once the dough has cooled, knead it until it has the constancy of play-doh. Then lay out the wax paper and use the rolling pin to smooth out the dough for the cookie cutter placement. If it’s a little too sticky still, just add a bit of corn starch to the wax paper and knead again – much like you would with cookie dough. (TIP: Unlike cookie dough, which is super awesome to bake thick sugar cookies with, this dough is to be AIR-DRIED only. (otherwise they, like salt dough, will turn from crisp white to pale tan. Ewww.) Therefore, the thicker the dough, the longer it takes to dry. Unless you want to wait 48 hours to paint and send them, try to stay around an 1/8″ thick. Any thicker won’t make them any more sturdy but will triple your air drying time.
Once your shapes are cut and separated, use the straw to make the holes for your desired method of hanging apparatus. Now it’s time to let these babies air dry. TIP: As the freshly cut pieces begin to dry, they’ll start to bend upwards and the drier parts will look bright white. To keep your ornament tags nice and flat, flip them as they dry and try not to handle them again for at least 24 hours. Unless you’re going for that ‘fingerprinted’ look, which would be totally cool as a place setting for a Murder Mystery Party, now that we think about it. (Hmmm…keeping that idea on the back burner…)
Once they’re nice and dry (and sparkly white!) it’s time to paint and decorate however you wish. We used acrylic paint for the colored parts and metallic sharpies for the writing but you can use just about anything to decorate these little gems. From letter stamps or decorative cookie presses (while the dough is still damp, obviously) to washi tape and decoupaged magazine cut outs, the sky is the limit when it comes to making them customized. We also loved the look of just simple script using an extra fine point sharpie, which we’ll be highlighting for a later post on ways to use this same concept for non-holiday themes! The best part about this DIY ditty, aside from it’s completely customizable concept, is that it can be done alone or with friends and all at the cost of $0! The memories created while making these little handmade wonders truly make the season bright and are guaranteed to be cherished long after those store-bought gifts wear out. From all of us at DIY in :90 and EMC Squared, we wish you a very happy holiday and a creatively brilliant new year!