These clay ornaments are a simple and fun way to create personalized DIY Christmas ornaments that will last for many years. Make some this Holiday season!
As a child, my family loved making Christmas ornaments with salt and flour. We would push our hands onto the surface, making a handprint, then let them dry. This recipe is similar but uses sand for a sturdier ornament.
Clay Ornament Recipe
The basic recipe is easy, but you can change up the ingredients to make it unique.
- 2 cups clean, dry sand
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup water (more or less)
- 1-1/4 cups salt
Mix the dry ingredients together well. Once they are mixed, add some water in small amounts, mixing well after each addition. It will be dry at first and kind of crumbly. Add a bit more water to make it more like a dough or pie crust. You may or may not need the entire cup of water, depending on the humidity in your home.
Personalize Your Ornaments
After forming the dough you can break off pieces to make your clay ornaments. Line your work area with parchment or wax paper. This makes clean up easy. If you use parchment paper, you can bake the ornaments right on it. Form the dough into the shape that you want, Don’t make it less than 1/4 inch thick or it could crack when being moved or during baking.
Here’s where it gets fun! You can literally make any design you want. Handprints with the name and date are always a hit for grandparents. Christmas trees or snowflakes are also fun. Did something cool happen during the year that you want to commemorate? Wedding bells or a diploma make for great memories. Maybe a pet’s paw print. The only design limits for these clay ornaments is your own imagination. Don’t forget the hole at the top for the hanging string!
Once you get your design on the front, you can bake the ornament. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 250°f. Shut off the oven and leave the ornament inside. It will need a few hours to dry completely.
Once it is dry, you can simply leave it as it is. Time may take a toll on it, so I cover the surface with a waterproof glaze. You can also use paint to bring your ornament to life. Add your string and hang them.
Other Clay Ornament Options
There are some things you can do to make your ornament stand out. One way is to use colored sand. With colored sand, you can create landscapes, fish or sunsets. Either work the sand into your dough or add it later for texture.
You can also add fun things like rocks, shells or pine cones. Press these into the surface well so that they stay on when it is baked. I made a larger memorial plaque for my dog when she passed away a few years ago. I didn’t have a paw print, but I had her collar and left room for a photo. It was a nice tribute.
You can glaze most of the clay ornament and leave a small section unglazed. This is a great opportunity to add some scent. I use cinnamon and clove essential oils on mine to bring forth the scents of the holidays. If you have an artificial Christmas tree, you can add some pine or fir essential oils to make it smell real. Remember that essential oils will evaporate after a while, so the scent will need to be refreshed from time to time.
One last thing that you can do is to use Himalayan Pink Salt instead of table salt. Pink Salt is thought to have calming properties and to help curb negativity. If nothing else, it’s pretty!
Tip: try making cinnamon applesauce ornaments too.