After the success of last year’s homemade crackers, we had my knitting group round for Christmas crafting again. This time we decided to try something different: salt dough ornaments.
There’s plenty of recipes and ideas on the internet, but I particularly liked the idea of stamping on images, from Dishfunctional Designs. There were lots of fun cookie cutter shapes on the go,
as well as some beautifully crafted designs that Paul Hollywood would be pleased with.
Several websites were all for drying them in the microwave, which was a lot quicker, but for us it didn’t quite work out as planned! There were some rather frazzled ornaments, and some which bubbled up and got a little misshapen.
In the end everyone opted to go the patient route and dry them out in batches in a low oven. Those came out really well. The ones with buttons and beads were fine in the oven too.
I didn’t finish mine on the day, but I continued painting later on.
We can advise that from our experience, the first rule of salt dough ornaments is Don’t Use The Microwave.
The second rule is Make Bigger Holes, because the holes you make for the ribbon or twine to go through are deceptively small. The dough expands when drying, making the hole smaller, and then the layers of paint and glaze make it smaller still.
We also had some issues with glazing using PVA glue, but clear varnish, clear nail varnish, or decoupage glaze would work just as well too, or if you’re not planning to store these for next year then glaze isn’t a necessity.
It was all a bit of an experiment, a bit chaotic, a bit distressing when a penguin got a burnt tummy in the microwave (he was rescued in the end), but most importantly it was all good fun. And Chef Gareth was on top form, keeping the crafters well fed with tagine.
The next weekend Gareth and I got the rest of our ornaments out and put up the tree.
I was then away the following week, and when I got home, there was a lovely new bauble waiting for me on our tree. Gareth and I are now engaged!
Much love and happiness at Christmas to all!