Friday, December 7, 2012

DIY Christmas Ornaments & Wrapping Paper

Mike and I are ardent do-it-ourselfers. It means more that way. Mike and the children find, chop down, and bring home the Christmas tree. We decorate it over the following two weeks with paper chains, garlands of popped popcorn strung with cranberries, and tree ornaments made of salt dough or cookies. When it comes time to take the tree down we save the prettiest salt dough ornaments for next year.

SALT DOUGH FOR CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS (or fun any time of year!) Salt dough is an inedible cookie dough. The salt preserves it. You mix it, roll it out, cut it into the shapes you want, and bake. When the ornaments have cooled, get out the plain old watercolor paints (or more professional ones) and decorate them to suit yourselves. They aren't particularly fragile. When finished, they are very hard and bitter, so your salt dough Christmas tree decorations won't suffer loss by nibbling. That's their big advantage over regular cookie ornaments.

Combine 1 c. salt, 4 c. flour, and 1 1/2 c. water. This is a very stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Then roll to 1/4 in. and cut with cookie cutter or imagination. Or you can mold little figures. Make a hole for the ribbon or string to hang them by before you bake. If you poke with a nail, you'll get about the right sized hole to hang the ornament from a tree branch. Don't make them too big and heavy or they'll weigh down your branches. Bake at 225° F for half an hour. Keep checking them so they don't scorch. Or use this slightly different salt dough recipe: Combine 4 c. salt, 2 c. cornstatch, and 2 c. water. Make your shapes and then bake at 200° F. Or, if you have the time, you can just leave them sitting out to dry. Takes about 48 hours to dry completely.

HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER Cook up a thick batch of clothes starch. Cool until you can put your hands into it. Separate into pans (dividing for as many colors as you want to make). Add poster paints (tempera). Mix well. Take a roll of shel or butcher paper and cut into desired lengths. Spread out on a picnic or long table for long pieces. Pour color on. Work with hands like finger paints. To make designs, raid your kitchen drawers and cupboards for any item of plastic or metal that will leave its unique design such as for tines, cookie cutters, bottles with molded designs, pastry blenders, apple corers, etc. Don't forget finger designs. Gold spray paint can be added for interest, or glitter, beads, stones, initials, or personal names. Spread out on the floor to dry. You can use old Christmas cards (cut up into small sizes) for tags. Judy 018 wrote, "We get free roll ends from the local newspaper office and use potato stamp decorations on it for whatever the occasion is."

[Adapted from the "Miscellaneous Recipes" section of Chapter 1: Oddments. Illustration copyright 1994 by Cindy Davis.]

1 comment:

Christmas ornaments said...

Good tips for Christmas ornaments tree . like this tips

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