Easy DIY salt dough tree decoration ideas
As we all look to make cutbacks this festive season in light of the cost-of-living crisis, there’s a cheap and simple way to make tree decorations that also work as gifts.
Cheap and Easy Christmas Tree Decorations
You don’t need to spend loads on excessive Christmas decorations this year. You can make some simple, handmade items using ingredients that can be found in your cupboard.
We’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to know about making fantastic salt dough Christmas tree decorations. You don’t need to be a Blue Peter presenter to make them – salt dough is cheap and super-simple to make, using just three ingredients.
Get the kids involved – they’ll love being creative and making these decorations. If you’re getting little ones involved, remind them that salt dough isn’t edible.
Not only can it be a lovely and fun way to spend some quality time together, they can make some cute keepsakes for your Christmas tree that you’ll treasure for years to come.
They also make great gifts for family members – another way you can help keep costs down.
How to make salt dough
250g plain flour
125g table salt
1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper to stop it sticking. Alternatively, use a silicone baking sheet.
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together into a ball.
3. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and roll out your dough until it’s about 1cm thick.
4. Cut out shapes and figures using cookie cutters, or simply mould it into anything you want. (Remember the bigger and fatter the decoration, the longer it’ll take to harden).
5. If you’re making ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree, don’t forget to make a small hole in the dough with a sharp pencil so you can hang it with ribbon or string. You want the hole to be at the top, but not too near the edge, otherwise it’ll break.
6. Put all the decorations on the lined baking tray and place in the oven for approximately three hours (or until solid).
7. Leave to cool and then decorate however you like. Acrylic paint is ideal for salt dough, but felt-tips and glitter work well too.
8. Once your decorations are finished and completely dry, thread some ribbon or string through the hole and hang them on your tree, or wrap them as gifts.
Top tip: To keep costs down, put your salt dough shapes in an airing cupboard or on the radiator for a few days, to dry out the dough, instead of using your oven.
7 ideas for salt dough Christmas tree decorations
1. Handprints and footprints
Making salt dough ornaments with your baby’s handprint or footprint is a lovely way to commemorate their first Christmas. Cut the dough into round or oval shapes, then gently press your baby’s hand or foot into the dough.
If you have a cat or dog (who’s willing to get involved) you could make an ornament featuring their pawprint. They make a great gift for all the animal lovers in your family.
3. Christmas trees
Use a tree-shaped cookie cutter to make these salt dough decorations. Then decorate them in whichever way you like. You could even stick on some pom-poms for the baubles.
4. Reindeer ornaments
Did you know, if you turn a gingerbread man cookie cutter upside down, it looks a bit like a reindeer’s face? The legs become the antlers and the head can be turned into its red nose.
5. Round ornaments
Kids love to be creative, so let them draw/decorate their own Christmas scene on a simple circular or oval shape to hang on the tree. You could also turn them into alternative baubles.
6. Family hearts
For this idea, you’ll need a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Cut out some hearts and decorate, then write each family member’s name in the middle of each heart.
7. Father Christmas
Turn your kids’ handprints into Father Christmas faces by getting them to spread their fingers slightly and pressing their hand into the dough. Cut out the shape and turn it upside-down so the fingers become the beard and the thumb becomes the end of his hat. Let your child decorate in Santa’s traditional red and white colours.