I saw these all over Pinterest last year. And, pinned them so I would remember to make them for this Christmas. Unfortunately, the pins I pinned, didn’t lead to a good recipe. So, I ended up trying a few common recipes for homemade ornaments and will share some helpful tips.
This seems to be the most common homemade ornament recipe out there.
2 cups baking soda (one small box – 1 lb)
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups cold water
Mix together the baking soda and the cornstarch. Then, add the water.
Stir together well.
On medium heat, keep stirring. You can’t stop stirring or it doesn’t come together well. But, it comes together in a few minutes. In the beginning, it looks like this:
In a couple of minutes, it gets lumpy.
Keep stirring. Then it starts to solidify and looks like mashed potatoes. Make sure you get to this stage but don’t overcook.
Now, dump it onto a plate and spread it out. This is so it can cool. Place a damp piece of paper towel on it, to keep the dough moist. NOT wet. That adds too much water to the dough and then you end up with a sticky mess.
After about 5-10 minutes, it should be cool to the touch. Knead it a few times and it will feel smooth and soft. If it is sticky, let it sit for a few minutes (covered with the barely damp paper towel – you want it to dry a bit).
Roll out on parchment paper. I liked the end result of about 1/4 inch thickness. Many recipes suggest 1/2 inch thickness but personally, I didn’t like that size. It just made the ornament seem to chunky.
Don’t forget to make a hole so you can hang your homemade ornament. I just used a straw.
How to dry these was another area where many recipes seemed to differ.
Personally, I liked the look of the naturally dried ornaments better. If you bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, like some recipes suggest, they brown.
See the above snowflakes? They were baked. The tree was allowed to air dry. I did put my tree batch into the oven at 100 degrees (dough proof temp). for an hour, turned the oven off and let them dry overnight.
Also, if you look at the Christmas tree, you will see the pattern from rolling the jelly jar on the dough.
I did find the air-dried ornaments were more fragile than the baked ones. I tried spray painting the ornaments. The green spray paint looked great but the white ended up looking ‘blueish’.
The tree on the right had the spray paint. The left was plain, just air dried.
When I used off-white spray paint, it looked too yellow. So, for my white ornaments, I left them plain.
I did buy puffy paint to make the little painted on ornaments. Loved that look! Here is my green spray painted ornament with some puffy paint ornaments.
I think this would be a fun activity with kids!
Oh, one more tip. Do not let these ornaments dry on parchment paper. The moisture from the ornaments makes parchment paper wrinkle and then you get that pattern in your ornament.
Have fun with these! I plan on making some more!!