Long before Freya was born I liked to add a little homemade-touch to my Christmas gifts, even though my (lack of) skills made everything seem a little…”rustic” – hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
From homemade wrapping paper to the year I embroidered cloth bags for everyone (by the end, I’ve never been so pleased to have a small family), I’ve tried to put my stamp on things. I think it’s even more important now Freya is here do something personal that she can give as her gift – and no one seems to mind if they are, how shall I put it, less than perfect.
This year, I thought we would have a go at salt dough Father Christmas handprint ornaments, which seemed like a fun activity for her (and simple enough for me to follow).
As always, we had varying degrees of success in our THREE attempts. I should have a sub heading on any crafting posts “making a big old mess so you don’t have to”.
Just in case you were thinking of doing something similar, I thought I would share what did and didn’t work for us.
There are several different recipes to try but the one below created a nice dough (where it says cups, I just grabbed three matching mugs from the cupboard).
One and a half cups of plain flour.
One cup of salt.
Half a cup of water.
- Mix the flour and salt well before gradually adding the water to make it into a dough. If it remains sticky, keep adding a pinch of flour.
- Roll out your dough to your preferred thickness (I did some that were about 1cm thick which worked well) and then help your child imprint their hand. They need to push down hard enough to make an indent but not hard enough to go all the way through, which is trickier than it sounds.
- Remember to make a hole in them if you’re planning to hang them as decorations. A straw makes a nice shape, if you happen to have one.
- Once you’ve cut out your hands it’s time to work out how to dry them. After burning our first batch (I know), I attempted to air dry the second lot but after two weeks they still weren’t quite dry (although it was October). I put our third batch on the bottom shelf of the oven while I cooked Sunday lunch and they puffed up. I later Googled the reason for this and it suggested pricking the dough would solve the issue. I’ll try that next time.
- If, like me, you are not that artistic there are plenty of suggestions for how to decorate on Pinterest. We used acrylic paints, which seemed to work well. Freya started painting the trees and then the heart before helping me paint the handprints (and, indeed, her own hands). I did have to finish them off after she had gone to bed.
- Once everything is dry, thread a bit of ribbon (I also wrote a message on the back and her age), wrap them up and job done.
Freya is lucky to have both sets of grandparents and a great grandma so hopefully they will appreciate these gifts (as only grandparents can).
Do you like crafting at Christmas? What are your favourite makes?