I was determined to make a Christmas tree ornament of our dog Emmett’s paw print this year. I never did capture a paw print of my late Peanut, and that’s one thing I wish I had in some form.
Our ornaments growing up were all handmade salt dough — little works of art my mother crafted and hand painted that we hung with glee for many, many years. The dough mix is quick and simple, roughly as follows:
- One part salt
- Two parts flour
- One part water (but start slow)
The dough rolls easily, is not sticky, and is easily transferred to a cookie sheet for baking. Emmie was so good with making her paw impression that I decided to use my leftover dough to try my hand at a raised ornament, too.
For the impression, I simply cut a circle in the flattened dough, bribed the dog with treats, and had her stand on the counter for a minute.
For the raised ornament, I simply used the spare circle of dough, rolled the rest by hand to make some spheres, and placed them on the background circle with drops of water.
Simple salt dough
Used a floured glass for the cookie cutter
Used leftover dough for a raised ornament
Pressed and raised raw ornaments go into the convection oven
Painting after cooking
After baking the ornaments in the convection oven, I used acrylic paint as a base layer and let them dry for 24 hours. When baking them, don’t worry about burning them or achieving an even color because you’ll paint them. Instead, bake them enough so there is no more moisture in the dough. Extreme over-baking will cause the dough to crumble, but as all things in life, moderation is key. Bake 10 minutes at a time until the ornament is hard.
Please stand by for photos of the finished ornaments!