I saw a post on Facebook recently. It was directions to make your own salt dough ornaments. The picture had a child's hand transformed into a Santa Claus.
But not exactly right for this family. My control-freak self would have loved to take over this project and shoo the kids out of the room after they had made their cute little hand imprints. Then this project would have looked the way I wanted it to.
Well, my 4 year old had some very specific ideas of her own and she knew what she wanted this ornament to look like.
I really should have seen that one coming.
After warring with said control-freak within me, I came to the conclusion that, in the end, this was HER project. THE GIRLS were the ones giving these as gifts.
I love perfectly-made, cute, kid crafts, but I want my girls to know that their ideas are valuable, what they make is beautiful (and age appropriate), and their gifts are heart-felt and meaningful - not mommy-dictated and impersonal.
Anyways, I let both girls choose what they wanted to do. Of course, the younger one copied the older, but that's ok. She's 2.
So...here's the recipe I found online. I doubled it and wrote down the doubled proportions. So you can get 4, toddler-sized hands out of this.
1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup water
Mix the salt and flour together. Add the water and knead with your hands until it forms a stiff dough.
Easy, eh? I don't think I've ever used so much salt in a recipe in my life. I guess that's why it's called SALT dough.
I broke the dough into 4 equal parts and pounded each flat. The girls then made impressions of their hands in the dough (2 each).
I used a sharp knife to trim around each impression and to make a hole at the top. Our "top" was actually the bottom of their hands or the palm.
The impressions were arranged on a greased cookie sheet.
The oven was set.
And then they baked.
For 3 hours.
Once they were done (and hard as rock), they were set to cool for a bit.
Then we broke out the paint. E insisted on pink (as I said earlier) and H wanted orange. I had red, white, and yellow in the basement so I attempted to make my own pink and orange.
I ended up with red that was slightly pink and red that was slightly orange.
Dried, they look like the same color - red. The kids didn't seem to mind, though. Phew!
At least she knows what she wants. :)
Once they were painted, I stepped in and traced the outline of each hand.
Then I flipped them over and wrote their names and the dates on the backs.
We took out the handy-dandy Mod Podge sparkle and liberally applied it to the fronts and then the backs of the hands.
This added shine, sparkles, and, conveniently, sealed the dough so that the ornaments would last longer.
The ornaments dried overnight.
A ribbon was thread through the hole at the top to complete.
Nice job, girls! Gifts for the grandparents, hand-made by the kids.