How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments + I may have cried over a Pinterest fail

Wednesday, November 21, 2012




I am a total loser.  I cried (well half cried half laughed) at a failed Pinterest project.

Let me back up a little a tell you the story.  It was the weekend and  I was beyond pumped to make these awesome homemade ornaments with my two year old.  I read all the instructions on the blog that had the tutorial and I got my ingredients, which consisted of cornstarch and baking soda.  That seemed simple enough...or so I thought.  My husband agreed to watch Ronin (he is a screamer when I am in the room and not holding him so this was a sweet gesture actually) so I could have craft time with Max.

I whipped up the first batch of "dough." I am not sure what I did wrong but my dough resembled a weird science experiment that would harden and then liquify when I touched it.  I know that makes ZERO sense but that is what happened.  It was like magic flubber.  I tried to do it again....and again...and again and each time it produced flubber not dough.  I was frustrated, Max was getting impatient, Ronin was screaming, my husband was getting irritated and 3 freakin hours later I had 4 giant batches of flubber a flour bombed kitchen and ZERO homemade ornaments.  My husband told me, well more like shouted above Ronin screaming to just give up and buy some damn premade clay.  Men do not understand the need to craft apparently.  I started crying, then started laughing and then cried and laughed all at once.  Fail.  Major freaking Pinterest FAIL.

So I decided to get back to basics and google a salt dough recipe.  This worked like magic, pure homemade ornament dough magic.  You can not mess this up, I promise. 

What you will need:
  • 2 cups of all purpose bleached flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 3/4 cups of water  *add a little more water if your dough is dry and not sticking together.  
Directions:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.  
  2. Knead it until it's nice and doughy.  
  3. Use cookie cutters to make whatever shape ornaments you want. 
  4. Use a straw to poke a hole in the top so you can hang them with a string or hook. 
  5. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.  Turn over once at the 10 minute mark.
  6. Once they are baked you can paint them, bedazzle with glitter or whatever you want! I painted mine with a layer of Mod Podge and sprinkled gold glitter on top.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!   xo

    81 comments:

    Mandi said...

    Sorry it pinterest recipe failed, but glad the second worked out for you. I've been wondering what kind of gifts I could make my daughter's class for Christmas and I think this would be great.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Mandi

    Anonymous said...

    Hey, the original stuff you made sounds like something called oobleck, which is a non-newtonian fluid, haha and it is soo fun to play with if that is what you are actually trying to make :) you can actually run across the stuff if you have enough of it but if you try to stand on it you will sink.

    I am definitely going to make the salt dough ornaments, that looks like something we would have so much fun making :) thanks for the idea!
    Ginger

    Anonymous said...

    Ha ha, I had my first pinterest fail last week and so learned my lesson that not everything on pinterest works. Mine was dinner - turns out you shouldn't cook chicken with brown sugar on top at 500F because it burns, smokes and makes your house smell terrible and ruins dinner. My common sense left me when I popped that dish in the oven! :-) I feel your pain!

    Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

    1st Anonymous comment- YES that is exactly what it was!! haha

    2nd Anonymous- LOL! So funny...something I would have done too :)

    kelli said...

    oh no, you made oobleck! (termed by the dr. seuss book, i think.) they turned out really pretty in the end.

    PinkStripeySocks said...

    good to know about the cornstarch dough... i was tempted to try it myself, but i'll definitely stay away from that recipe.... they look lovely!

    Jessica Camerata said...

    These came out so cute! Love it.

    xoxo Jessica
    www.mystylevita.com

    Bettina said...

    Hilarious! I did the same project last week and now have a series 'Pinterest Lies'. I burnt the first batch and a bird ate the second! They don't tell you that on pinterest!

    http://littleoldsouls.blogspot.com

    Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted said...

    Thank you for making me feel normal. I have had many craft melt downs , sometimes I even throw stuff! Glad in the end you were able to find a recipe that worked.

    colleen said...

    ahh the need to craft. no, men just won't understand (but those ornaments look like they were worth it!)

    Anonymous said...

    hey there! These are so cute! lindsay are you going to post the re-newed (is that a word?!) Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe? I made the first recipe you posted, and follow you on Instagram and saw you re-did them!! love your blog :)

    My-cliffnotes said...

    They're so cute! I'd prob cry too!

    Happy holiday lovely

    Christine said...

    They are gorgeous. Not your fault on the first few attempts, that is going to happen with cornflour (or custard powder)

    Rachael said...

    I'm sorry for the initial frustration but your perseverance is admirable!

    Amanda M said...

    Ahh, I was this close to trying the cornstarch/baking soda recipe! Thanks for saving me!!

    Your salt dough ornaments are so cute.

    Barca Mama said...

    We have all had those 'Pinterest Fail' moments:) Thanks for the salt dough recipe. It was so easy and my family had a great time sitting around the table painting our ordaments last night.

    Linda @ Mystery Shopper said...

    Failure is the stepping stone of a success. It is glad to see that you didn't give up. Thank you for the salt dough recipe.

    Eleanor at Mirror Of My World said...

    these are beautiful lindsay xx

    Jenny said...

    So awesome. I followed your recipe and made them with my girls. Check out our results. Jenny

    Tonia L said...

    Oh no! So sorry for the fails! I love how they ended up turning out though.

    Geraldine said...

    So sorry for your fail. I have them all the time although i managed to make the cornstarch dough without any issues. I have figured out what went wrong with yours. You have to cook it! It takes about 5 minutes for it to reach the consistancy of mashed potatoes. You then take it off the hob and put it on a surface and let it cool down. Good luck with it!

    RocknRollMachine said...

    You really have no idea how much I can relate to this post! I was brought here because I googled "salt dough ornament fail" trying to figure out what went wrong. I too got my recipe from Pinterest and followed it to a T, I still can't figure out what went wrong. It gets weirder, my husband was also watching my son who is also named Ronin and who is also a screamer. Seriously, that's how he communicates all day, everyday. Kinda creepy, especially since there are not very many kids named Ronin. I sorta felt like I was reading my own blog... :)

    RocknRollMachine said...

    P.S. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I will be giving it another go!

    Anonymous said...

    Yep, ditto what Geraldine said. You have to cook it until it's the consistency of mashed potatoes. I have used that recipe before and the ornaments are pretty brittle anyway, so you would have been better off with the salt dough recipe.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm doing the basic one for sure! Does the mod podge give them that shiny look? When we made them as a kids, I don't remember what they were sealed with. Also, is anyone going to attempt the cinnamon/glue ones?

    Mollie. said...

    I was going to try that same recipe! And amazingly, to make stars stamped with JOY just as you have. I'm so glad I read your post and will now use the salt dough instead!

    Gwen Ford said...

    How did you get the imprints into your cookies? They are beautiful!

    And yes, what you made in the first recipe is something this science teacher makes in her classroom! You can do the same with just corn starch and water. It's great for littles to play with too in a baggy.

    Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

    Gwen- I used a stamp :)

    JCF said...

    I tried making the cornstarch dough from Pinterest last week, and it made ooblek for me as well. I Googled around a bit until I realized an important step that the original recipe on Pinterest left out--you have to cook it! However, once we successfully made dough, I couldn't get those to bake without cracking. At least we had fun in the process! I'll have to try again with the salt dough you did. Thanks!

    Kiki said...

    This kept me from having a fail, so thanks! New follower. :)

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the blog! I've googled galore to check out the recipefor hands. I plan doing some handprint ornaments of my kids & I hope they look as good as yours!!!

    Anonymous said...

    Haha thanks for the laugh today. I am gonna try your recipe for these ornaments because the one I found online said to bake them at 400 degrees for 4 hours!

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the recipe... The one i found online said to bake fpr 4 hours at 400 degrees.... Haha

    christina said...

    ok this is soooooooooooo funny! I DID THE SAME THING!
    I wanted to make the cornstarch ones and I had to kids ready to make some ornaments. I ended up throwing the cornstarch ones away and went back to the basic salt dough ;)

    p.s I am totally bloggin about this too!

    Amanda Minor said...

    I made these last night but only had bread flour on hand. It did try to rise, but I won that battle. My question is, will they preserve the same way or do I need to worry about them spoiling since it was a different kind of flour? Thanks for the post and for making all of us moms feel normal :)

    Couchgirl13 said...

    Well I am right in the middle of making handprint Santa's for my family members Christmas and I tried the cornstarch recipe first cause it was so nice and smooth and white. But almost all my handprints have cracked. So here I am looking up the good ole salt dough recipe. I'm not looking forward to getting my 19 mth old son to press his hand in the dough again. He did really good, but I've already made like 15 or these things and got 2 out of them. Wish me luck. Thanks for the laugh and advice!

    Couchgirl13 said...

    Well I am right in the middle of making handprint Santa's for my family members Christmas and I tried the cornstarch recipe first cause it was so nice and smooth and white. But almost all my handprints have cracked. So here I am looking up the good ole salt dough recipe. I'm not looking forward to getting my 19 mth old son to press his hand in the dough again. He did really good, but I've already made like 15 or these things and got 2 out of them. Wish me luck. Thanks for the laugh and advice!

    Couchgirl13 said...

    I am right in the middle of my corn starch fail. I think I got the recipe right, but all my handprints have cracked. This is the second batch and I think I'm done. Unless someone knows how I can fill the cracks? So here I am looking up the good ole salt dough recipe. Hope these work out better. Not looking forward to having to make my 19mth old do his handprints over again as he was either too busy to come or cried when I tried to get him to press his hand in the dough. Hope my family and friends love these ornaments. lol

    Christina Nunez said...

    Hello :) I made these today andI was wondering if the ones you baked were solid? I baked them at 200 for 20 minutes and flipped them at the 10 minute mark and my ornaments are still soft. Should I bake them for longer? Will they puff up?

    Anonymous said...

    I had the same failure, I didn't get the recipe from pintrest, but wow what a cornstarch failure.....thankfully we made it in the backyard! I have had one salt dough failure, and it took 2-3 hours to cook? Made this this morning for my husband, he is going to love his 3 year old's hand-print next to his 3 week old's foot print.

    Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

    Yes the ones I baked were solid. I would suggest baking them longer if they are not firm. They should not puff up either. Hope that helps! :)

    jeanniezucchini said...

    Great recipe. Just made them with friends. Thanks for posting. :)

    Angela said...

    How many ornaments were you able to make out of this recipe? I looking to make 24... class project.

    Victoria @ Green Idea Reviews said...

    Yep - that cornstarch and baking soda recipe is a total fail. Here's MY blog post about it... http://www.greenideareviews.com/2012/12/05/homemade-baking-soda-clay-ornaments-review-does-it-work/

    At least we're all getting something to write about, right?

    Anonymous said...

    I know exactly what you mean about the cornstarch mixture going from solid to liquid when you touch it! I remember making that stuff in school.

    I thought you might like to know the reason it went wrong though. You're supposed to stir all the ingredients over medium heat until it gets to a thick dough texture, and then it works fine! (:

    Jenifer Milczewski said...

    I have learned now through multiple tries with recipes from pinterest (the devil) that yes not everything works, and I now have a love hate relationship with that site.. but i am very happy to have found your recipe and cant wait to do this with my niece this week!

    Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

    Angela- It really depends on what shapes you make but if you use medium to small cookie cutters you will definitely be able to make 24. Have fun :)

    Gretchen said...

    I baked mine as directed but they were waaay soft still. And mine looked thinner than yours. Not sure why they didn't get done but I just stuck them back in the oven. Hopefully the baking, cooling, re-baking wont cause cracks.

    Anonymous said...

    Is the dough suppose to be sticky,because mine is and hard to get off your hand.please let me know if I did it correct thanks

    Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

    The dough should not be sticky. I should be more like a ball of bread dough (slightly firm but pliable). If your dough is sticky add more flour until you get a thicker consistency.

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks they turned out great

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you for the tips. I just did this with my son and they came out perfectly. Great easy holiday gift.

    Blaura said...

    Love this idea, I made them with my son for family gifts and they turned out great!

    Anonymous said...

    Why did my ornaments crack a week after they were done??? :(

    Anonymous said...

    great craft

    Anonymous said...

    So far everything's good.. Hoping they bake in 20minutes.. I've been baking all day and am ready to shut the oven OFF!!! Will post update...

    Anonymous said...

    I made your recipe today with my son and grandsons and mine are still soft ...boo. I am going to bake them a bit longer and see what happens. I will post it later :)

    Kathy Mathews said...

    Wow!! Your ornaments turned out great, absolutely gorgeous!! And I feel your pain with the first batches! I am completely obsessed with salt dough and have been for the past 15 years. Believe it or not I am still occasionally tweaking and changing my recipe and techniques. But the possibilities are endless! Congrats on your beautiful success! :))
    Kathy @ COOKIEDOUGHCREATIONS.ETSY.com

    Deese said...

    I am going to make this salt dough today. I love your results!

    I'm sure you have already been told but the CORNSTARCH AND BAKING SODA CLAY MUST BE COOKED over medium heat. It will then come together quickly about 5 to 8 minutes. It is soooo silky smooth and bright white, I made it years ago as a kid, to make beads. I made it last week to make ornaments and they have all cracked during the air drying process! So...even if you had made the recipe correctly it may have still failed.

    I'm glad you had much better luck with the salt dough!

    cookiedoughcreations said...

    Love how your ornaments turned out!! I've rolled out salt dough almost every day for the past 15 years (it's my job) and due to differences in the flour, where it was milled, etc., it can turn out slightly different each time. I also had trouble with cracking in the oven so mine are always air dried and I never use cornstarch.
    Happy ornament making!
    Kathy @ cookiedoughcreations.etsy.com

    Anonymous said...

    Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe! How many will this make?
    Thanks!

    Anonymous said...

    How thick should I roll out the dough?

    Anonymous said...

    Are these supposed to get rock hard after baking amd cooling? Mine seem like they are stale cookies--still a little soft but somewhat hard.

    Anonymous said...

    I remember making these as a child.

    Good memories! :-)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Angela said...

    I loved this blog! I am fortunate enough to have a husband who understands that unless I am trying to pull off some ridiculously impossible craft project, Im just not being me. Haha. From one crafty mommy to another good job on these! :)

    Anonymous said...

    I made these 30+ years ago. Best way to keep them from falling apart is to paint them with acrylics or tempera paints and then when they are dry, spray them with clear gloss varnish. Make sure you make your hole for the ribbon/ornament holder far enough down so the ornament doesn't break when you go to hang it. And don't make them too big! After they are baked, don't even think of touching them for a few days so they are solid. I use a garlic press to make Santa beards, horse tails and manes, and angel hair. Use your imagination, not just cookie cutters! One more thing...knead the dough until you don't feel grainy-ness from the salt anymore. It should feel silky. Have fun!

    Anonymous said...

    When you are kneading your salt dough, use clear gloves like foodservice workers do. The salt will pull all the fluids from your hands and you will have very dry hands! Yes, trial and error from 30+ years of making these!

    Emily said...

    Thank you for posting your Pinterest Fail. I was just about to whip up the cornstarch batch, but I'll stick to the salt dough.

    In A House Full Of Boys! said...

    I have baked these for over an hour and they are still soft with a crusty outer layer. I'd say this recipe was a Pinterest fail too. Sadly I had a play date for my kids and thought this would be a good craft. The kids went home with nothing;(

    Lindsay said...

    HA! The first recipe is a goo/flubber recipe. We just did this 2 days ago with my son in therapy. :)

    Lindsay said...

    HA! The first recipe you did is for a goo/flubber recipe. We just did this 2 days ago with my son in therapy. :)

    Shailynn Krow said...

    Pinterest constantly fails me. I've officially given up and just went back to Google search. LOL. I'm glad this one worked out and I found this post. I will be making these today with my kids!

    Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

    They should harden as they cool.

    Le'BookSquirrel said...

    I cooked mine for 20 minutes and they were still soft in the middle...I upped the over to 250 and cooked for a bit longer..it somewhat helped..however now I am letting them air dry..I painted one as a practice one and will see how that turns out once it dries.Im glad I did it 2-3 days prior to us painting them as i didnt realize they would have to air dry.

    Maranda said...

    I actually made the cornstarch baking soda ones sucessfully. I think maybe you have to cook it more. BUT what they don't tell you is that they are fragile as heck. I will be making the orignial good old stand by salt dough. Dang our adventurous crafting!

    Emily said...

    My daughter and I made this recipe today and it turned out great! Thank you for sharing. I actually first searched Pinterest and didn't want one I liked, then googled it and found yours. Perfect! I also love your blog.

    Anonymous said...

    So, I tried a few times now to make it, but everytime it swells a bit.
    They all have bubbles inside of them. Not much but I would really want them to be without swelling at all and in a prebaked form. If anyone can help me how to solve this and why is it happening, I would be so grateful :)

    Thanks to all in advance :)

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks, I am planning to try it. What is the shell life of the things made from this dough? Hope these dough doesn't get spoiled

    Dawn said...

    Really? Only 20 minutes? Everything else I have read says 2 hours. This is so confusing!

    Kaila said...

    Such an interesting post you have here, this idea is very nice. From simple salt though to cute Christmas ornaments, what a creative mind. Anyway, thanks for sharing :)

    Anonymous said...

    This probably sounds really stupid but when you say 200 degrees is that farenheight or Celsius?

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