All of these projects were done with my four year old with materials we had on hand. We’ve decided that lights will be the only item on our tree that we don’t make ourselves, so last year we started making our own ornaments to decorate our home and tree with. Here is what we’ve done this year, along with photos to supplement my instructions.
Salt Dough Ornaments
2 c flour
½ c salt
¾ c water
Combine in a large bowl until a workable dough forms. Roll out on a smooth surface rather thin, about 1/8 of an inch. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters; metal ones work the best. Use a straw to poke a hole to hang the ornaments by and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or very lightly oiled). You may want to smooth the edges gently with your finger for a cleaner look. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled completely, paint with tempera or acrylic paints and add a clear coat to finish, if you would like.
Take-Out Tree Topper
I was inspired last night when cleaning up from a take-out dinner; we had two thin aluminum pans that I decided to wash rather than toss into the recycling bin. I trimmed away the edges and using the butt of a screwdriver, I smoothed out the lines while in the metal (with a piece of cardboard underneath). By rubbing in a circular pattern, it created a brushed-looking finish. Then I took a screw from my drawer of stuff (you know you have one of those too) and created my design. In order to place the star atop the tree, I folded up a scrap piece of metal and formed what looked like ½ of a napkin ring with the edges turned up. I placed the ring around the top bough and set the star on the other side, resting on the hooks.
Sparkling Pine Cones
The photo does not do this project justice; these are my favorite ornament on our poor little fake tree and they are very pretty. Collect some pinecones outside and rinse them gently inside. Bake for about an hour at 200 degrees on a foil-lined baking sheet in order to dry out and kill any remaining bugs. Brush on white school glue and sprinkle on iridescent white glitter for an icy look, or any color of your choice. Tie a ribbon, string or bit of twine and hang.
These are a bit hard to describe, so look to the picture for guidance. This is a nice way to use old holiday cards that look pretty but seem to pile up. Cut the fronts off of cards, and then cut a spiral pattern. You can trim the corners off for a more rounded look; do not cut the strips too thin as it will hang down much too far. Cut a slit in the top to thread a ribbon or string through and hang.