Salt Dough Ornaments: DIY Snowflake Christmas Decorations

These salt dough ornaments make lovely handmade gifts and/or gift wrap accessories. They are created with just a few simple kitchen ingredients and you don’t need to be crafty to make them. They always say that baking is more science than art! I plan to combine the two. 🙂

White snowflake salt dough ornaments for Christmas.

Yesterday, we had our first snow of the season. Would you believe we had 18 inches? It’s a winter wonderland right outside my door! As I took my dog for his morning walk, the trees were covered in a blanket of white glistening snow. It’s was so pretty and for a moment, it felt like time stood still. Sometimes the beauty of nature helps simplify things and reminds me that life is a wonderful gift and each day is an adventure.

Our abundant snowfall was a great segue into this week’s snowflake craft. Not all DIY craft projects are created equal. Some are challenging and make me wonder why I do this, while others are simple and make my heart so joyful. These salt dough ornaments were a simple, joyful craft for me and I’ve carefully documented the steps, so you can enjoy making them, too. I hope, when you’re finished with this project, you 1) have a sense of joy that you created these handmade ornaments; 2) found them as easy to make as I did; and 3) have a lovely gift to give to your friends or family this holiday season.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Snowflake Craft

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Supplies For The Snowflake Salt Dough Ornaments

Snowflake cookie cutters for making salt dough ornaments.

Mix & Knead Your Salt Dough

Before you begin this project, I want to share the most important tip. The secret to a nice salt dough is adding just enough water (not too much) to the dry ingredients. Everyone’s dough will have a little different moisture requirement, so the 1/2 cup of water is just a baseline measurement. Do not pour the entire 1/2 cup of water in all at once. Start with a little water and knead. I’ll walk you through the process more down below.

Measurements of flour, salt & water for snowflake ornaments.

Add 1/2 cup of salt and 1 cup of All Purpose Flour to a mixing bowl. Do not use self-rising flour.

Mix flour, salt and water for salt dough.

Then add about 1/8 cup of lukewarm water and start to knead the dough. After about 4 minutes of kneading, the dough should start to come together, like in the picture below. If not, add a little more water (about a tablespoon).

Ingredients will start to come together halfway through for Christmas snowflake ornaments.

Once the dough starts to clump together, but still has crumbles falling from it, add about 1 more tablespoon of water. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes total. When it stays together with no crumbles, it’s ready. You want your dough to stay together but it shouldn’t be sticky.

When I was done, I had about 1/8 cup of the water leftover. So in total, I used 3/8 cup of water to make the dough. Yours may be more or less depending on your flour and humidity.

Left over water from ingredients.

Next, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 40 minutes. It’s important to refrigerate your dough for two reasons. First, cold dough is easier to roll out and second when you bake the dough, it helps prevent the shapes from spreading. Also, never put cookie cut-outs on a warm cookie sheet, as they will loose their shape. Use a room temperature cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes.

Roll Out Your Salt Dough

It’s important that all of your ornaments are the same thickness so they dry evenly. I rolled my dough to 1/4″ thick. They make spacer bands for rolling pins to make this process easier. Since I didn’t have them, I used two 1/4″ thick MDF boards an each side of my dough.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick so the ornaments dry evenly.

Cut Out Your Snowflake Shapes

These are nice quality cookie cutters. I chose these particular cutters because of the intricate cut-out design in the middle of each snowflake. Always dip your cutter in flour before each use. To make it easier to remember, I just left them in the flour when I wasn’t using them.

Dip cookie cutters in flour to prevent sticking.

Position your cutters so you get the maximum number of cuts for each piece of rolled dough. Once done, add all of the extra bits and extra dough back together in a ball and roll them out again. With the middle of the one cutter being a separate smaller ornament, I had very little wasted dough.

Using up the last of the salt dough.

Make sure to press your cutter firmly down, so the center cut-outs go all the way through the dough. You can see in the picture below that only the top center cut-out went all the way through.

Back of snowflake cookie cutter once pressed.

Because of the intricate design, you will need a way to “pop” the snowflake out of the cutter. I used the flat end of a wooden skewer to gently press the edges of the dough out of the cutter. The next time I make these ornaments, I will try using a Q-tip since the skewer left some little round circles in a few of my ornaments.

Use a skewer to help remove dough from cutter.

This is just a different angle so you can see that I held the cutter close to the parchment paper.

Use a skewer to help remove dough from cutter.

In the picture below you can see the circles left behind from the end of the skewer. Once I painted the ornaments and added glitter the circles weren’t very noticeable. You can also see in this picture the center cut-outs I was talking about earlier. If you don’t firmly press down the cookie cutter, you get a jagged lip on the bottom of the inside cut-outs. These can be file off with a nail file once the ornaments are dry, but it would be better to not have this extra step.

I chose to put the twine for my ornaments through one of the center cut-outs of the snowflakes, but if you want to add an extra hole you can use a straw to cut it. I did add a hole to the middle of each mini ornament. You can use your skewer to pop the dough out of the straw in between uses.

Cutout snowflake for salt dough ornaments.

One recipe of this dough made a total of 15 medium size (3 inch) ornaments and 11 of the mini (1.5 inch) center cut outs.

Bake The Ornaments To Dry And Harden

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. If you rolled your ornaments to 1/4″ thick, it will take 4 hours to fully dry them in the oven. After the first two hours, flip the ornaments over and place them back in the oven for the final two hours.

If your ornaments are thicker than 1/4″ it will taker longer to dry them.

You can also air dry the ornaments, but it will take multiple days for them to fully dry. I didn’t try this method, so I cannot comment on the outcome.

Snowflake ornaments on parchment paper to be dried in oven.

Decorate Your Ornaments

The salt dough ornaments are naturally a similar color to sugar cookies. I wanted my snowflakes to be more of a true (creamy) white, so I painted them with Waverly Chalk in Plaster. Another nice color is Rust-Oleum’s Chalked in Linen white.

I’ve read that you can add paint directly to the dough, but I didn’t try it because I was concerned about food safety. I use the same mixing bowls, rolling pins and cutters for making cookies, so adding paint seemed a little unhealthy. I was also concerned about heating the paint in the oven (possible chemical smells). Lastly, I figured the moisture in the paint would throw off the ratio of dry vs. wet ingredients.

Once the paint was dry, I poured some Mod Podge on a paper plate and dipped the snowflakes into it. Then I off-loaded the adhesive onto another empty paper plate. Finishing them up with a sprinkle of glitter.

Once they were dry, I flipped them over and did the other side. Then to seal in the glitter, top-coat them with another layer of Mod Podge. If you choose to skip the glitter, be sure to seal in your chalk paint with some type of top coat.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Snowflake Craft

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How to make white snowflake salt dough ornaments for Christmas.
White snowflake ornaments made from salt dough.
DIY Christmas Ornaments, White Snowflakes

Have you made salt dough ornaments before? I’m sure there are some really creative ideas out there and I’d love to hear them. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

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8 Comments

  1. I learned to make these ornaments in a high school Home Ec. class back in the 70s. We used cookie cutters made by Hallmark – Santa Claus, angels, snowmen, Christmas trees and Dutch boys and girls. These cutters had a solid back and left great details (imprints) in the dough. The imprints made painting easy – sort of like coloring. It’s been over 40 years and I still have the ornaments! They are wrapped individually in tissue paper and stored in a cookie tin in the attic. The painted ones were great, but I love the white glittery snowflakes you have made and can’t wait to make some for myself. Thanks for sharing and for the extra details in the steps!

    1. Hi Shelia. Thank you for sharing your memory, it brought me so much joy to read! Those cookie cutters sound so nice and would be a special find today. I know not everyone connects through crafts, but many of my childhood/young adult memories are associated with creative activities. Music and art both take me back to specific times in my past. I’m so thankful for this blog and the ability to share with others. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  2. Thanks for sharing! My sister and I had so much fun making these, and they turned out just like the photos. We’re hooked. Look out Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, etc.

    1. Hi Laura. I’m so glad you like them. Salt Dough is so fun to make and the variations are endless. The best part is you spent time with your sister! 🙂

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