Create some beautiful DIY Christmas tree ornaments with this simple gingerbread clay recipe! Using simple kitchen ingredients that you will have I’m your cupboard right now, to make long-lasting keepsakes with the kids!
Christmas is coming! And with all that excitement comes the lovely period of Christmas crafting and baking together as a family. It’s the one time of year I’m head-over-heels for crafts, even though I’m usually more of a process art fan the rest of the year! There’s something truly so specially about connecting and memory making through these cosy traditions and I love it.
Making our own ornaments has become one of these lovely annual traditions, and as much as possible we try and make them from homemade clays and salt dough so that they will last a very long time. This turns them into keepsakes too, which makes them extra special on every level.
In the past we have made simple salt dough Christmas tree decorations, Christmas tree handprint keepsakes and white clay ornaments (these are so pretty!). This year I wanted to try and make my own recipe for gingerbread clay by fiddling with our tried and trusted salt dough to turn it into a scented, festive alternative!
Gingerbread Clay Recipe:
1 cup plain flour (all purpose)
1 cup fine salt
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Up to 3/4 cup warm water (added slowly in increments)
To make the recipe, add the dry ingredients to a bowl and then mix in the warm water slowly until it is combined. Don’t add it all at once. Save the last third of the water aside and mix together the ingredients until they resemble a dough. If still a bit dry, add in a little more of the water.
Once it is in a ball, take it out of the bowl and knead it briefly on a floured work top until it becomes smooth, soft and pliable. It will resemble a slightly firmer version of play dough.
[If for some reason you added too much water and it is sticky, add 1 spoon of flour and 1 spoon of salt and try kneading again.]
Once the dough is formed, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and start cutting shapes just as you would with any dough.
Once they’ve been made, carefully lift them off the surface using a flat spatula and lay them onto a baking sheet (I don’t usually use any baking paper as I’m always out of it, but you can do!)
Then put them into a preheated oven and let them dry out for 3-4 hours on a very low temperature. I set mine to 130 degrees C but mine isn’t fan assisted, so perhaps even lower at 120 degrees C. For Fahrenheit users, this is approx 250 degrees F. Please don’t confuse the two! Some readers have done this in the past and been upset when their ornaments have cooked rather than hardened.
The key to making oven ornaments is to remember we are drying and hardening them, not cooking them.
If they are still not hardened after 3-4 hours, then turn them over and pop them back in for another hour or so.
Incidentally, with this batch of gingerbread clay ornaments, I left mine in the oven and totally forgot about them while we were out, meaning that they were in there for 6+ hours! They still came out fine.
When they were out of the oven and cooled off, it was time for decoration! We used these fabulous Posca Paint pens which are so easy to use, even for kids, and draw onto almost any surface.
Some of them we personalised with their names on the front and also the year, so that we can remember when we made them. Others have sweet little faces and clothing details and they would be great as gift tags, stuck on the front of special cards or even used to make table settings with names written on!
Hang them on the tree to create some happy little decorations for all to enjoy and keep them safe for future years by wrapping them in tissue paper and stacking them carefully in a box to store.
These gingerbread clay recipe ornaments are so easy, such a fun family project and look adorable! I hope you will give them try with your kids or class this year. Let us know what you think of them.
See all of our other Christmas Crafts and Activities here!
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