Make some gorgeous snowflake ornaments using easy homemade white clay! With some glitter and clear beads for extra sparkle these look so pretty on the tree and make a lovely hand-made gift for friends and relatives.
Last year we tried out a new white clay recipe for making ornaments and we made a lovely set of reindeers and then red and white initialled hearts to hang on our tree. We also gave some away to our friends as little extra gifts.
We wanted to make some more for this year as the clay is so gorgeous to work with and creates such a lovely, smooth and bright finish! This time I picked up some lovely snowflake cookie cutters to make different sized, sparkly snowflake ornaments.
White Clay Recipe:
1 cup bicarbonate of soda (baking SODA in the US)
1/2 cup corn flour (corn STARCH in the US)
3/4 cup warm water
Mix all the ingredients into a pan and warm them through on a moderate heat, stirring regularly. Soon it will start to become like a thick sauce, then come away from the side a little and start to resemble mashed potatoes. Just after this stage, when it looks like a play dough, turn off the heat and turn the clay onto a surface or into a bowl and leave it for a few minutes to cool a little (but not too long or it begins to dry out.)
When it is bareable to touch, start to knead it until it becomes smooth and pliable, just like play dough. This should happen quite quickly.
It is now ready to start rolling and cutting! Don’t leave it for too long as it is a naturally air-drying clay and will become a little crumbly otherwise.
Cakie did this all semi-independently , including stirring the mixture in the pan (with me keeping a close eye!) She rolled the dough out to about 1/2 – 1 cm thick and then started to cut out various shapes, including lots of different sized snowflakes using these snowflake cutters. Once they were made we transferred them to a baking sheet and made holes in the top of each one for threading twine through later on, using a straw.
Then we left them overnight to dry and the next day they were smooth and hard, ready for some glitter glue! We worked together to add dots of silver glitter glue all over the snowflakes and left them to dry again. Then we threaded each on with elastic and added some clear beads for extra sparkle! They are now on our tree and looks so pretty. We will probably make some more before Christmas arrives as gifts for our friends.
This activity is good for:
creativity: making models in 3D, sculpting and moulding, combining materials
science: understanding that combining materials can create something new, change in state of matter from dry to wet to dry again
physical: mixing, stirring, measuring, cutting, rolling, moulding, squeezing, threading for fine motor strength and development
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Thank you for this! I was just looking for an ornament recipe. Thank you also for sharing the US translation. 😉
Laughing Kids Learn says
These are just so pretty. It’s summer here but I’m still tempted. LOL
I’m going to make some today, thanks for the idea.
Tip for anyone living in a city – I managed to pick up a 3kg bag of Bicarb of Soda from the Chinese supermarket near us for around £4, also got a 3kg bag of cornflour at the same time. And yes, I do plan on making a lot of these!
Just made this with my two little ones, and it is brilliant! Really easy to make and lots of fun too. There was a point when I was wondering if I had gone wrong but then suddenly it all came together. Don’t have a snowflake cutter (yet!) but used a snowman instead and plan to use glitter for his scarf and add some googly eyes : ) Thank you for another fab idea
Anna Ranson says
We made these today. Not sure what went wrong, but the dough was very soft and sticky, quite tricky to work with. We added a fair bit of extra cornstarch during kneading and rolled out between a silicone mat and plastic wrap. The ornaments are drying now, fingers crossed that they turn out!
The first time I made this dough it was very soft – the next time, I cooked it for longer. That time one batch was still soft after I startd working with it, so I put it back in the pan and gave it more heat until it got stronger. The extra time on the cooker seemed to do the trick.
However the soft dough still dried out fine – although it was so floppy we had to roll it out and cut it on the baking sheet. I baked them in the oven to speed up the drying process; if you do this make sure it’s at a low heat as otherwise they will brown a bit. My oven is dodgy, ‘low heat’ doesn’t exist…
Thanks Sophie, I’ll try cooking it longer next time.
Abbi Gutierrez says
My dough is also very sticky. I am going to try cooking it longer and adding more cornflour. Wish me luck!
I’m feeling defeated by the dough! Ive attempted this several times and every time it turns out so crumbly I can’t even roll it. What am I doing wrong? How can I fail at something that is supposedly easy?
Try googling the recipe (try “white clay recipe”) as other recipes I’ve seen have different amounts of water, I think. Also you need to knead it once it’s cool, then store it in a plastic bag to stop it drying out. I’ve had mine in the fridge for a while, seems to be keeping OK (not checked it for a week though!). One of the recipes I checked said to stir over medium heat for about 4 minutes until mixture thickens to a moist mashed-potato consistency, let it cool covered by a damp cloth (so it doesn’t dry out) then knead. Hope it works next time, it’s so disappointing when these things don’t work out…
Anna Ranson says
Yes those are in my directions too. It’s disappointing for me too when it doesn’t work for readers, but it works well for us so I know the recipe is correct.
Anna Ranson says
Hi Angela. I’m sorry it isn’t working out for you. It’s hard to say without watching what you’re doing, which I can’t do. Is it super soft like play dough when you start to knead it and roll it? If it’s already crumbly then it sounds like you have cooked it too long perhaps? I’ve put in the directions that it needs to be like mashed potatoes, then as soon as it comes together after that turn off the heat and leave to cool. It works every time for us. Hope it works next time!
Hi folks, I feel like such an idiot…I really must be doing something daft. I’ve tried it about 4 times and every time it hasn’t worked. I’m taking it off the heat as soon as it starts to firm up, letting it cool and then trying to kneed. It just crumbles in my hands, almost like chalk.
Thanks for your responses…I wonder if im not adding enough water or cooking for too long over a low heat. Im determined to make this work (slightly obsessed) as they look so good! I’ll let you know when I succeed!
Hi, thank you so much for this recipe, I’ve just used it to make baby foot prints for the grandparents, and I managed to have 3-4 attempts from each portion (which I needed as my 9m son wasn’t feeling too obliging!).
What is your advice for painting? Can I use acrylic paints or best not to bother? I was thinking of going around the feet which are positioned in a heart shape…
As a follow-up, they’re not great for footprints! They’ve dried and cracked badly 🙁 I can only assume it’s the different depths of clay (uneven drying?) that’s caused this, but any ideas or tips are very welcome, as I shall be trying again!!!
I am having the same problem with it being so sticky that I can’t touch it without it sticking all over my hands. I’ve had it sitting out since Monday afternoon too :/
Beautiful ornaments – I dream about such a brilliant christmas tree 🙂 I will try to create it with my kids!
Hello, I love your site! It’s fantastic, so many lovely creative ideas 🙂 I’m looking for a good salt dough- no cook receipt… Which one do you recommend x
Do you know how many ornaments this makes?
C Davison says
Made these today and we’re very happy with them. We kept them on the heat for less than a minute after the mash potato stage (stirring regularly) worked like a charm but we did have to work quick as the dough does dry quickly. We made them into snowflakes and then embedded silver and white beads in the dough. They are drying now and look so fantastic, hopefully they will turn out in the morning!
Thank you so much for this recipe, we made handmade sparkly hearts for teachers christmas gifts this year, they all loved them and thought they were so special. The girls loved doing them too which is a huge bonus, they are 7 & 4 🙂 we also made the Christmas tree handprints for grandparent present, they look great too!! Love you website, thank you, Merry christmas, Amy xx
Help! I made kids handprints with the white clay and they cracked! I put them in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour and they looked great! But as they were cooling most of the handprints starting cracking. Do you know how I can fix the cracks? Thanks!
I love, love, love this project idea, but I’m disappointed with the end result. My final ornaments were SO fragile and brittle that they crumbled under the simplest touch, They won’t last through THIS Christmas season let alone future ones.
Did I do something wrong?? I’d really like to try again if you have any tips/ advise. Thanks!