Make a gorgeous Nativity salt dough hand print keepsake for a Christmas craft activity with the kids this season!
To add to our extensive salt dough keepsakes collection this year the kids have each chosen different designs to have made using their handprints. My eldest loved the idea of making this PEACE dove and my middle girl wanted to make her Nativity scene!
How to make a Nativity Salt Dough Hand Print Keepsake!
1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour (all purpose) NOT self-raising
1/2 cup warm water
Paint pens (optional)
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Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and stir in the warm water. Mix vigorously until combined and then turn it out onto a floured surface and start to knead it until it becomes soft and stretchy, similar in consistency to play-dough. It shouldn’t be at all sticky or crumbly. If it is, add either a little more flour or a little more water until it is just right.
Then roll it out, again on a lightly floured surface, until it is 1-2 cm thick at the most. Form a basic circle, just bigger than your child’s hand, and then ask them to stretch their fingers far away from their thumb and press their hand in that shape, firmly into the dough.
It is sometimes easier to roll it onto baking paper so that it can be transferred straight to the baking sheet afterwards, to avoid it getting stuck to the table top.
Next, use the drinking straw to make two holes near the top, evenly spread out. The ribbon will be thread through here to hang the ornament later.
Now place the salt dough hand print into the oven on a baking tray and leave it to dry out for approximately 3 hours on a VERY low oven temperature. I advise around 100 degrees C (approx 212 F) and no higher. The salt dough can rise and get bubbles if the oven is too high.
If the salt dough is still doughy in the middle after 3 hours then turn it over and put it in for another 2-3. Make sure it’s not too thick to begin with as these sometimes don’t harden properly.
Now it’s time to decorate! I recommend using acrylic paints as they will act as a sealant and won’t absorb into the salt dough. It’s also worth using good quality paintbrushes such as these, if you can.
First you need to choose which members of the Nativity story you want to depict, as obviously you can’t include them all with just 5 fingers. We decided on making the thumb into baby Jesus as it looks like the taller fingers are looking down over him. Then next to him on the pointer finger we chose to depict Mary, followed by Joseph, an angel and a shepherd. Another option would be to paint Jesus on the palm instead in a manger, then turn the final finger into a Wise Man.
First we mixed a flesh tone and painted faces, then chose the colours for their clothing.
Then we made the palm yellow to represent straw, painted the whole background white and, when dry, went over the top to paint headdresses, wings and halos!
With some paint pens we added finer details such as facial features and the Star. You could also use these to write on a special message, Bible verse or simply your child’s name and the date.
It’s now ready to thread through some ribbon or twine and hang on display! If your child’s hand is big then the nativity salt dough hand print keepsake will be quite heavy, so it might be best displayed on a flat surface or propped on a shelf.
These ornaments will keep indefinitely when kept in a dry place without humidity. They’re SO lovely that you’ll want to give some to grandparents as gifts for sure!
If you liked this one you will love our Christmas Tree Salt Dough Handprint Keepsakes too!
And just a few weeks ago we made these gorgeous Fingerprint Gingerbread Men Keepsakes which are so cute.
If you want a straight up post about making simple Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments then this one is for you.
If you enjoyed this nativity salt dough hand print keepsake idea I would be so thrilled if you could share it on social media and leave me a comment! Thank you. Let us know how you get on with it if you give it a try with the kids!
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