TUTORIAL: Christmas Salt Dough Handprint Gifts

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Okay, so I know that it’s only October, but my favourite time of the year is coming up and I’ve decided to start my celebrations early. I always find it difficult to come up with craft projects which my daughter will enjoy as she is only 18 months old, so I racked my brains and came up with this!

She’s going to give them to her special friends and family for Christmas- they’re sentimental, cheap (always a plus!), and very cute! My girl loved getting her hands dirty playing around with the dough, and I’m sure kids of all ages will love to create them (or even adults- I know I enjoyed myself!).

It was quite time consuming, but definitely worth it. I mean, anyone can give a mug or a pair of socks, but a lovely personalised gift from a special person that can hang on the tree each year is bound to make anyone’s day!

Makes around 6 gifts.

What you’ll need for the salt dough:

  • 400g plain flour
  • 200g table salt
  • Water

For the decorations:

  • A couple of colours of thin ribbon, preferably in Christmas-themed colours
  • PVA glue
  • Glitter
  • Acrylic or poster paint in your colour choice
  • Sticky tabs or double sided tape
  • An old rag
  • Clay texture mat or stamps
  • Small letter stamps

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Step one:
Combine the flour and salt, then add water until you have a doughy texture. You don’t want it to be sticky or crumbly.

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Step two:
Take around a sixth of the mixture and use the palm of your hand to flatten it out like this.

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Step three:
Take the child’s hand and let them push it into the centre of the dough, hard enough so that it leaves an imprint.

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Step four:
Repeat with the rest of the dough. Now cut off the excess and put the handprints to one side.

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Step five:
Combine all the pieces of excess dough and roll it all back out, then cut out small circles with a cookie cutter. You’ll need the same amount of these as the amount of handprints you have.
My daughter got fed up at this point and had a tantrum, so I ended up finishing most of the project. Kids, eh?!

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Step six:
Use a texture mat (or whatever you’ve decided to use) on all of the circles.

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Step seven:
Use your letters to form whatever you want your message to be. Press them in quite deep, but not so deep that it comes out the other side!

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Step eight:
Make holes at the top of all of the handprints and “baubles”, ensuring they are big enough for your ribbon to fit through. Also bear in mind that wherever you put these holes determine which way your gift will hang on the tree. Basically, just don’t put it the wrong end!

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Step nine:
Place everything in the oven on gas mark 4. After 20 minutes turn them all over and bake for a further 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them, though, because you don’t want them to get too brown, and you certainly don’t want them to burn! When you think they’re ready just give them a little tap with your fingernail and they should sound hollow. If not, put them back in the oven and check every 5 minutes.

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Step ten:
While your dough is baking, wash your hands and get all of your decoration tools on a clean surface. Decide roughly how wide you want your bow to be, double it, then cut your ribbon at this length. Then cut three more pieces at around a quarter of that length.

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Step eleven:
Place a little double sided tape or a glue dot in the middle of the largest piece of ribbon.

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Step twelve:
Press the two ends into the middle and make sure they are stuck. It should look similar to the above image.

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Step thirteen:
Place a glue dot where the two ends meet, then wrap one of the smaller pieces of ribbon around the middle, making sure they meet at the back and you can’t see any connection at the front.

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Step fourteen:
Take the other two of your smaller pieces and cut triangles out of one end. Stick them to the back of your bow, so that they point downwards on a slight angle. Set your bow to one side.

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Step fifteen:
Paint on top of your circles, making sure you get right into any imprints made by the letters and patterns.

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Step sixteen:
Dampen your rag slightly and rub it gently over the paint. This should remove the paint from the main part of the dough, leaving it in the creases.

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Step seventeen:
Take your handprint and roughly sketch around the outside with the paint.
NOTE: My dough had risen more than it should’ve, so this just helped to accentuate the shape and size of the handprint itself. 

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Step eighteen:
Dab some PVA evenly over both the handprint and the circle. This will just help to seal the paint and harden the dough slightly.

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Step nineteen:
While the glue is still sticky, sprinkle some pretty glitter over your handprint. Leave to dry fully before continuing.

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Step twenty:
Take a long piece of ribbon and tie it tightly through the hole of your handprint and the circle, making sure they are held securely together. Keep the circle on top.

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Step twenty-one:
Tie the other end of your ribbon together so that it can hang from a tree. Tie it again so that it is extra secure. Now trim the excess, leaving a good few centimeters of ribbon coming off the second knot.

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Step twenty-two:
Take the two pieces of ribbon and press it down onto one side of scissors. Pull it gently along your finger so that the ribbon curls.
NOTE: This is probably a job for adults only- be careful with little fingers when using scissors! Oh, and please ignore my ugly nails!

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Step twenty-three:
Use some more sticky dots/ double sided tape to stick your bow onto the circle, making sure you can still read the message.

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Step twenty-four (optional):
Wrap up in some lovely gift wrap and send your gift to a special friend. Alternatively, keep your beautiful creation for yourself and hang it on your Christmas tree!

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Thank you for reading! I hope your handprint turned out well. Please leave a message below with any questions. Merry (early) Christmas, my lovelies! :)

 

 

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