Homemade Ornaments (great at-home project!)

by Kelli Lewis

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Want to get your students (or your own children!) in the true holiday spirit? Try bonding together by creating something unique and special! Here’s an idea to get children thinking of others by using their art and math skills to make an ornament.

You can use the below recipe for air-dry clay. Children have lots of fun helping measure (math tie-in!) and mix. But here’s the catch to this project: the ornament they make is not for them to keep. They must give it away! If you do this activity with a class or group of children, they can have an ornament exchange afterward (by drawing each others’ names out of bowl). If you do this at home, challenge your children to think of someone (a friend, neighbor, sibling) that they would like to give their ornament to.

Here’s a simple recipe for making air-dry clay ornaments that was found at www.dltk-kids.com.

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. powdered alum
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • boiling water (amount varies depending on your humidity)
  • food colouring
  1. Combine flour, salt, and alum in a mixing bowl
  2. Add vegetable oil.
  3. Slowly add boiling water, stirring the entire time.  Dough should not be sticky.
  4. Break dough into separate portions if desired.
  5. Add food coloring and knead until it is incorporated (your hands may get a bit messy here).Children can form clay into wreaths, stockings, or any other holiday or wintry shape. Cookie cutters work well, too! Flatter shapes are ideal because they will dry well. Make sure that at least part of the shape is open, as well, to allow for a ribbon to be looped through for hanging once it’s dry.
  6. Let dry 48 hours in a warm, breezy location.
  7. OPTIONAL:  Paint with clear nail polish or varnish once dry to better preserve the ornament.
  8. Store for up to a month in an airtight container.

Once the ornaments are dry, children can make a card or wrap them, and then they can enjoy the delight on the recipient’s face when they give their ornament away!

Kelli Lewis is a graduate student at The University of Georgia who is chock-full of great ideas and insights. We’re so glad she shares them with us at A Learning Experience!

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2 Comments

Filed under Activities, Classroom Community, Math

2 responses to “Homemade Ornaments (great at-home project!)

  1. peggy

    Thanks for the recipe. We tried making cinnamon applesauce ornaments last year and they didn’t work. I will try this recipe to make the clay ones. Thanks!

  2. connie wiley

    Easy recipe. I also love the idea of an ornament swap. This would be a great activity for a Sunday School party or neighborhood party. These ornaments would also make great gifts for a nursing home. A great way to get the kids into the spirit of giving.