Staying in days often breed surprises, as was the case this morning. Finn came across a recently acquired book on the shelf: Arts & Crafts from Things Around the House. Sean brought it home from work not too long ago; I think it was a cast-off from a classroom book collection. It reminds me of the craft books I used to check out from my elementary school library, and, given the 1983 publication date, it may in fact be something I read back then:
The first project that Finn selected involved collecting pine branches, splashing them with white tempera paint, adding drops of glue then sprinkling them with glitter. I managed to talk him out of that one. Then he picked out a project called "Make and Bake Play Dough." Perfect.
The dough requires flour, water, and a lot of salt. We had everything on hand that we needed (except the shellac, which we will do later). I pulled out a handful of cookie cutters and we were on our way.
NOTE: This makes a ridiculous amount of play dough. I filled two big cookie sheets with ornaments and still froze enough to make at least one more batch (I should add that I'm not sure you can freeze salt dough, but I though it was worth a shot). You may want to halve the recipe if you don't need a bajillion ornaments.
Make and Bake Play Dough
- Mix 2 cups salt, 5 cups flour, and 2 cups warm water. I put it in my stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add additional water as needed to make the dough easy to handle.
- Knead until smooth.
- Roll out with a rolling pin on waxed paper to a 1/2 inch thickness.
- Use a knife or cookie cutter to cut the dough to desired shapes. Transfer to a cookie sheet. If you want to hang your creations, poke a hole at the top (a straw works really well for this).
- Bake at 300 for a hour (I baked mine a little longer - they still seemed soft after an hour). When they are cool, paint and coat with a clear shellac.
The ornaments I liked the best were the ones I painted to read "HO HO HO." I plan on stringing them onto a garland and hanging them in the kitchen. I made the letters by pressing refrigerator magnets into the soft dough, then painting over the indentations. I originally was going to do "JOY" until I realized that I needed to use letters that worked in mirror image. "HO HO HO" was the perfect solution :)
We're not done with this project yet - it'll take a few days to see it through to completion. But here are a few pics of our progress so far.