Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments - Part II

Things I've learned about making salt dough ornaments since my last post:
  1. Despite the fact that we got the idea to make salt dough ornaments from a dated craft book, it turns out that salt dough ornaments are far from forgotten; they turned up on several  blogs I follow this month, from The Artful Parent to TinkerLab to Paint Cut Paste (gluten free, no less!). So I'm not nearly as vintage chic as I had thought, as there are lots of folks out there having fun with salt dough right now. I am honored to share the company, and these ladies have lots of awesome and unique decorating ideas.

  2. Figuring out how to finish the ornaments proved more of an ordeal than I had anticipated. The recipe I consulted suggested using "shellac."  When I went to Michael's, I wasn't able to find shellac or to find anyone who could tell me where to find shellac. I found myself in the adhesives aisle for a while, in the paint aisle for a while, in the miscellaneous things that spray aisle for a while...nothing seemed quite right. I started exploring other blogs for ideas, and I still wasn't able to come up with anything definitive. The next day, I went to the hardware store, and there I found shellac. It was expensive ($15 for a small can), and I had to buy a lot more than I needed. I do like the shiny finish that it gave the ornaments, however (even if it made for bad photos, as the flash reflected in the shininess). One thing I did notice is that it needed to be painted on very thinly, particularly over white sections so as not to give it a yellowish tint.

  3. My biggest mistake was that I used a Sharpie to add customization to the ornaments before shellacking them. Despite the fact that Sharpies are permanent and that I wrote on the ornaments the day before I shellacked them, they still smeared. Grrrrr.  Fortunately, I noticed it right away. I was able to work with it by kind of lightly dabbing the areas with writing then painting all around them. Next time, I'll shellac them first then write on them with a Sharpie. It wasn't a disaster, but it did make the ornaments noticeably less impressive.

  4. A lot of the other bloggers that wrote about salt dough ornaments talked about how happily their kids painted the ornaments. My kid enjoyed making the ornaments for his friends and painting a few others, but he got bored pretty quickly. In part, I think that if we had been working in a place where it was okay to paint with reckless abandon, he may have had more fun; I opted to use acrylic paints, and they look great, but because they stain fabric, we had to be extra careful. This would be a great project for outside; in these parts, we don't generally do Christmas crafts outdoors, however. As noted in my previous post, I might experiment with paint markers next time. I also really like the look of stamping the ornaments. 

  5. In the end, we had close to three dozen ornaments, some painted by Finn, some by Iona, and some by me. We put a few on the tree, a lot on presents, and sent a few back to France with Iona. And we will definitely be making more salt dough ornaments in the future (particularly since I still have a lump of dough in the freezer...). 
Just shellacked
For Finn's preschool pals
Initials in the tree
Gingerbread boy
Finn's heart
Ho Ho Ho piano

                        1 comment:

                        1. Those are all wonderful Hope! You have such patience and you are a wonderful Mom!!!

                          Auntie Cher