Since 1992, I have been involved in an ornament club with about 15-20 friends and relatives. Every year, we get together on the first Saturday in December to swap handmade ornaments. Of course, that entails coming up with something original every year. But you would be amazed at some of the awesome things that we have exchanged over the years.
On Feature Fridays, I will be featuring a craft tutorial and not only showing off my current projects, but some of the projects from years past. So even though it is almost 100 degrees outside, my flower gardens are wilting and my hair is nothing but a big frizz, we are going to take a little break and bring Christmas to July. I can feel the cool breeze already…
This ornament was my idea for 1993. It is created from a simple bread dough recipe and is actually a great project to do with your children. Totally non-toxic and tons of fun. For this project I used:
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
3″ wood circle
Clear coat varnish
Mix flour and salt together in a bowl and add water gradually, mixing with your hands until you have a dough consistency. It should not be sticky. If so, add a bit of flour.
Now for the fun part. Make an 1 1/2″ diameter ball, and top it with a 1″ ball. Roll out the legs.
Attach the legs to the body using a drop of water to adhere the two pieces.
I then created ears and a nose by forming smaller balls, shaping them and adding with a drop of water. For the boy bear, I made a small train. I assembled it on top of the circle to ensure a good fit. At this point, be sure to use a pencil point to make an indent in the top of their heads for the eye hook.
The girl bear is put together in a similar fashion. For her dress, I rolled out dough between my fingers and then flattened it, draping it over her legs and around her body.
All pieces are then put on a pan that is covered with aluminum foil and baked in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours. Be sure to turn the pieces over when they are about half way done to ensure that the bottom cooks all the way. Your house will smell pretty darn awesome by the way.
Allow pieces to cool completely before painting. Unfortunately, I allowed mine to cool at “dog level” and I had to remake one of my train pieces because Ralph ate it. I’m sure he thought it was a train shaped doggie treat.
Once the pieces cool, you can start painting.
Screw the eye hook into the indent that you made in their heads. (This is optional- if you don’t want to hang the ornament, you can leave it off).
The next step (and most important) is to give them several coats of clear, non yellowing varnish. Be sure to turn them upside down and get the bottom also. The nature of bread dough is that like any natural substance, it can have the tendancy to deteriorate. Particularly if you live in a humid environment. Oh, like say Atlanta, GA. If you protect it with several coats of clear coat, you will not be disappointed a year or so later when it becomes a pile of flour dust. Just sayin’.
Glue your pieces down onto your painted wood circles. I used a strong bond type glue for the bears so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them falling off the tree and becoming doggie treats.
The possibilities for bread dough are endless. You could make a baby’s first Christmas by making blocks instead of the train and putting the baby’s name on them. Or, you could get totally carried away like I did and make a big Christmas scene for your bear buddies.
Flip Flop Pillows - a great summer project for little girls. Or even a big girl or two…