Make cute thumbprint wreath ornaments out of salt dough! Your child’s picture surrounded by their thumbprints is a fantastic way to preserve Christmas memories.
We love all things handprint and thumbprint around here — each year, when we bring out the ornaments and other Christmas tree stuff, my kids fit their thumbs in the prints and look at the the old pictures while declaring that they used to be so small.
These DIY wreath ornaments are one of my favorite Christmas decorations. They’re not hard to make, are very durable, and bring back those happy memories. The kids loved squishing the salt dough to make them, and I love hanging their little faces on the tree.
What do I need for DIY Wreath Ornaments?
Salt: Salt is necessary to get that hardness in your finished ornament. I use plain old table salt in my salt dough, and that’s what I recommend.
Flour: All purpose flour allows the dough to stretch so that you can create your shapes. I’ve never tested this with any other kind of flour.
Warm Water: You do want your water to be warm to allow the flour and salt to mix together into a smooth dough.
Food Coloring: This step is optional. I put food coloring into the dough to get that green color, but you can also just paint the baked ornaments if you’d prefer to avoid dealing with the food color. I used Wilton gel colors to get that vibrant color, and it did not stain my hands, although your mileage may vary.
Straw: You need this to poke holes for the hanger to go through. Do NOT do what I did and forget this step.
Ribbon/Decorations: We used ribbon to make a little bow and as a hanger. You could also use yarn or twine as a hanger. Pompoms or other decorations would also look cute added on!
Hot Glue: Regular Elmer’s glue will not stick the pictures or the decorations to the salt dough. Hot glue works very well, though.
Pictures: I printed 4×6 pictures of my kids on cardstock. Photo paper would also be great, but I do not recommend regular computer paper for the pictures. It’s too thin and flimsy.
How do I make Salt Dough?
To make salt dough, mix the salt and flour together, then add warm water to the dry ingredients until you get a shaggy dough.
Once you’ve got a shaggy dough, turn that out onto a floured surface and knead util it becomes smooth.
If you’re planning to add food coloring, you can do that by making a small indentation in the center of your dough ball, putting the food coloring in there, and then kneading until the coloring is evenly distributed. Note that the dough will become less vibrant once it’s baked, so making the dough more saturated than you want for a final color is wise.
How do I make Thumbprint Wreath Ornaments?
Once you’ve got your dough rolled out, choose two items that will create concentric circles and use them to cut your dough. I used a mason jar and a small pyrex container. If you are fancy and have circular cookie cutter, those would be ideal.
Next, let the kids press their thumbs into the dough. This will create the wreath look along the edges.
When the kids have finished, use a straw to punch a hole at the top. I forgot to do this, and we did manage to fix it by using a drill to create a hole. I can attest, though, that it is much easier to just stab the dough with a straw before baking than it is to try to drill through without breaking the ornament.
Place your wreaths on a lined baking sheet and bake at 250° for 3 hours to harden. Allow them to cool.
Once the wreaths are cool, you trim your photos to fit the back of the wreath and hot glue them to the back so that the children’s faces are in the center of the wreath.
Then you can decorate them with ribbon, pompoms, pipe cleaners or whatever you’d like. Remember to add a ribbon as a hanger at the top!
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup table salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- Mix salt and flour in a large mixing bowl.½ cup table salt, 1 cup all purpose flour
- Add water and mix until a shaggy dough forms.½ cup warm water
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth.
- Your dough is ready to be used for crafting!