During a December Turkey Calendar thirty-one years ago, the commander's wife invited us to her home to make Christmas ornaments - bread dough ornaments to be exact. Those ornaments still hang on our tree every year. It was a fun day and something that I've done again over the years, with our daughters, and today with the ladies from my Bible study group.
Since this is a food blog, I should say that this dough is not edible; for decorative use only!
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water, approximately
for assembly and finishing:
toothpicks (to add texture and patterns to dough)
garlic press (for making hair, etc.)
paperclips and wire cutters
watercolor paints and brushes
Sharpie pens (optional - for very fine detail)
Clear spray sealant
- to make the dough:
- Combine flour and salt
- Add just enough water to form a dough
- Kneed the dough to work in a little more flour - just to the point where the dough is no longer sticky. The dough should be soft, not stiff.
- Keep the dough wrapped in plastic to keep it from drying out.
- to make the ornaments:
- Use a small (6 inch square) piece of aluminum foil as your assembly/baking tray for your ornaments
- To create your personalized ornaments, analyze your design, breaking it down into individual elements, as illustrated in the angel assembly photos below
- Begin making each part of your design by rolling a little ball of the dough between the palms of your hands. This serves two purposes: it give you a smooth finish on the outside of your dough and will work out any air bubbles in your dough. You don't want a hollow spot that would weaken the structure.
- Keep the scale of your finished piece in mind as you create the "parts." For example, it you're making a head that will be on a body, the head should be about the size of a nickel. If you were making just Santa's face, the head could be as big as two inches in diameter. The "parts" should be no more than a 1/4 of an inch thick if you'll have more than one piece on top of another. Unless it's required by the nature of your piece, such as a teddy bear's belly.
- Open a paper clip so that you have sort of an S shape. Using the wire cutters, cut off the top and bottom of the S, to give you two very long thin U shaped pieces of wire.
- Add a loop to the top of your ornament (to give you a place to attach a hook) by inserting the open end of the U shaped cut paper clip into the dough and pushing it in until only about 1/4 of an inch remains above the dough.
- Fill a cookie sheet with your ornaments on foil and bake at 200 F or 100 C for about an hour; it may take much longer. The dough will become lighter as it dries out. You want it to be dry, but not burnt.
|the ball of dough is made into a cone shape and then flattened for the body|
|a smaller ball is flattened and attached to the top of the body|
|cone shapes bent at the end for wings, candle added, sleeves and hands|
|a little hair, made by running dough through the garlic press and inserted the wire loop into the top of the head|
|texture added to hem, sleeves, and collar with a toothpick point|
|The finished product|
- to finish the ornaments:
- After the ornaments have cooled, paint with water colors. I use the kind that comes in a tube (especially for the very necessary white) or a tray of kid's watercolors. If borrowing the kid's watercolors, you'll want them to be very thick, so let a few drops of water sit on each disk of paint for a few minutes before starting.
- After the paint has dried, lightly spray with a clear sealant. For best results and a long life for your ornaments, repeat the spray coating at least three times.
|Caroline's stocking and wreath|
Coralanne Y.'s Christmas bell and candy cane
|Klaudia's "brooch" and teddy bear|
|Santa in a F-16 for Janet's son the fighter pilot|
|For my friends at the Sweet Surrender coffee shop|
|Ed's shooting star|
|I opened up a wire hanger, putting ridges along the bottom to make a drying rack. It allows you to spray both sides at once.|
|I had an air bubble that broke off part of Santa's F-16|
|My first ornament - Snoopy flying an F-4 wearing the squadron's blue & white gingham scarf|
|When the girls were very young, they made some with cookie cutters|