Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | November 20, 2012

Santa Ornaments made from hand print in salt dough!

I have received many, many claims from at least a dozen different people claiming the image I had posted was theirs. Several are threatening legal action, though each one is not connected to any other. Hard to know what to do, so I removed it. I discovered that each has the same image on their own site, mostly business sites selling finished items of ceramic. I got the image from the Whoot website. I always give credit where it is due, and just didn’t know where that credit belongs. So sorry for any offense I’ve created. Just wanted to share a great idea.

I would love to receive images of anyone’s handprint art that have been made from this post, and would gladly replace this image with those! Anyone game to share?

I thought this idea looked so cute! It was posted on my facebook newsfeed page. I saw a comment from someone that theirs had started rising, so I want to mention that you should only use plain flour, with no self-rising flour or baking powder added.

Also, I searched online for salt-dough recipes, and many of them use a full cup of flour to the half cup of salt.

Please be sure to seal this with a good sealant after painting. If you don’t, bugs will destroy it in time.

I just went to a local craft store when I made dough ornaments and bought one that sprayed on. You can also find them that brush on, like shellac or varnish. It is easy to find, and can be found in many forms in discount stores, as well.

I have seen these left in a round disk with the hand print in the center, too. I like this one best, trimmed around the shape of the hand.. It would also make a great turkey if you painted it as a turkey, don’t you think?

Also, I will give you a personal warning from my own experience in making dough ornaments. Even the small ones are very heavy! So, keep that in mind when you think of how thick you are making it, as well as where you will hang it or what you will do with it, okay?

I think this is such a sweet idea, and one that preserves a child’s hand size, too!

Have a happy time crafting and creating your Christmas and Holiday this year!


Here is a recipe I found from Mommy Makes@

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
1. Combine ingredients and knead dough for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Roll dough out and cut around hand or cut circles out for making hand imprints. Use cookie cutters for ornaments or gift tags. If necessary, slightly dampen pieces to make them stick together.
3. Make a small hole for the hanger and prick to prevent air bubbles.
4. Bake at 300ºF about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. You may have to bake considerably longer depending on how thick your items are. They may not feel hard right away but will harden as they cool.
5. Paint and decorate as desired. Acrylic paints work best and use a varnish to make them shiny.

Read more at:

I also checked a recipe at:

It calls for the same proportion of ingredients as MommyMakes, but has changes in temp and time, etc. It calls for rolling out dough to 1/8″ and cutting shapes. I am sharing it here:

Original recipe makes 15 ornaments

              4 cups all-purpose flour
              1 cup salt
              1 1/2 cups warm water


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Mix flour and salt well. Gradually add water, stirring with a large spoon. Finish mixing with hands.
  3. Knead until soft and pliable.
  4. Roll out on floured surface about 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets. With a toothpick make a hole in the top of the ornament for threading string.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) until hard, about 1 hour.
  7. Decorate with paint and varnish to preserve.

Again, I hope you all find this helpful to make Holiday projects with your kids and spend time together having fun! These will give you something to cherish for years to come.

And please, if you know how do share pictures with us of your keepsakes with permission to add to this post! I would love to see them!



  1. Reblogged this on Annette J Dunlea Irish Author's Literary Blog.

  2. Too cute!

    Diane Fisher

    On Nov 19, 2012, at 11:42 PM, ShelleyJo’s Life Beat wrote: shelleyjomoozings posted: ” I thought this idea looked so cute! It was posted on my facebook newsfeed page. I saw a comment from someone that theirs had started rising, so I want to mention that you should only use plain flour, with no self-rising flour or baking powder added. “

  3. Fab idea – hope you don’t mind but I’m sharing your post on my facebook page! Maggie xx

  4. My lead teacher an myself are making this with our 3 year olds, for gifts for their parents. We made two batches today an only got 8 hand prints, (doubled receipe). No one mention how many it makes. I baked these tonight, what I did notice, when I took them out, 7 of them are hard an 1, isn’t. We will start again 2mrrw 12 more to go!

    • Wow! That is a huge task! I am glad you are playing with the kiddos. They will have something adorable to give to parents.
      I am wanting to make some with my great nephew to give to his mommy and to send to his second cousin who lives a state away. They became instant buddies on the first meeting. :)

  5. We got 12 handprints out of this recipe and a few cookie cutter ornaments… so about 16 cutouts total. We haven’t painted yet… but so far I am pleased! Can’t wait to see our final product!!!

  6. would modge podge work to seal it?

    • I do believe it should work just great!
      Just make sure to put it on every inch of it, front, back and sides.

  7. I made the mistake of using permanent black marker to make the fine lines…BIG mistake!!! When I sprayed them, the black ran all through the face!! Lesson learned the hard way!

    • That’s terrible! I would have thought permanent marker would be the way to go, myself.
      Thanks so much for sharing with us so we know what not to do.
      Which marker did you use?

      • I used black puff paint!

      • Diane,
        I am so glad you used a puff paint. The pic looks adorable! I wish we knew a way to collect everyone’s photos on this blog, or on a blog and refer back to this one. hmmmm. Let us know how it looks after you have sealed them all, okay?

    • I did the same thing with my first batch….sprayed with sprayable modge podge sealer after using a sharpie to outline…HUGE mistake….now on the second batch I bought a black paint marker but I am scared to spray the second batch still!!! I had to redo 6 hands and 2 paw prints!!

      • A friend of mine used puffy paint and it is fine. I am so sorry you had so much work put in and it didn’t turn out!

  8. hi i am planning on trying this with my girls this year i was just wondering how much mixture i would have to make to get 8 handprint ornaments for all the grandparents

    • One gal said she got 12 prints worth with this recipe.

    • Talked with my friend who used this recipe for her girl scout troup. She said they doubled the recipe to get a little over a dozen, I think. It also would depend on the size of the hand. They turned out adorable with using puffy paint for the outline. I am hoping she can post pics on her blog so we can link to it.

    • basically you need to times everything by 8. I have four kids and I did it last year with them and had to do it 8 times because we did hands and feet.

  9. Do you have to spray a baking sheet before placing them on it? also, how long do you let them cool?

    • Cindy,
      It is advised to use parchment paper in the pan. That is the only thing I have seen written to keep them from sticking to the pan.

      • Is there any way of getting them off my pan with out breaking them. Instructions say nothing about using parchment paper and I didn’t read this until they were already stuck to my pan…..

      • Ann-Marie,
        I am sorry I didn’t see this until now.
        I have never had to deal with them sticking, as I use parchment paper.
        I hope you found a way to get them from the pan without them being destroyed. I am sorry you’ve had this problem.
        Let me know how it went, okay?

      • For anyone else who makes the same mistake I did, I used a steak knife to pretty much cut it from the pan. Just be careful and ease it under!

  10. Looks pretty good in salt dough also!

  11. Hey this picture looks familiar. This pic is actually ceramic by me and was lifted off of pinterest by The Whoot, but this can be made of salt dough. Hope all goes well in making it.

  12. I love these, such a clever idea

  13. I really enjoy this recipe, however i have had a few cases when my handprints have bubbled up, any ideas?/

    • Anyone have an answer to help Jessi with the bubbling issue?

      • make this recipe for all Xmas cookie ornaments, etc, you have to pick them with a pin or needle to stop them from puffing.up, acrylic paints work best and varnish to cover all the ornament

    • I haven’t experienced the bubbling up of the dough, so I am sorry I can’t answer that one. Perhaps look at original site I posted in the blog and see if there is any answers on comments there, as well.

    • I use a toothpick to make little pokes in it. No bubbles and the little pokes don’t show up! So glad someone said not to use marker for the black. That’s what I was planning to do. Now I definitely won’t! Thanks

  14. What kind of varnish do I have to use to seal these? I’m running WAY behind and need to get these done tomorrow, is there something I can pick up at the hardware store? Because that’s the closest thing to me, it’s an hour to a craft store from here :/

    • Amanda, please read through the comments here. I hope the info shared helps. There are also issues with what type of marker/paint used. If the comments here don’t help, please go to local craft store and ask for advice.

  15. […] 1. Santa Salt Dough Hand Ornaments (I kind of followed the recipe in the picture here.) […]

  16. […] the directions if anyone is interested for the future. Ours turned out great, check them […]

    • Thanks for sharing Kristy!
      I had to click on your December posts to find it, but your pictures are adorable and I am so glad they turned out so well!
      Your kiddos are the adorable part of the pics! Just precious. I am so glad you took the time to blog on the success and I hope others find your post usefull, too!

  17. […] Santa Hand Ornaments […]

  18. On the hand Santa ornament: how do u get the raised handprint, my handprint was indented not raised

  19. Reyes to do this with my sister but it was too sticky to roll an do any handprints so completely wasted a pack of flour

  20. How long should I wait to put on the sealant?

    • Until it is completely cooled. I mean, completely! Otherwise, it is still emitting moisture.

  21. What kind of varnish and did you use paint or a black permanent marker for the tracing ?

  22. Can I use puzzle glue its thick and shiny hardens well. Thoughts? I’m on a budget since christmas is around the corner!

    • I am not sure about puzzle glue as I’ve never used it on clay or dough, but I think it should work. If it doesn’t leave a shiny and durable finish, just let it dry and apply more layers, drying in between.
      Clear nail polish does work well for some people, but I haven’t tried it. Over the years, I have just opted for safe choices to endure time, and purchased sealant at Craft stores and hardware stores.
      I have heard of people using hair sprays, but I would be concerned about discoloration over time.
      Typically, you can use any sealant that will dry clear and leave a good shine. This includes Elmer’s glue, as well as acrylic spray sealants you can find in craft stores. Just ask the staff. I have also heard that if you use glue, make sure to do several coats, drying in between, as the items tend to crumble more easily with time if glue is used and not enough layers. Make sure dough is not too dry, also or it will crack and crumble within a year – 3 years. Acrylic paints work very well, and a friend of mine used a paint pen that the paint puffs up and stays shiny for the outlines. I hope this helps everyone! Oh, and please use parchment paper. Also, if concerned about even drying/hardening, You can turn your pieces after top is dry and hard and finish bottom up. Let me know how it turns out, okay?

      • A friend of mine did these with her son who passed away earlier this year from a DIPG tumor. When getting her salt dough ornament out she noticed it had broke and for obvious reasons she can’t redo it. Is there any way to fix it if it breaks?

      • She can try to use evaporated milk straight from the can as glue. Do not dilute. My mom always fixed ceramic and clay objects with evap milk and they never broke again on those areas. Not the same as sweetened condensed milk! Evaporated Milk in the can is what we used.

  23. Can you make the dough the day before you are planning on making the handprints.

    • You can try. My concern would be that the dough would dry, which leads to cracking and crumbling in time. But perhaps wrapping it in plastic wrap would help? Not sure. Has anyone tried making it a day ahead?

    • I didn’t do a full day ahead of schedule but I made the dough the night before and it was fine in the morning. I added a little extra water and wrapped in plastic wrap. It was just about perfect when we got to it.

  24. Can someone please give an example by name of a sealant to use?

  25. […] ShelleyJoMoozings – Salt Dough Santa Ornaments […]

  26. You could also make a turkey out of this project, as well as a keepsake of the childs handprint without decoration. This is a great project idea! Thankyou!

    • That’s a great idea, Alicia. I posted this for inspiration, more than anything.

  27. […] ShelleyJoMoozings – Salt Dough Santa Ornaments […]

  28. I just recently painted my ornaments – still need to seal them. Was thinking of using modge podge since I have it, but I’m worried about the black running like most people said. I used black paint – has anyone had a problem with that? Suggestions greatly appreciated!

  29. […] shared with you. Well this idea is a very cheap, easy made and precious way to do such a thing. It is a handprint memorabilia ornament that you can keep for as long as you like until you’re ready to pass it down to them. I made one […]

  30. My girls are little can they just use washable markers to color them? Or does it have to be paint?

    • Honestly, I don’t know. You will want to seal them, and usually people use a varnish, which is wet and would ruin washable markers. However, there are spray sealants, and perhaps that would seal it in well.
      My sister found that, with her youngest grandchildren, to let them do the bigger paint area, and then she did the finer details.

  31. […] a reindeer theme would be super cute, so we made our salt dough handprints, following the same recipe as last year. Then we painted! Now, I’m not too craft savvy. I took the advice of an employee at […]

  32. I did the hand ones with my son he loved it. But we did it for thanksgiving and turned them into turkey’s instead on santa.

  33. We are making turkeys…a present for my husband, “Happy Thanksgiving from your little turkeys” (as he calls the kids). :)

  34. Please stop these notifications to me.i don’t want them. !!!

    • I didn’t send any notifications, so I don’t know why you are getting them. I haven’t been on here since April. Sorry you are being hastled.

  35. Hello ShellyJo,
    Please contact me regarding Santa ornament.
    Thank you, Debbie

    • Hi, Debbie
      I am replying to your request for me to contact you regarding the Santa Handprints. I visited your blog and your etsy shop.

  36. Hello Shelly Jo,

    I understand you just copied this from the Whoot who I am getting in touch with, but I will need to get a cease and desist order now if you cannot give me credit here

    • I cannot tell you how many people have claimed this is their image and recipe. The thing is, I didn’t just copy from the Whoot. I even linked to blogs I took info from, if you read this blog post. Thanks.

      • “To whom it may concern,

        I am writing to you to notify that your unlawful using of my image and displaying on your blog (or website): URL where your stolen images are posted infringes my exclusive intellectual property copyrights. Accordingly, you are hereby directed to


        It has come to our attention that you have been displaying a photo/a photo derived from the image/an illustration derived from the image copyright of which belongs to your name. We havecopies/screenshots of your page and unlawful distribution of our intellectual property as evidence.

        Under 17 U.S.C. 504, the consequences of copyright infringement includes statutory damages up to $150,000 per image. If you continue to engage in copyright infringement after receiving this letter, your actions will be evidence of “willful infringement”.

        We demand that you remove the photo/illustration derived from the image that is created by your name from your website/blog/page.

        With a copy to your their email and their other email (if you can find more than one). If you or your attorney have any questions, please contact me directly at your e-mail address.



  37. Do you still need an image of this ornament? I’m making them now. I’d be more than happy to send you an image when I’m done.

    • Yes, please! I would love it!

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