Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another preschool craft: homemade bread dough ornaments!

The holiday season puts me in a crafty mood. Despite having extra work pressures, multiple social engagements, and seemingly never-ending shopping lists, I find myself wanting to add crafts to my busy days. That is especially the case with Amelia around. I think she loves art even more than toys. Crafting provides us some special quiet togetherness time. It is a good way to slow down. (See our other preschool art project: fun with toilet paper rolls!)

The Christmas season also puts us in a giving mood. Amelia loves to create artistic masterpieces to give as gifts to her family. It is our way of saying thanks for all the presents they love to shower on her. This year, we decided to make homemade ornaments. I looked online for a dough idea that would be easy enough for both of us. I decided on Bread Dough Ornaments. I selected bread dough over salt dough because there was no baking required. I wasn't keen on the idea of baking something for over 2 hours.

Here are the instructions based on our experience with bread dough ornaments:
  • Take 6-9 slices of bread, remove the crusts (simply for color), and place them in a food processor. Process until you have fine crumbs.
  • Pour all the crumbs in a large bowl and add white or clear craft glue. About 1-2 tablespoons to start.
  • Knead the crumbs and glue together, adding more glue if moisture is needed, until you have a firm dough. (This part requires some hand strength, so parents probably need to do it)

  • Roll out the sticky dough with a plastic Play-Doh roller (plastic is better than a wooden rolling pin because the dough is so sticky), and use cookie cutters to create holiday shapes.

  • Place the shapes on a cooling rack and push straws or toothpicks through the top to make a hole for hanging. The cooling rack is useful for this step because the picks/straws can stand up while the ornaments dry. (Straws make a larger hole to easily add the string or ribbon in the last step; recommended if your ornaments are large enough)
We discovered a couple ways to decorate the ornaments:
  • The initial recipe said to dry the ornaments first overnight, but a 3-year-old crafter does not want to wait. So I let her paint the gingerbread man shapes right away using paint pens and glitter glue. Then we let those dry overnight.

  • For the Christmas tree ornaments, I decided to try a food coloring wash. I mixed food coloring with water and brushed it on the trees with a paintbrush. Then I let them dry overnight, and Amelia was able to embellish those the following day.

  • Once the ornaments are fully hard and dry (may even need 2 days), coat them with a layer of clear spray paint to seal them against mold and strengthen them. Finally, tie on a string or ribbon for hanging. All done!

Aren't they adorable?

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