General ramblings

Homemade Christmas clay decorations

Our Advent activity yesterday was to make clay decorations (you can read all about our Advent calendar, and some of the ‘things to do’ here).

This is the post from The Woodside Kitchen, that is the inspiration, and this is what we are aiming for….

The Woodside Kitchen's very stylish and sophisticated looking decorations

The Woodside Kitchen’s very stylish and sophisticated looking decorations

They are similar to the salt dough decorations that I’m sure everyone has done at some point, but I think a bit nicer!

I was a little concerned how they would come out, having read some of the comments on the blog post, reporting cracked decorations and things, but they were actually surprisingly easy (child’s play even!).

This is what you need: (The original post is American I think, so I am ‘Anglicising’ the ingredients..)

  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1 cup bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • Food colouring (optional-we left ours plain) Add it to the water if you want to use some

This is what you do:

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan over a low-medium heat, stirring continuously
  • It will gradually (and then quite suddenly!) start to thicken
  • Once it is the consistency of mashed potato turn off the heat and leave it to cool

Cornflour decs1

  • Once it has cooled, knead it well (it may have formed a crust on top, don’t panic if it has, mine did. I kneaded it and it all disappeared). You can add a little more cornflour if it is a bit sticky
  • Then roll it out (I didn’t flour the surface and it was fine) to about 5mm thick, and stamp out your shapes-you can use anything you have to hand-we used playdough cutters, and these toys from SmallSmall’s shape sorter car!

Cornflour decs41

  • You can then decorate them using rubber stamps (with no ink!)
  • Make a hole for hanging them-either use a straw, or we used an emptied out BIC type biro
  • Transfer them carefully to a lined baking sheet
  • Bake them in the oven at 80C for an hour, turning them over halfway through
  • Allow to cool, and then I think you can paint them and glaze them with clear varnish-various comments on the original Woodside Kitchen post describe painting them with acrylic paints, water colours etc. I am going to leave mine plain, but given half a chance, I suspect BigSmall will want to decorate his!

This is my attempt at replicating the sophistication of the Woodside Kitchen’s decs:

Cornflour decs31

Cornflour decs21

And these are BigSmall’s:

A dog "with a plaster on his leg"

A dog “with a plaster on his leg”

Random shape, but nice helicopter stamp!

Random shape, but nice helicopter stamp!

And I think this is my favourite, a fish with a steam train stamp...!

And I think this is my favourite, a fish with a steam train stamp…!

Apparently the unbaked dough will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for a couple of weeks, just bring it up to room temperature and knead it well before you use it. You can easily double the amounts if you want to make more, and I was contemplating adding a bit of glitter too…

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  • Reply Advent Activities | My Make Do and Mend Year November 30, 2014 at 7:11 am

    […] Make salt dough, or cornflour dough decorations We made some cornflour ones a couple of years ago, and they looked pretty good! Or check out this tutorial on the Imagination […]

  • Reply Advent Activities | My Make Do and Mend Year November 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    […] Make some salt dough decorations-we did this last year, and it worked really well. I am not sure though that they will have survived […]

  • Reply maggy, red ted art January 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I love the stamping. So pretty!

    • Reply Jen January 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Thankyou! It was really easy, and I thought it gave a nicer finish that the traditional salt dough ones.

  • Reply Boxing Day Place Names « My Bakes and Makes December 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    […] been dying to try out Make Do and Mend’s clay decorations, so when my mum asked me to make some place names for the table on Boxing Day, I knew exactly what […]

  • Reply Deck the Halls… « My Make Do and Mend Year December 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

    […] For those who missed it, you can find out how to make them here. […]

  • Reply buttonsandpaint December 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Love these! Have given making them a go & linked back to you on our blog –

    PS: your ‘anglicised’ version really helped as I always get confused what baking soda actually is!!

    • Reply Jen December 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Love them! The button one is my favourite. Next time I will try and make button shaped decorations!! Fab blog 🙂

  • Reply Scrapiana December 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Very nice! They look very pro. And surely every fish needs a steam engine motif?

    • Reply Jen December 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm


  • Reply Ellie December 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    The dog with a bad leg is my favourite – its Christmas for injured pets too y’know 🙂 x

    • Reply Jen December 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      I know, isn’t he sweet. Not usre he’ll make it through Christmas though. The break looks pretty bad… 😉

  • Reply meggiemae67 December 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    These are so pretty! I love this idea!!!!

    • Reply Jen December 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks-have a go yourself!

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo December 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Fab, I used to make stuff out of salt dough, but you had to bake it for hours and hours, I like this reciepie much better, they will look great on the ‘egg box’ tree (have I missed the pics of the tree yet?)

    • Reply Jen December 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Not yet Jo. Being contructed this weekend! Hopefully these decs will be light enough for it. Give it a go-it’s easy peasy, and I think they look quite stylish!

  • Reply Annie Hitch December 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I don’t know if you read the Guardian but George Monbiot’s Comment is Free piece this week is just up your street. I agree with him 100% and I’m sure you will too.


    • Reply Jen December 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

      I did and as you said, I completely agree. I linked up to it on the FB page, to try and spread the word a bit! Thanks for thinking of me 🙂

    • Reply Alice December 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Well done on the decorations. They look really good. 🙂

      Thanks for posting that article Annie. Really interesting. I’m trying to have a very low key make your own gifts kind of Christmas.

      • Reply Jen December 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        Fab Alice. What have you made? Would love to see some pics

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