Christmas Scented Gingerbread Salt Dough Ornaments

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Add an old-fashioned, rustic feel to your holiday decorations, create simple keepsake ornaments, and keep your little ones entertained for hours with these Christmas-scented gingerbread salt dough ornaments. From a peppermint pop to a soft maple morning, these simple Christmas crafts offer all the holiday feels with little mess and no hard-to-find ingredients! Let’s jump in and make Gingerbread salt dough ornaments!

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Okay, confession time- I am not the crafty mom. That’s my sister! She’s amazing with her immaculate “build a log cabin out of popsicle sticks and who cares if you make a mess” mentality. 

That is not me. 

I’m more of the hovering, sweeping crumbs into my palm, and trying not to take over type. Or I swing the pendulum the other way and disappear until everyone is finished covering themselves and half the room in green paint, and then I handle clean up. 

So for me to be writing out a craft idea means that it is truly simple and largely mess-free. 

Now, let’s be real here, no craft is 100% mess-free! If your dough is the right consistency though, it is less messy than Play-Doh, non-toxic, and loads of fun! (It also dries up and vacuums up easily if some does get dropped!) 

Alright, first things first-

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    What is salt dough? 

    Salt dough is made using flour, salt, and water. It has the texture of typical Play-Doh or clay.

    It can be kept in an air-tight Ziploc bag and played with over and over again, or it be dried out in the oven or in the sun to keep your creation!

    a batch of gingerbread salt dough sitting in a disc shape on the counter,

    Salt dough makes a great addition to our average homeschool day. Whether it is to entertain the little ones while the older ones work or to create a diorama of a cell, salt dough is the perfect medium.  

    How to make your salt dough scented? 

    We don’t do scented salt dough generally, but Christmas is a special time of year! One of our favorite parts of decorating for Christmas is just opening the tote of Christmas decorations. 

    We all stand around the box as the lid is lifted and we are met with the sweet scent of cinnamon and pine! It doesn’t get much better! 

    Of course, you do not have to make your salt dough scented, but if you love the scent of Christmas, why not add it to your salt dough? 

    There are lots of ways you could scent your salt dough. If you are an oily Mama, you may even want to use essential oils! Perhaps a special blend for when your little one is stuffy to help with congestion and entertain all at once! 

    Personally, I love to use everyday items from around the kitchen. Peppermint extract, maple flavoring, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, or orange zest can all create beautiful scents in your salt dough ornaments!

    The choice is yours when it comes to scent. Play around with combinations or skip it all together!

    Christmas scented gingerbread men laid on parchment paper

    What fun things can you do with salt dough?

    Salt dough is versatile. 

    It can be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters, shaped to make a handprint keepsake ornament, crafted into a 3D sculpture, dried, painted, or played with again and again!

    Get creative and spend a chilly afternoon indoors with salt dough!

    Our first Christmas in our own home was so exciting! 

    We only had two little ones back then.

    Our Christmas tree that had been handed down sat bearing sparse limbs in our front window. To us, it was beautiful, though Martha Stewart might disagree. 

    Our handful of hand-me-down and collected ornaments just wasn’t cutting it though. So we decided to make our own. 

    That was my first experience with salt dough and I was hooked! (Pun intended.)

    I loved the look of what appeared to be sugar cookies hanging from our tree. The following year we made more, adding cocoa powder for a gingerbread look. That was when it hit me- they looked like gingerbread men, but what if they smelled like them also?

    The rest is history. 

    How to make Christmas-scented gingerbread salt dough ornaments

    Step-by-step 

    Making a homemade salt dough ornament is so simple your older children may even be able to do this without your watchful eye! Unlike real gingerbread cookies, there is no mixer required. In fact, if you have a sunny window or a warm day, there may be no need for even an oven!

    To make your gingerbread ornaments, start with 3 3/4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Using a large wooden spoon stir all your dry ingredients together. 

    flour, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon combined in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon

    Note: When I bake for my family I tend to go for higher quality, organic ingredients. Since we do not eat salt dough (ideally, anyways, I do have toddlers) I use dollar store ingredients. 

    If you plan to make cinnamon ornaments, add your cinnamon in with the dry ingredients. Simply add two tablespoons of cinnamon. For a stronger scent, you can always add more but you may need to add more water to bring the batch of dough together. 

    Once your flour mixture is fully combined, add 1 1/2 cup of room temperature or slightly warm water to your bowl. I add a tablespoon of maple extract into the water as well for maple-scented, cinnamon gingerbread salt dough. 

    Mix until fully combined. You cannot overmix salt dough, the more you play with it the softer and more clay-like it will become. 

    If you are going for a rustic farmhouse look you may want to not mix quite as much (like these). 

    gingerbread man salt dough Christmas ornament

    For a more authentic-looking gingerbread cookie with no cracks or crumbles, knead well!  (add another image here)

    gingerbread salt dough keepsake ornament

    Once your dough has come together, you are free to use it or play with it any way you like. (My daughter said she was making turd-balls, but I personally don’t suggest that.) 

    To Make Your Gingerbread Salt Dough into Ornaments 

    Making your salt dough into usable ornaments is simple and in my opinion the best part!

    Then, using a rolling pin or even the palm of your hand, roll or press your dough out to your desired thickness. 

    Thicker ornaments will take longer to fully dry out in the oven. I usually aim for somewhere between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch thickness. 

    a woman rolling out salt dough with a rolling pin

    Once your dough is rolled out, use a gingerbread man cookie cutter or any Christmas cookie cutter you like to create your handmade ornaments. (Check out the Shop this Post section at the bottom of this post for Christmas cookie-cutter links!)

    Transfer your ornaments to a cookie sheet fitted with a piece of parchment paper. 

    You’ll want to go ahead and make your small hole to string your baker’s twine, ribbon, or Christmas hook through for hanging it on the Christmas tree. I use a plastic straw for this, but you can use anything around your kitchen- a toothpick, chopstick, or even a fondant shaper. 

    a woman poking holes in Christmas salt dough ornaments

    Transfer your Christmas-scented ornaments to a 200 ° oven. Check them every hour or two. They should be completely dried out with no dark moisture spots remaining before they are finished!

    Cool your homemade ornaments completely and then decorate! 

    Add ribbon scarves, embellish them with acrylic or puffy paint, or even cut tiny gingerbread overalls or aprons from scrap fabric. Use craft glue to adhere your fabric to the gingerbread ornaments.

    Once dried, string a piece of ribbon, twine, or Christmas hook through the small hole you punctured before baking and hang them on the tree! You can also string them up as a garland, add them to wreaths, or lay them on a plate like Christmas cookies for decoration. 

    A salt dough ornament is also a great gift idea! Adding a handprint or footprint to your dough ornaments also makes wonderful keepsakes! 

    Printable Recipe

    Yield: about 2 dozen ornaments

    Christmas-Scented Gingerbread Salt Dough

    gingerbread salt dough

    These Christmas scented gingerbread salt dough ornaments are perfect for adorning your Christmas tree or for homemade gifts for everyone on your list!

    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 2 hours
    Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 3 2/3 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 cup salt
    • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 Tablespoon maple or peppermint extract (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Begin by combining all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, stir well with a wooden spoon to combine.
    2. Form a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into the well. Mixing slowly, to keep from slinging flour everywhere, until all the dough liquid is mixed in and the dough is coming together. You may need to do this by hand!
    3. Once the dough has come together into a ball- you now have your salt dough! This can be played with or made into ornamants.
    4. To make the ornaments, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch- 1/2 inch thickness and cut out with Christmas cookie cutters. Transfer to a cookie sheet fitted with a piece of parchment paper.
    5. Using a straw or chopstick, puncture a hole in the ornament, this is where you will place your string, twine, or ribbon!
    6. Dry out the ornaments in a 200° oven for 2-4 hours, depending on thickness, until completely dry!
    7. Once your ornamenets are dry, you can paint them or decorate them any way you choose! Make gingerbread garland or hang them on the tree!

    Notes

    You can use essential oils or more or less extract as you see fit to achieve your desired scent!

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    I hope you enjoy some Christmas crafting and making salt dough ornaments with us this year! 

    Happy Crafting!

    Happy Aiming!

    -Ashley

     Shop this Post 

    Christmas Cookie Cutters

    Baker’s Twine

    Acrylic Paint

    Christmas Ribbon 

    Ornament hooks

    Puffy Paint

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