Are you panicking about Christmas gifts?  Supply chain issues have been brutal this year!  If you need something quick and easy, I’ve got you covered! This keepsake handprint ornament is the perfect gift for your child to give grandparents, special friends, aunts, uncles, or anyone who keeps your little one in their heart.  And, it couldn’t be easier.  It takes about 30 minutes of active time and 3 ingredients you’re guaranteed to have in your cupboard.  

Read on to knock some gifts off your list and have fun with your kiddo at the same time!  

The activity pack hitting the store this week features Jan Brett’s classic picture book The Mitten.  We’re close enough to Christmas that mitten ornaments seemed like the natural fit. And who doesn’t want a handprint from their kiddo? Trust me parents, those hands get so big, so fast, print them while you can!  I had to take a print from my DOG because my big boys were at school when I filmed the tutorial and the dog was the next best solution. Plus, my boys have man sized hands at this point and a man mitten hanging on the tree isn’t as cute!  

Grab the book, read it to your kids, and then make some mittens so you can remember their tiny hands forever!


Supplies:

All the supplies needed to make our ornaments.
  •    1 cup flour
    • All purpose is fine
  • ½ cup salt
    • Standard table salt is perfect
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Measuring tools
  • A large bowl
    • For mixing
  • A knife
    • To cut a mitten around our hand
  • A straw
    • To poke our ribbon hole
  • Paint
    • I used white as a base and then added pretty metallic, but you use whatever color you’d like!
  • Decorating Items
    • To trim our mittens.  I used pom poms, but you could use cotton batting, faux fur, ric rac, even sequins would be fun!  
  • Ribbon
    • For hanging
  • A cookie sheet
  • A rolling pin
  • Glue
    • I used hot glue, you can use any kind of all purpose glue

Step 1: Mix Your Salt And Water

    Put ½ cup salt in your bowl and add ½ cup boiling water. Stir until the salt dissolves.  The salt may not fully dissolve and that’s fine, just stir until it looks like no more salt is dissolving. 

Step 2: Add Flour

A pair of hands holding a ball of salt dough.

Now add ½ cup flour.  Mix well with a spoon.  It’ll form a goopy flour/water situation.  This is normal!  

Add your other ½ cup flour and mix with your hands. The dough will start to solidify and form a ball. This is what we’re looking for!

Kids can absolutely help with the measuring and dumping, and even the mixing if we’re careful with the hot water.  

Step 3: Roll It Out

Hands rolling dough to the correct thickness.

Once we have a nice ball of dough, we’ll plop it out onto our counter.  You can spread a little flour to stop your dough from sticking.

Use your rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  

Step 4: Make The Print

A springer spaniel having her paw print taken in the dough. She looks a bit defeated.

Once the dough is smooth, have your kiddos press their hands into the dough.  When placing their hand, leave about 3 inches on every side of the hand to give yourself plenty of room to cut the mitten.  Try to have them place it as flat as possible, but the world will not end if you have a slightly funky print!  

Step 5: Cut The Mitten

Cutting a mitten shape around the paw print in the dough.

Using the handprint as a guideline, cut a mitten shape in the salt dough with the handprint in the center.  I used a pencil to gently outline the mitten before I cut it.  If you’re more confident than I am, you can free style it.  The worst thing that can happen if you biff it is you ball up the print, roll out the dough, and try again!

Step 6: Transfer To A Cookie Sheet & Make Your Ribbon Hole

Using a spatula to transfer the mitten shaped salt dough to a cookie sheet.

       You may incur some damage at this point.  Don’t panic!  Just gently tap and pull the mitten back into shape.  No harm, no foul. Use a straw to punch a hole in the top of each ornament for hanging.

Step 7: Bake & Cool

      Bake at 275 for 2 hours.  Let the mittens cool completely before painting, no one wants to paint with burned fingers.

Step 8: Paint!

Painting the baked ornament.

     I started by painting a coat of white on my ornament.  I started with white because I was putting a thin coat of sparkles on top and needed a base coat.  If you’re using a more solid color, no need to paint white first.

     Throw on smocks, protect your surfaces, plop some paint on a pallet (or in my case, a vegetable container, art supplies do not need to be fancy!) and turn kids loose. Let them paint their ornaments to their heart’s content!

Step 9: Finish The Trim

Using hot glue to apply red pom poms to the cuff of the mitten

    Let the ornaments dry to the touch and then put trim on the cuff of the mitten.  I used pom poms, but you could use cotton balls, faux fur, something sparkly, whatever.  We just want to give a little zazz to the cuff.  Apply trim with hot glue or general all purpose glue.  School glue probably won’t work, so try to get something stronger.  

Step 10: Name and Date

    If they’re able, have kids write their own name on the back of the ornament with a paint pen.  If not, you go ahead and write it out.  Then add the year, slide some ribbon through the hole, tie it off and you’re done!

A sparkly salt dough mitten ornament hangs on a Christmas tree. There is a dog print embedded in the dough.

Easy, easy, easy!  

Hopefully this alleviated a little stress from your life and was a fun activity to keep the kids happy and occupied for an afternoon.  

If you’d like more activities inspired by picture books, check back often, I post a new activity every week!