Are you looking for a quick, easy project to do with your kids before Christmas?  Or, are you following along with our Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers unit and coming on our craft journey?  Today’s project is the perfect “pre-Christmas” activity for your home or classroom! 


Image is a collage of my two sons painting their gingerbread ornaments.

Supplies: 

Image shows all the supplies necessary for this project.

  

  •  1 Cup Cinnamon
  •  ¾ Cup Applesauce
  •  2 Tbsp White Glue
  •  Additional Spices
    • Ginger, nutmeg, or cloves, OPTIONAL
  •  A Straw 
    • For punching a hole in your ornament
  • Parchment Paper Or A Pastry Sheet
    • You can skip this if you’d like and just roll out on your counter.
  • A Rolling Pin
    •  I use this pin and I love that it has bumpers to help with rolling to a set thickness
  • A Cookie Sheet
    • If you have two sheets, that would work even better
  • Parchment Or A Baking Mat
    •  To line your cookie sheet
  • Thin Ribbon Or String For Hanging
    • You’ll want something thin enough to slide through the straw hole
  • Paint And Decorating Supplies OPTIONAL
  • Hot Glue Gun
    • If you’ll be decorating with anything other than paint, you’ll need to glue it on.  

Step 1: Combine Your Ingredients

Image shows ingredients in a large bowl.  White glue is being poured over cinnamon and applesauce.

       Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Begin by mixing with a spoon or spatula until everything pulls together and then finish off with your hands.  Warning: this will get all over your hands!  And the glue makes it sticky.  I’d make sure you have a sink or water source nearby for a quick wash after you finish mixing.

Step 2: Roll It Out

Image shows two hand rolling out dark brown dough.

     When your dough has formed into a ball, you’re ready to roll everything out.  I dropped mine onto my pastry sheet so I wouldn’t get cinnamon and glue all over my counters, but if you don’t have a pastry sheet, parchment would be fine or you could just put it straight on your counter, it’s not going to hurt anything.  

Before rolling out, sprinkle some additional cinnamon on the sheet. You could also sprinkle some other “gingerbread” spices, like ginger, cloves, or nutmeg in place of the cinnamon if you want to introduce another scent to your ornaments.  Whatever you sprinkle, it will show up on the outside of your ornaments, so make sure it’s a complimentary color, flour wouldn’t be a good idea here!

Roll out to about ¼” thickiness.

Step 3: Cut Your Ornaments

Image shows dark dough with many gingerbread girl shapes cut into it.  There is a hand holding a cookie cutter cutting one last ornament.

    I used gingerbread girl cookie cutters, because they were a natural fit with our book unit, but use whatever cookie cutters you’d like!

Step 4: Transfer Those Ornaments

Image shows an ornament being lifted off the counter on a spatula.  There are other ornaments in the background, waiting for their turn.

     When you’ve cut as many ornaments as you can from your first roll out, gently pull away the excess dough.  Set this aside, we’ll re-roll and cut in a minutes!

     Once you have the excess dough removed, use a spatula to gently move your ornaments from the sheet onto a waiting cookie sheet.       

Step 5: Punch A Hole

Image shows a hand holding a straw.  It is getting ready to use the straw to punch a hole in the top of the ornament.

        Now that the ornaments are on our sheet, we’re going to punch a hole so we can hang them.  

       Near the top of the head, punch a hole with your straw.  Make sure the hole is far enough down on the head that you won’t risk breaking when you run the string through.  About ¼ to ½ inch is perfect.  

Step 6: Rinse and Repeat

      Keep rolling and cutting your dough until you’ve used it all up, transfering ornaments and putting in holes as you go.  

Step 7: Dry

     We have two options here.  

        First option: Allow to air dry

              This is going to take awhile, so if you’re in a rush, this is not the option for you.  You’ll want to keep the ornaments in a warm dry place for about a week, flipping every 12-24 hours.  I live in dry, dry Colorado and my ornaments weren’t even close to dry after 3 days, so give yourself plenty of time if you’re planning to air dry. The benefit to air drying is that your ornaments will be nice and flat, so they’ll look beautiful!

       Second option: Bake

              This option is much quicker!  Just bake at 200 degrees for 2 -2 ½ hours, flipping mid-way.  Your whole house will smell amazing as the ornaments bake!  The downside of this option is that the edges of the ornaments can roll a little bit, giving your gingerbread person a bit of a 3D look.  I baked mine and they looked fab, but some were a bit rolled.

Now Decorate…..Or Don’t!

Image shows a dry gingerbread ornament next to decorating supplies.

If you’re going for a rustic, farm style look, at this point, you can run some string or ribbon through the hole, tie it off and VOILA, you have adorable scented ornaments.  Hang them on your tree, use them as gift tags (use a paint pen to write names on), or gift them to friends.

If you want to decorate, get out your paint pens, puff paint, tempera paint, sequins, buttons, ric rac, etc.  Whatever you’d like to decorate with, these are a great canvas!  We decorated ours with paint pens and puff paint.  I especially loved the dimension the puff paint added to the ornaments, but you could easily get the same dimension from buttons and other 3D decorations.   


Make These At Home, In The Classroom, Or Use Them For A Party!

We used these as our activity for a Christmas movie night (you can read all the details here ) and even my teens had a great time decorating them. As always, they threw a little bit of their individual personality into their projects! These would be a fabulous “keep me busy” activity for Christmas Eve when everyone gets a little antsy or for that last day before Christmas break when students are losing their minds.

If you want to do this with your classroom or as a part of an ornament making party, I’d suggest pre-making the ornaments and decorating day of. Even if you choose to bake the ornaments rather than air dry, 2 hours is going to be a little long to wait between mixing and decorating.  If you’re looking to give kids the full experience, you can mix, roll, and transfer, then pull out some premade ornaments for them to decorate.  

Once these are fully dried, they should last for years.  Add a name and year  to the back to create a lasting keepsake!


Thanks for following along! I post new videos and blogs every week, check back often to see what we’re up to!