26/11/2014 08:13 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

How To Make Salt Dough Christmas Decorations

Childcare is fun
Making decorations is one of our favourite festive activities in the run-up to Christmas. Salt dough is perfect for making tree decorations and as long as you handle the finished result with care, they should last years.

We've made so many lovely ones in the past and this year thought we'd have a go at handprints too.

For salt dough decorations you will need:

2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of table salt
1-2 cups of water

1. Put the salt and flour into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water. If the texture is too sticky, you just add more flour, until you have a dough ball that is easy to play with and manipulate into shapes without sticking to your fingers.

2. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead for five minutes to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed and to also give the dough a softer texture.

3. Leave the dough to stand for half an hour. You can even wrap in cling-film and pop into the fridge to use later.

4. When the dough is ready to be used, Place it on a floured surface and roll out flat. Try not to roll the dough too thin or it will break when dry. A thickness of 1cm is a guide for long lasting decorations.

5. Using cookie cutters, cut out your desired shape and either leave or you can add texture with a fork, stampers or even cut a hole in the centre.

If you want to do handprints - roll a 1cm circle and push hands into the dough. Be careful not to push too far through the dough!

6. Score a hole using a pencil or paintbrush end in the top of your decoration before drying - you'll thread ribbon or string through this later for hanging, so ensure it's a big enough hole to get it through.

7. To dry your decorations will vary according to size and thickness. You can either air dry them or oven dry them, or you can even microwave them!

Air drying: Natural drying is usually 2-3 days.

Oven drying: Set at lowest temperature and dry for 2-3 hours (check regularly.)

Microwave drying: Dry on a low setting in the microwave on a microwavable plate or dish for 2 minutes (depending on the microwave power settings.)

8. Decorate! (Our favourite bit!)

You can paint salt dough with pretty much anything from poster paint to, to glitter glue! for extra shine and to make your decorations last - add a coat of varnish once the paint is dry.

We love making decorations and hope you'll enjoy making them too!

Fi is a full time mum of two born less than a year apart.
Fi is also a qualified nursery nurse and parent adviser. Her first book 'blissful baby - say goodnight to sleepless nights!' Is due out in the spring.

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