Dorsi is a freelance writer/researcher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a photographer, art educator, and artist.
This easy-to-make Christmas ornament of your child's hand print is made from an inexpensive salt clay dough recipe. The ingredients are so simple that anyone can make this dough—all you need is flour, salt, and warm water.
I recently did this craft with our Sunday school children, and the kids and adults alike enjoyed making these memory keepsakes of their children's hand prints. This is a precious way to remember your child in the years to come and would also make a great gift for grandma!
To make the ornament, all you will need is to follow the simple directions below to make the salt dough clay.
Note: For further tips on working with salt clay dough, please reference my other article: How to Make Easy Salt Dough Clay for Kids' Art Projects.
Ingredients for the Santa Salt Clay Dough
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
Instructions for Making the Dough
- Mix the salt dough clay ingredients together.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on parchment paper. If the dough is not pliable enough, you can add more water (sparingly).
- Sprinkle flour on the children's hands before making the print. It will make it easier to remove their hands out of the dough.
How to Make the Clay Santa Ornament
- After making your salt dough clay, roll it out onto parchment paper. If working with groups of children, cut off a small piece of parchment paper so that each child has their own work space. (Make sure that the parchment paper is large enough to have the child's entire piece of dough on it.)
- Work with each child one at a time. The kids will naturally want to stick their hands in the clay mixture, so prepare to possibly having to roll out the clay again. Have the child open their fingers slightly apart so that their thumb can make Santa's hat. (If you don't get this quite right, don't sweat. It will still come out cute.)
- Press the child's hand down into the dough with your hand, and gently rock their fingers so that their fingers make a good impression. If you find that it's too hard to get the child's hand out, try again and put more flour on the child's hand so that their fingers don't stick when you try to pull their hand up. (This can be a little trial and error sometimes.)
- After you get a good impression of your child's hand, have the child move away from the creation, because sometimes they want to press it in again. (This is a good time to have them just sit and watch at this point.) Use a small knife and cut around the child's hand print, leaving a small lip around the it—how much you leave is up to you.
- Once you have the print just how you want it, bake it on low in the oven for three hours at 200°.
Painting Your Child's Santa Salt Clay Hand Print
I used acrylic craft paint from Michael's to complete my painted Christmas ornament project. The colors you will need are red, white, and some black paint for Santa's eyes. If you prefer, you can also skip buying the black paint and finish the eyes with black sharpie marker.
The flesh tone can be made from using just a little red mixed with white. But if you prefer a closer flesh tone color, you can add a little yellow to the mixture, or you can buy a small bottle of the flesh tone acrylic paint. (I made my flesh tone color with red, white, and a little yellow.) Also, have a fine brush handy, so you can paint on the detail and have close, crisp lines.
How to Paint Your Santa Hand Print
- Paint the entire Santa white, both front and back. (You don't have to paint the back, but I think it gives it a nice finished look.)
- After the white dries, paint the flesh tone Santa face. Make sure you leave white around the face for the trim on Santa's face and the beard.
- Next, paint the red hat.
- Paint in small white eyes, Santa's mustache, and Santa's red nose.
- After Santa's white eyes are dry, paint the outline for his eyes either with black acrylic paint and a fine brush or a black Sharpie. (You can also use "googly" eyes purchased from a craft store and glue them on if you prefer.)
- Let the whole thing dry.
- if you want a more permanent sealant, spray acrylic fixative on the front and back of the ornament. You can also get this at the craft store. This is not a necessary step, but it is recommended.
- Add your ribbon to hang your child's Santa hand print.
- You're done! Now hang your sweet little ornament on the tree and enjoy it for years to come!
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 07, 2014:
This is about the cutest thing ever! A clever and fun project for children. Thanks for sharing.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 07, 2014:
This is too cute. I will have my grandson make this for his Mawmaw (Mom) and Daddy. He loves doing crafts.
Pinning and shared
Voted up up and away
Angels are on the way ps
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 21, 2013:
Thank you WriterJanis. It was a very fun craft to do with the kids.
Janis from California on December 16, 2013:
What a cute and simple idea.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 18, 2013:
@TopTenChrsitmas) It is fun, you need to make sure though that you thoroughly bake the hands. Have fun if you try it - we all loved the way they turned out!
Brandon Hart on August 22, 2013:
Cute and easy. Sounds perfect for a church activity.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 28, 2012:
@Peggy) Thank you and I hope you enjoyed your holiday!
@Ruchira) Let me know if you decided to do this. Merry Christmas to you too Ruchira!
@mary) Thank you so much.
@who) Glad it brought back some sweet memories for you. Happy Holidays!
whonunuwho from United States on December 19, 2012:
I liked your sweet idea and it reminds me so much of our kids growing up and how we attempted to try new and unique crafts at Christmas and other times of the year. Thanks for sharing this. whonu
Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 19, 2012:
My kids (when they were little) and I make a lot of salt dough! This is such a cute idea.
I voted this UP, and will share.
Ruchira from United States on December 18, 2012:
Wow...I loved this. Our craft store has a big sale on clay. Will do this. So appropriate!!
Merry Christmas Dorsi :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 18, 2012:
What a darling and meaningful Christmas ornament! Hopefully these Santa hand prints can be saved for years and years to come and even passed down in the family. Up and useful votes and sharing.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 18, 2012:
@jule) Thanks jule.
@Sweetie) Glad you liked it Sweetie.
@Janine) YW Janine.
@Vellur) Thanks Vellur, the kids had a lot of fun doing this.
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 18, 2012:
Very interesting and a wonderfully creative idea. Voted up. Love the Santa hand print.
Janine Huldie from New York, New York on December 17, 2012:
This is awesome and am pinning to try with my kids. Thanks for sharing!!
SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on December 17, 2012:
Beautiful craft idea, Dorsi!
jule729 on December 15, 2012:
this is so cool! great idea!
Tanicka from Montana on December 15, 2012:
This is such a wonderful idea.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 13, 2012:
@sleepylog) Thanks so much. Great craft for nephews, nieces, grand-kids also (the hand-prints here I did with my 4 year old grandson)..... maybe you can drum up a small kid to do this with!
Sleepylog from Australia on December 13, 2012:
Very cute and so easy to make. Makes me wish my kids were younger. They may be too old to do this, but others aren't. so I've Tweeted, Pinterested and posted your article on Stumble Upon. Keep up the great work and have a Merry Christmas.