Handprint Pumpkin Fall Salt Dough Ornaments

Halloween is just days away. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A few weeks ago, my daughter and I got buy making a pumpkin-themed craft to celebrate the autumn season. For our first Mother’s Day together, my daughter and I made purple salt dough ornaments that I now have hung in the hallway leading to our bedrooms. To capture another year with my daughter, she and I make pumpkin salt dough ornaments this fall. (I also made one with Kenobi because I had ornaments from Princess and Espen already.) Making salt dough ornaments is easy and safe. With just a few ingredients already found in most kitchens, you too can whip up a batch of salt dough to make an adorable handprint pumpkin fall ornament. I also added extra acrylic paint prints to the finished pumpkins to make the handprints and footprints stand out even more.

To make your own salt dough ornaments, begin by gathering the necessary ingredients. You will need all-purpose flour, table salt, and warm water. You will also need liquid food coloring to dye the dough orange and green to make the pumpkins. (Note: I keep my flour in a repurposed ice cream container in my refrigerator.) The two separate measurements are for making the orange dough versus the green dough.

  • 1 cup of warm water AND 1 tablespoon of warm water
  • 1 cup of salt AND 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour plus extra AND 2 tablespoons of salt
  • orange and green food coloring
  • orange acrylic paint
  • cotton ball

In one bowl, combine the cup of warm water and orange food coloring. In another bowl, combine the tablespoon of warm water and green food coloring. Add as much food coloring to achieve the color that you want.

Add the salt to the colored waters. Stir thoroughly until some of the salt begins to dissolve.

Slowly mix the flour into the salt water mixtures. Use a silicone spatula for easier stirring.

Making Green Salt Dough
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The salt dough will be rather sticky. Kneed the dough with your hands, adding extra flour until the dough becomes firm but neither crumbly nor sticky. If you plan to continue your project later, place the dough in an airtight container for up to a few days. Form the salt dough into a ball.

Ball of Green Salt Dough
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Place a ball of orange salt dough onto a piece of waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to carefully roll the dough ball flat.

Roll a small piece of green salt dough into a cylinder. Moisten one end of the cylinder with water. Stick the green piece onto the flattened orange ball to form the pumpkin stem. Carefully roll the green cylinder as flat as the orange section.

Use a pin to prick many small air holes on the back of the salt dough pumpkin.

Carefully flip the salt dough pumpkin over onto a greased baking sheet. Remove the wax paper.

Press your handprints and/or footprints into the salt dough.

Use a pin or knife to inscribe the pumpkin with the year or any other information. Also poke a hanging hole through the dough near the top.

Preheat the oven to 250º. If you have a convection oven, use the convection setting. Bake your salt dough pumpkin ornament until the surface of the dough begins to brown slightly. Remove the baked salt dough ornaments from the oven. The dough will continue to harden during cooling. Allow the ornaments to cool completely.

Baked Salt Dough Pumpkins
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Once the salt dough pumpkins cool, use a cotton ball to spread a thin layer of acrylic paint on your hands and/or feet. Press the paint prints into the prints on the salt dough pumpkin. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

Seal the pumpkin fall salt dough ornaments with a clear protective enamel spray.

Hang the finished pumpkin ornaments on your wall to enjoy. Happy autumn!

Image Credits

Salt, Flour, and Food Coloring © 2013 Heather Johnson
Orange Water and Salt © 2013 Heather Johnson
Stirring in the Flour to the Orange Salt Water © 2013 Heather Johnson
Making Green Salt Dough © 2013 Heather Johnson
Ball of Orange Salt Dough © 2013 Heather Johnson
Ball of Green Salt Dough © 2013 Heather Johnson
Rolling Out the Orange Salt Dough Ball © 2013 Heather Johnson
Adding a Green Stem to the Orange Salt Dough © 2013 Heather Johnson
Pricking the Back of the Salt Dough with a Pin © 2013 Heather Johnson
Flipping the Salt Dough Pumpkin Over © 2013 Heather Johnson
Adding Footprints and Handprints to the Salt Dough Pumpkin © 2013 Heather Johnson
Adding the Date to the Salt Dough Pumpkin © 2013 Heather Johnson
Baked Salt Dough Pumpkin © 2013 Heather Johnson
Baked Salt Dough Pumpkins © 2013 Heather Johnson
Adding Acrylic Paint Prints to the Pumpkins © 2013 Heather Johnson
Wall of Salt Dough Ornaments © 2013 Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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