handprint ornament {diy}

henry has adorable, tiny hands, like all babies. and i’m sentimental and want to remember them forever. i was thisclose to buying one of those handprint ornament kits from the store but then i heard about salt dough. seemed easy, and i had all the ingredients so i tried it out. and easy it was. the hardest part was getting henry to keep his hand spread out while not grabbing the dough.

diy handprint ornament

first make your salt dough.

salt dough:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

mix together until fully incorporated. knead dough for 7-10 minutes, or until soft and smooth. roll out to your desired thickness on a floured surface, mine was about a quarter-inch. create your ornaments, poke a hole in each for hanging (with a straw or skewer) and either bake in a 200 degree oven for a couple of hours or air dry a few days until dry. once painted (or not),  spray with a couple of coats of poly to seal and help it last.

diy salt dough handprint ornament 1

i pressed henry’s hand in the dough before cutting out – it was a bigger target for his wriggling hand. after i used a bowl to cut a circle around his handprint. then before baking i  stamped his name in the dough – one time with ink, one time without (i made two in case). after baking the ink was completely visible (which means it works), however, i didn’t like my execution of it. but you can leave all the decorations until after drying, the dough takes paints well.

after quickly sanding rough edges (i wasn’t very clean with my cutting) i spray painted the entire ornament white, then painted the stamped letters with gold rub ‘n buff.

diy salt dough handprint ornament

handprint ornament in tree

diy handprint ornament

please ignore the execution of these (they were done quickly and without much thought) but the leftover salt dough can be used for extra handprints or additional ornaments, shaped any way you please (cookie cutters would work well, of which i have none). (that’s an h for henry, i wasn’t spelling ‘oh’ or ‘ho’)

salt dough ornaments

perfect for a last-minute gift for the grandparents or to hang on your own tree to remember those itty bitty hands.

henry and ornament

hand henry

henry drool henry

what, you thought i would have a post without henry in it? 😉

are you ready for christmas? i have just a couple small gifts to get still (ugh, i hate being this last-minute, and i don’t know when i’ll get to them) and just a couple small ones to wrap. i. am. so. excited!


linked to: southern lovely


100 thoughts on “handprint ornament {diy}

  1. These turned out adorable. I love that you painted it white, too. We made little handprints with paint on round ornaments a few weeks ago for the grandparents but now I think I may need to make these, too. 🙂 thanks for the tips.

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  3. How did it hold up over the year? And do you think a sticker would stay on it or should I press it in before it dries? I was thinking of making it with my pre-k class.

    • ashley, i have yet to unpack my christmas stuff — i’m stuck on ‘tradition’ and will wait until the day after thanksgiving to get my tree and start decorating. so, i can’t answer how it’s held up, yet. i will do my best to remember to update once i do! as for the sticker, i think that you will need to secure it on by spraying the ornament with a polycrylic spray after you placed the sticker on (but that’s just my guess, i haven’t tried). please let me know how it goes if you do!

  4. Going to try this ornament today with my great granddaughter Delilah! She is 4 months old & it will be a Christmas keepsake. Thanks for the directions.

    • it held up well! i just took it out of storage and hung it on my tree – his hand now is like twice the size! crazy. there is a slight crack in it, but truthfully i never took my own advice and didn’t seal it.

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  6. I know this is a year old, but I wanted to let you know that these are probably some of the best done ornaments I found, and your son is too stinking cute!

  7. I just made this for my twins I’m waiting for it to dry! I really hope it will last for years these things are so precious…I had bought a plaster thingy kit for my oldest daughter and it turned out great. This time around I had to find something I could make at home cause I’m pretty much housebound all the time with 3 kids. I looked at many versions and yours looked the best. So neat you wouldn’t believe it’s good old salt dough! Thank you 🙂 and you’re baby is adorable. God bless x

  8. Did you use all purpose or self rising flour? We just tried to make some however they are baking too fast and are bubbling up.

  9. I was just wondering with the recipe you have, how many ornaments were you able to make? I’m a preschool teacher and I’m thinking I’ll have to at least double or even triple the recipe for my 14 toddlers.

    • it made two of the bigger round ornaments (the diameter of a cereal bowl, as that’s what i cut it with), and with the scraps i shaped them into the smaller ornaments shown (the small circle and the h). if you roll it thinner you could get another probably, but you don’t want to go too thin. so for a big group like that i would probably quadruple it (or more to be safe).

  10. Thank you so much for posting this awesome craft with pictures and directions. I’m really looking forward to making a salt-dough ornament with my 8-month-old! Her tiny hand! 🙂 Also- just fyi I looked up the stamps and they are available through Joann’s – online – for about $7

    • you are welcome! good luck with the wiggly hands 😉 you will love looking back on it and seeing how small her hand was – just a year later for me and it’s crazy how much it’s grown! thanks for the tip on the stamps.

  11. once you put them in the oven did they shrink at all and did they lose any weight? i just made them but i’m debating on letting them dry for a couple of days of sticking them in the oven. i’m too impatient and they’re so adorable. i had each of my three boys make one and they seem a bit heavy.

    • they did not really shrink or lose weight in the oven. they are a heavier ornament, but it also depends on how thin it’s rolled and how big it ended up. glad you like them!

    • it depends on how big and thick, but i would start with two…it could take another hour or two though. i think mine was in there for 2-3 hours and then i left it on the counter overnight to completely finish drying the big ones.

  12. How did you paint the letters gold after spray painting the ornament white? I stamped the letters gold before baking, but I just realized that the white paint will cover that up. I read that you used rub n buff, which I’m not familiar with. Did you just rub that in the letters and then wipe off? Any suggestions?

    • rub ‘n buff comes in a small tube and can be found at art and craft stores – it’s technically a type of metallic wax. i just applied it with a small paintbrush carefully into the letters (and no need to buff with that application). the same effect can be achieved with any gold (or other color) paint, it’s just what i had on hand. the letters are pretty small, so just be careful – and remember it’s handmade so it won’t be completely perfect 🙂

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  14. I have tried a lot of these salt dough recipes and this is by far the easiest to work with! We do this a few times a year and now that my son is 3 and his hands are massive it’s bittersweet to lay them all out. I’m really glad this is a tradition of ours. I’ll be forcing a 12 year olds hand into dough one day I’m sure of it but for now he is super happy to help. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the adorable pics of your son. Merry Christmas!

    • so glad you enjoyed this recipe. love that you do this so often and can see the growth – i have yet to do another one (though i will eventually), but love holding his hand up to it to see how much he has grown. merry christmas to you!

  15. I also wanted to know in order to seal it, can a satin acrylic varnish be applied?? I paint with acrylics so I have this at the house already…just curious??

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  17. I made these ornaments a couple days ago and have been slowly working on them while they dry. I applied a coal of the clear sealant and it lifted up the white spray paint and made it come off. Any idea why? How can I fix this? I don’t wanna redo all four of the ones I made 😦

    • oh no! i’m so sorry to hear. i haven’t had that happen to me, so unfortunately i’m not positive. perhaps the sealant was water based and the spray paint you used was oil based? or vice versa? i hope the rest turned out!

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  19. I just made these with my 3 year old and they turned out SO cute! I didn’t stamp his name in, I have pretty decent handwriting, so I’m just going to write his name and the year on it and then seal them. They’re going to be presents for the Gma’s 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

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  22. I made 2 yesterday one for my son and one for a friends husband I left them in the oven for 2 hours and let them air dry over night I checked them after 24 hours and they are still pretty soft, should i try baking them again? I also made a new one today just incase and i cooked it for 2 hours and left it in the oven after i turned it off its a bit harder so we will see how that one does as well. I love this idea I made our as fathers day gifts something they can look back on. Im so glad i ran across your post

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  25. Hi- I was going to try and make these with my 7 month old this week. Just a run down in what you did- Make the salt dough, stamp hand or foot and name, bake, spray paint white, paint letters and then seal with the acrylic spray? Just making sure I had my steps right. Thanks!

        • Catie, I haven’t tried with a stand mixer, but I don’t see why you couldn’t! (and wouldn’t need the 7-8 minutes) It’s not like you will be eating this and it will get tough…though you never know with the little one 😉

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  27. I want to make these with my kindergarten class, do you know how long it will take to air dry. also what should I place them on to dry i.e. wax paper, paper plate, floured plate…

    • That would be a great project for them! I have not tried to air dry the ornament before, so unfortunately I couldn’t tell you for sure. I would guess at least a couple days? Wax paper would be the best bet on what to dry them on. If you could, let me know how long it takes to air dry so I know, thanks!

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  30. I tried these today, but after putting them in the oven, the ornament rose and you can barely see the prints. Any idea what to do so it doesn’t happen next time?

    • Hi, Julia. Unfortunately I haven’t had this happen to me the two times I’ve made them. Perhaps your dough needs to be rolled a little thicker, so the impressions can be deeper?

  31. I just made one ornament with a 3 month old! My friend’s 1st Mother’s Day. The tiniest handprint ever and I hope it comes out of the oven the way I want and I’m dying! I searched and searched for a recipe and a site I thought was helpful, joyful and warm. Thank you for a great post. I hope to read more!

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I hope it turns out and your friend loves it – I’m sure she will. Baby hands just can’t be beat. Well, baby hands AND toes 😉

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    • Hi. I have not tried it with self rising flour, so all I can say is you can try it. I would think it would either puff a bit while baking or work the same. 🙂


  35. Before our dog passed away we made salt dough imprints of his paw and we let them air dry but almost all of them cracked 😦 how would we be able to repair them? Please help!

  36. Justine I just made one with my 1 1/2 year old and my almost 2 month old today I did one of my 2 month olds hand and foot… They turned out perfect. I love making these. I made ornaments with cookie cutters and put glitter on them about 2 years ago with my two daughters and husband and they loved it.

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  40. Hey! I know this is years after you posted this, but I just wanted to let you know I’m about to do this for my third kid. The first two have held up over the years (3&5 years old!) Thank you for an awesome keepsake idea.

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