We are all looking for ways to feel festive this season – for tips on keeping the kids busy with Christmas crafts we spoke to @lefranks to find out what she’s been up to with her daughter Flo. From homemade decorations to yummy gingerbread biscuits, these are sure to keep them feeling like Christmas is coming!
Salt Dough Star Decorations
1 cup (270g) baking soda
1/2 cup (70g) cornstarch, more for kneading
3/4 cups (180ml) water
Evergreen trimmings but you can use anything from lace, stamps, textured fabric.
🎄Mix baking soda and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add water and whisk until soda and starch are dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
🎄 Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3-5 minutes or until thickened. As you stir, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. The mixture will first get bubbly before it gets thicker and you need to scrape the pot to get all of that combined.
🎄 Once the mixture is thick like toothpaste, remove it from the stove. Transfer dough to a cool plate and allow it to cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
🎄 Place dough on your work surface. Dust with cornstarch and knead the dough into a smooth ball. If it’s sticky or too wet add cornstarch, tablespoon by tablespoon and keep kneading until it’s less sticky. It should be pliable, but not sticky wet nor dry and crumbly.
🎄 Add more cornstarch to your work surface and roll out the dough to no less than 1/4 inch (6mm) thin. Use a rolling pin for rolling.
🎄 Press evergreen trimmings (or anything with a texture) onto the rolled-out dough.
🎄 Cut out desired shapes and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cut out holes (for hanging the ornaments) with a straw. Let ornaments air-dry overnight. Flip them over the next day and let them dry until they’re completely set, ideally another day. The longer you wait the better.
🎄 You can let the ornaments air dry (overnight) or bake them in the oven. To bake them, preheat oven to 210/100 degrees. Bake for approximately 30 min to 1 hour. Turn the ornaments over a couple of times during the baking.
1/4 cup of honey
80 g of butter
1/2 cup of fine brown sugar or powdered sugar
2 and 1/4 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1.5 – 2 tablespoons of gingerbread spice
optional: 1 teaspoon of cocoa (if you like gingerbread cookies with a darker colour)
🎄Heat the honey, butter and sugar in a pot and mix until the sugar dissolves, then cool. Add the remaining ingredients and knead or mix. If the dough is too loose, add more liquid honey until the desired consistency is achieved and mix.
If the dough is too soft, cool it (it will roll better).
🎄Roll on the board to a thickness of 2-3 mm, lightly sprinkling with flour (thicker gingerbread cookies are softer after baking). Cut gingerbread cookies of any shape and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
🎄Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes at 170 – 180ºC. Be careful not to bake for too long, they will be too crispy and will taste bitter. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Cardboard wreath frame
Pom poms or anything to decorate it with
🎄Draw around the children’s hands onto the card to make a template.
🎄Use the template to draw and cut enough handprints to make a wreath.
🎄Glue the hands down onto the wreath frame
🎄 Decorate it with pom-poms and a ribbon
Ceramic bauble (you can use any)
Glitter or sequins
🎄 Apply the glue onto the bauble
🎄 Stick your sequins/decorations onto the glued surface
🎄 Wait for the glue to dry
Oven-Dried Orange Decorations
Natural coloured cotton or jute string
Ribbon to decorate
🎄Slice the oranges into thin slices 4mm thick. Remove any pips and place them on 2 large baking trays lined with a sheet of baking paper.
🎄Bake in the oven on a low heat at 120° for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. Keep an eye on them to prevent them from burning, you’re looking for a nice golden orange colour and all of the orange flesh to be dehydrated. Halfway through the cooking process flip them over so they dehydrate on the other side.
🎄Remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
🎄Use a skewer to poke a hole through the top of a citrus slice underneath the rind and thread a piece of string tying the knot.
🎄Decorate it with a ribbon.