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Homemade Handprint Ornaments

This year for Christmas, I wanted to do a homemade craft with my 8-month-old daughter, Zoey…but I was completely perplexed as to what we could do that would actually involve her! Luckily for me, I have some really crafty friends, and my friend Jessie (who happens to be a super-awesome mom to twins) inspired me by trying  homemade handprint ornaments with her little ones, who are just a month older than Zoey. While Zoey wasn’t the most willing participant, we did manage to get several really cute ornaments that will make great gifts for grandparents and aunties this holiday season!

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Homemade Handprint Ornaments


Jimmie @ onceamonthmeals.com (adapted from this recipe)


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 7 tbsp water
  • Round cookie cutter (I used a drinking glass instead)
  • 1 drinking straw
  • Craft paint
  • Ribbon


Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix together flour, salt, and water. Knead for 15 minutes (or use the dough hook on your stand mixer – so easy!). Roll out the dough to no more than 1/4-inch thick, then use the cookie cutter (or glass) to make rounds. Press child’s hand into dough. If you’re doing this with really little ones, you may have to go back and make deeper impressions of their hands with your fingers or a kitchen utensil–the deeper the impression, the better your ornaments will turn out! Use a straw to poke a hole in each ornament (this is where the ribbon will go later). Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden. Wait for ornaments to cool, then paint as desired and thread a ribbon through each straw hole to create ornament hangers.

Freezing Directions:

Not recommended for this recipe.

Servings: 1 batch will yield approximately 6-8 ornaments.

66 Responses to “Homemade Handprint Ornaments”

    • Angie M says:

      Great idea! I just tried it & after my ornament was placed in the oven, the flour rose & made the handprint disappear :( do you have any suggestions for me?

      • Kelly says:

        Oh no!! Sorry Angie! I’m not sure what happened my thought maybe it was self rising flour?

        • Kay says:

          I have tried this twice now and both times I had the same problem with them rising and the hand prints disappearing. I made sure I did not use self-rising each time. Not sure what I am doing wrong? This is such a cute idea for the kids to do, hate they keep not turning out.

      • Haley C says:


        I had the same problem last night. Have you found any solutions. I was so dissapointed!

        • Jen says:

          Try cooking them at a lower temp (200) for a longer time (about an hour). I can’t explain the science of why this work, but lower and slower cooking seems to do the trick.

      • Keisha says:

        I just tried this, my pre baking prints were beautiful but once they went into the oven they puffed up really bad and the prints disappeared. Is there a trick that I’m missing??

        • Amanda R says:

          I’ve been doing these for years and i just let them air dry it takes a few days though

        • cara says:

          I think the puffing up problem may have to do with how long the dough is kneaded. 15 – 20 minutes is quite a stretch of time in the real world and if youre anything like me, I only knead my for about 5 minutes….. what happened? Puffy ornaments! Next batch I will kneaded for the full 20 minutes.

        • ginger says:

          the temp is entirely too hot.. 300 is NO good.. must be 200 for 1-2 hours. lord.

  1. katie says:

    Thank you! I have been looking for something like this. Now i have a craft for my almost 1 month old and christmas gifts :)

  2. Great idea! I remember my boys making ornaments a few years ago and they added some ground clove to the dough. They still smell good, too!

  3. Tara says:

    I did this tonight with my kids. I baked them for a full hour but they were still a bit soft. They puffed up through the center and when I look at the bottom its basically a big concave doughy bowl in the middle. I’m not sure if it would be ok to put them back in or not.

    • Kelly says:

      Tara – Mine were a little soft on the back as well, but I just let them sit on a cooling rack overnight and they dried out.

  4. Sarah says:

    I just got a 9 week old puppy and did this with him so I can remember his puppyhood lol love it

  5. crystal davis says:

    I just added a few drops of food coloring and some glitter to the flour mixture and it turned out so great, since my girls are not old enough to paint them.

  6. Kari says:

    Are they terribly fragile? I want to ship these to out of state family and friends as gifts, but don’t want them to break on the way there!

  7. Danielle says:

    Do i have to bake them immediately? i teach a preschool class and want to do them at class then take them home to bake them?

  8. Jacky says:

    So I ran out of salt at my house, will this work without salt or can I use seasoning salt? My 4 year old was looking forward to doing this & was heartbroken when I told him we had no salt.

  9. Monique says:

    I was wondering how long these last? Thought it might be cute to make new ones every year and decorate tree with all the handprints from years past.

    • Kelly says:

      They definitely last over a year. I can’t tell you if they last 20 yet ;)

      • Marcy says:

        My daughter did one in Kindergarten and she is 50 this year and I still have it in good condition. It also has been moved over 18 times and not a crack in it. :-) It’s a nice keepsake. Wish I had one for my son.

    • Crystal says:

      I can tell you they last for well over 20 years. When I was a child, we made these in daycare. I am almost 30, and I still have mine. Your idea will work beautifully! ;-)

  10. Dana says:

    This recipe is great! Much better than the baking soda corn starch recipe I found. What sort of craft paint did you use? It looks shiny which I like. I have some acrylic, will the ornament soak it up though?

    • Kelly says:

      Dana, I haven’t personally made them yet, but I don’t think the acrylic will soak through that badly. I think Jimmie used a basic craft paint.

  11. Karen says:

    Thanks for sharing. Now I wish I had a mixer to knead the dough.

  12. Nina says:

    I’m sure these will do just fine if you let them air dry. Put them on a rack to dry. It will just take longer than bakig them, but it would alleviate the “rising” in the middle

  13. Victoria says:

    Mine rose a little too but took them out and pushed them back down and poked a few little holes in them and reduced heat to 200 F an baked for two hours. My concern is they still feel a little soft I’m going to put them bake in the over and let air dry for a few days before painting.

    • kaylan says:

      How did that work? I did the same thing and figured I’d let them sit overnight… Its only been a couple of hours though…

      • Kelly says:

        Well I live in a dry climate (Colorado) so it helped. I honestly forgot about them for a day or so and they were totally dried out.

  14. Sarrah says:

    I can’t wait to do this art project with my 4 yr old daughter and 5 and 3 yr old nieces. But I’m a little concerned about the rising issue. I read all the posts, but didn’t see any solutions. Nina wrote something about it a few lines up, but I’m not sure if she was talking about not having salt in the recipe, or using a mixer to knead the dough. Maybe I will try Victoria’s method: lower the heat and extend the baking time :) Wish me luck.

  15. daisy moats says:

    Could you do this with other cookie cutters and not just handprints???

  16. Andrea says:

    I have a great tip!!!!!! After you bake these off and they cool, Paint with Elmers glue then sprinkle with glitter. Shake off excess it will look amazing hanging from your tree!

  17. Stacey says:

    I grew up making salt dough ornaments with my mother, and this year I finally get to make them with my new son! A tip for the dough is to add maybe two drops of hand dishwashing liquid. It helps sticking and also I think to help keep the dough from rising. You can also try adding more salt to the dough. Bake them low and slow.

  18. Natalie says:

    I just made this for some relatives for Christmas. Since my kids have big hands, I simply rolled out the dough, and baked it at 250F for an hour. I had no puffing and no rising (I just used regular flour). What I did notice though is the thinner you make the ornaments, the better the handprints turn out. But they all look fabulous!

  19. IndianMom says:

    Wow.. this is such a cute idea. I know Christmas is far away but I am going to try this soon for some occasion with my 2 years old.

  20. Danielle says:

    Do you paint them after they have dried, or do you mix in the paint or food coloring with the mixture and then do the handprint? Also, can they just be air dried?

    • Kelly says:

      I paint them after they have dried. You can dye the dough if you’d like but I like to paint mine afterward. You can air dry them but it will take significantly longer.

  21. Sara says:

    I wonder if putting them in the dehydrator would solve the puffing problem?

  22. Jamie says:

    I made something similar to this yesterday and I can’t get them out of my Pyrex. I tried putting them in the freezer to see if that would pop them out kind of like a candle. Didn’t work. Any ideas?

  23. Kari says:

    This was an epic fail. The dough was so sticky that it just stuck to her hand when she tried to lift her hand up. We followed the directions to a tee. What did we do wrong?!

    • Kelly says:

      I’m sorry Kari!! I have no idea what happened, my thought would be that you could need to add more flour?

  24. kayla says:

    i just made 3 with my daughter and the first one came out good the second one came out puffy and lost some of the prints of her foot and toes and fingers haven’t put the 3rd one in yet so i dont know what i did differently

  25. Jenna says:

    I made these yesterday. I started with my oven at 300…but then read the comments and turned it down to 200. They came out perfectly! Now I just have to decide how I’m going to have the kids I nanny paint them…hmmm…Lol

    Awesome Christmas present for them to give to their parents!

  26. Kristi says:

    I tried making these. They turned out pretty good, but are too heavy to be ornaments. How can I make them lighter?

  27. Julie says:

    A trick I was told to keep the dough from puffing up is to put very small holes into the dough so that the air escapes. Be careful with the holes though because they can show up when you bake them if they are to big. My friend said that she used a bow or small decoration to cover her holes. It is something to play with. She has used this reciped for designs other than handprints also.

  28. […] Homemade Hand Print Ornaments Using salt clay you can roll out some circles and help your child press his hand print into the soft clay. Allow it to dry before painting. […]

  29. Alexa says:

    Is there anyway you can do this with out salt?

    • Katie says:

      Hi Alexa, I don’t think the dough will set right without the salt. You might could try a different kind of salt but I think it will need some kind. If you try it without and it works, let us know!

  30. Lola says:

    We are going to do this but we are going to make the circle pattern bake then paint them, then paint the kids hands and plant on them…. Because we will be doing this as a class project at school….

  31. […] Homemade Hand Print Ornaments Using salt clay you can roll out some circles and help your child press his hand print into the soft clay. Allow it to dry before painting. […]

  32. Tracie says:

    I just made these and they came out perfect. I didn’t knead the dough for the required 15 minutes either. I was worries when I read the other comments, but I didn’t have the same problems.

  33. kelsey says:

    okay guys! im about to try this with my 18 month old….i really hope it turns out good!

  34. Miranda says:

    I want to make these but turn hand prints into santa faces. my problem is I do not have access to any types of paints other than crayola washable paints.and latex housr paints. I do have clear varnish to seal them. will this work?

  35. Jessica says:

    The dough rises when you make them too thick. Try rolling the dough thinner.

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