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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guest Blogger - Salt Dough Christmas Trees - tutorial

You guys know that I'm up to my ears in boxes, packing tape, and misplaced furniture. Moving is a nightmare, but J.B. and I are oh so happy about our new digs. Life is consisting of long days and lots of stress, but life is good.

Having said that, my craft stuff is on the shelf for a couple more days. Fortunately for me {and you!} a friend and fellow crazy crafter approached me the other day with a new craft she was trying. She asked if I'd like to her to make a tutorial of it for the blog. My answer? "Please and thank you!"

So without further ado, here's Erin with a tutorial on her Salt Dough Christmas Tree centerpiece. Take it away Erin!:

Hey guys!
I LOVE Christmas. The lights, the decorations, the music- everything about it. Sarah often gives me a hard time about starting Christmas too early, but every year I just can’t wait to get started. I have wanted to do this project since May. The wait has been excruciating, but it FINALLY time to bring out the red and green. This project is the perfect addition to my kitchen table!

Start with the salt dough recipe:
 - 2 cups of all purpose flour
 - 1 cup of salt
 - 1 cup of water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Knead the dough with a spoon until smooth for about five minutes

Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This step is really important. It will make the dough much easier to work with. 

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and then spray the pan with a non-stick cooking spray.  

 Spoon some of the dough on the cookie sheet. Spread it to cover the cookie sheet. The dough should be about ¼ inch thick.

 You might want to sprinkle some flour over the dough to make it easier to spread. I started out with a spatula, but quickly started using my hands. It’s not edible anyway.

I made this next step harder than it had to be. Instead of using cookie cutters to get my Christmas tree shapes, I used a sharp knife. It took some time to get the right shapes and to separate the dough, BUT my trees were quite a bit bigger than any cookie cutters I have seen. Its totally up to you as to how you get your shapes.

If you DO chose to use a knife, use it to push the dough away from your Christmas tree shape

Then pull the surrounding dough away

You can probably get four trees out of one cookie sheet, but you only need three. If you are using a cookie cutter, you can get a lot more. Leave your tree shapes on the cookie sheet. Don’t try to move it onto another pan. 

Then let your oven work for a while. Bake your Christmas trees at 200° for about 2 hours. Make sure the trees are hard before you take them out.
I ended up making a lot more than I needed, BUT I wasn’t sure how many I would need in the end.

You’re almost done!!

For the next steps you will need: 
 - Elmer’s glue
 - Paint brush
 -  White glitter or white course sugar (I used sugar)
 - One wooden dowel for every Christmas Tree you are making.
 - Glue Gun
 - About a pound of Jelly beans. (preferably in Christmas colors)
 - 3 small containers to hold your finished product
 - 3 pieces of floral foam

I’m an amateur at this and failed to take a picture of all the things you will need… For this I apologize. Sarah, Readers, Please forgive me. 
Let the Christmas Trees cool down to at least room temperature before you start to decorate them. If you are impatient like me, you can put them in the fridge for a while.
Now reach deep into your brain to retrieve your gluing and glittering skills from kindergarten. Using the paint brush, completely cover the front side of the tree in Elmer’s glue. 

Then sprinkle the glitter or sugar over the glue. Make sure you cover it really well. Don’t be stingy!

Then pick up the tree and dust off the excess glitter. Careful, they’re fragile! 

Now comes the fun part- Decorating!! I tried this two ways;  first, I put the glue on the jelly bean and then put it on the ree. Then I put the glue on the tree and put the jelly bean on the glue. I found that the second way worked a lot better.

When you are done decorating with the jelly beans, turn the trees over to glue the wooden dowels on.

When you’ve got your Christmas trees looking just right, put the floral foam in your containers and put the trees in the foam. I used three small terracotta pots that I spray painted white. (I used to heavy duty Rust-oleum® Appliance Epoxy. I covers much better than regular gloss spray paint and gives you a nice glossy finish) Then fill the containers with your left over jelly beans.

And donzo! It’s kind of a long process, but it’s SO cute! I put mine in spray painted wooden tray to really make the white pots pop.
Merry Crafting! 

 - Erin

Thanks Erin! Its great to have some new ideas. And with this tutorial and salt dough recipe, you can make all kind of lasting decorations for the house! Hope you guys have fun crafting with this one!

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