Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Cinnamon Ornaments for your tree, wreath and garland!


This week we're continuing with some fun Christmas prep by experimenting with cinnamon ornaments. If you can remember way back, you may have made these in an elementary school class.  Now you can make a big batch for yourself and use them to decorate your home and create the best aromatherapy for anyone lucky enough to visit you! :)

I started with a recipe for the dough from Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts, then decorated the ornaments with some gold paint.  You can use the technique to make ornaments for trees and smaller ornaments to decorate wreaths and garlands.

So, here we go!

What you'll need:
-Ground cinnamon (1 cup)
-Applesauce (1/4 cup)
-Craft glue (~1/2 cup)
-Rolling pin
-Cookie cutters, X-acto knife
-Wire cooling rack, paper towels
-Skewer or straw to make holes for hanging
-Ribbon or twine for hanging
-Paint/paintbrushes for decorating (optional)

This is a great project to make with friends or the kids in your life... get your supplies and have fun!

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, mix the cinnamon and apple sauce using a rubber spatula.*  This is more about proportions than exact measurements, so work with the amounts of applesauce and cinnamon until you get a play-dough-like consistency. (I used about 2 cups of cinnamon and a little over 1/2 cup of applesauce.) I added the glue once I was mostly satisfied with the consistency, and I didn't add quite as much as was called for in the recipe. 
*NOTE: It will more than likely be easier for you to combine the ingredients with your hands.  Just know that the cinnamon can irritate/burn your hands, so wash your hands frequently!  I would also suggest, if you're making this with kids, that you be the one to mix and manipulate the dough. 

Learn from my mistake.  Start with a BIG mixing bowl.  This little blue bowl didn't cut it. :) 

Add more applesauce as needed.

The dough is starting to come together.... and my hands are feeling the burn.

Craft glue added!

Step 2: Once you're happy with the dough, roll it out (1/4 to 1/2 of the dough at a time) on a very clean surface.  If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle more cinnamon on the dough or on your surface.  Roll it out to ~1/4" thick.

Step 3: Use cookie cutters or an X-acto knife and template of your choosing to cut out your ornaments.  Make sure to use a straw or skewer to make a hole for hanging.  I cut several different shapes, but decided to use a small holly leaf-shaped cutter for the majority of the ornaments.  (I used those for a garland and wreath embellishment.)

Step 4: I used an off-set spatula to take the ornaments off of the counter and place them on a wire cooling rack lined with paper towels.  Let them air dry for ~24 hours.  The wire rack is important for air circulation.  I left mine on a baking sheet overnight, and they didn't dry at all; so, take a lesson from my mistake! :)
After air drying the ornaments, I did read you could bake these at 200 degrees for about two hours, flipping them after one hour.  So try whatever works for you! 

The ornaments will lighten in color as they dry.  If you look at that skewer, you can see that the edges are drying on that ornament, but the center is still wet.  This is when patience would be helpful for me. :)

Step 5: Decorate!  You guys probably know I'm a fan of gold, so this should be no surprise to you.  I used my favorite "Antique Gold" acrylic paint and some fine brushes to do a little embellishing.

Step 6: When your pieces are decorated to your satisfaction, it's time for hanging!  I used a yarn needle and some butcher's twine to make the hanging a little easier.  If you made a big enough hole for hanging, this should be an easy step.  

For Christmas tree ornaments: Hang each ornament separately and decorate your tree, or give them as gifts!

For a garland: Use butcher's twine to string up as many ornaments as you'd like!  I used this holly leaf ornament garland over a faux-greenery garland to add some color and aroma to the stairs. :)  I just wrapped the twine around the little branches of the greenery.  This would be so pretty on a mantle! (or anywhere a garland can go!) ;)

For a wreath: I used ornament hangers, (you could use any wire or paper clips), to hold the small ornaments and secure them to a wreath.  This is a wreath I already had in the attic, but you could take this idea and run with it for any wreath!  If you make enough small ornaments, maybe you could make an entire wreath with them, using a wire or styrofoam wreath form!  Go crazy. :)

Wouldn't it be nice to smell cinnamon each time you opened the door? :)

Ok, that's it for this week!  Go buy some cinnamon in bulk, and have fun!

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