Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments & Cards Part 2 Marbling, Birds, Gingerbread Men Icing and Finishing

As I always make my own Greetings cards and as I'd already had so much fun making salt dough tree decoration  ornaments I decided to incorporate them into this year's cards. The heart design would also make a great Valentine's card, particularly with vintage paper scraps and/or motifs.

I saw this marbling technique used with clay and thought that it would work really well with salt dough and I hope you'll agree that it did! Details of the recipe for the basic salt dough, troubleshooting and the 'flavours' I used, can be found in Part 1 of this project. Below I'm using combinations of hibiscus, cocoa, ginger/turmeric/paprika and cinnamon salt doughs.


You can create some lovely subtle faux marble by twisting a couple or even several colours of salt dough together. I found making thick 'spaghetti' in short lengths of of dough of around 4 to 6"  (10 to 15cms) was the easiest to handle. I then cut off short lengths of the dough twists, stood them upright and rolled them flat and cut out my shapes, choosing the most pleasing 'marbled' sections.

Once I had cut a shape, I then reassembled the leftovers into another ball and rolled again, each time I repeated the process the marbling effect became ever more interesting. Above you can see shapes cut form the first dough twists and below those from the 'leftovers'.



As, I mentioned in Part 1, as the ornaments dry, the salt will leave a white residue on the top of the biscuit crust and this can be glazed with glue which both seals and brings out the colours of the dough.

The glaze is made with a PVA glue and water at a ratio of :

2 parts glue to 1 part water.

With the spices and hibiscus biscuits, this, on drying brought out the shine of the salt crystals in the dough and made a natural glisten to the ornaments which was very satisfying. With the chocolate the glaze may need to be rubbed in if you have a predominantly cocoa element to your marbling. As I already mentioned in the chocolate salt dough, the cocoa seems to make the PVA glaze go stringy but if you rub it in it gives a very pleasing rich chocolate look to the ornament.


With the gingerbread men and birds, the above made from turmeric and ginger twists of dough, as it was a last minute idea and too late for me to purchase cutters, I decided to cut out a suitable shape in cardboard and then trace around the outline with a sharp knife. Doing this means you can create unique pieces and it isn't that difficult to cut them out. The only problem is removing the cardboard shape from the dough, particularly if you are using very thinly rolled dough. I found using the cardboard from organic chocolate bars, which has a sheen to it very easy to release, or at least that is my excuse! Here they are in their raw state prior to decorating.


For the gingerbread men I used cloves for the eyes and buttons, I just cut off the actual bud of the clove with a sharp knife, as the stem was too long for the thickness of the dough. I made some of my gingerbread men using the marble dough. I also made a glue glaze with cinnamon tea instead of water.


I took some of my ornaments and made them into cards by using orange box/fruit crate wood that I'd cut into squares/rectangles. I painted these latter with a simple white ecological paint and then added layers of decorative card, handmade papers, ephemera, sheet music....

I drilled two holes in the wood, so as they could be used as tree ornaments or, as most of my friends and relatives do, they hang them over cupboard door knobs as decoration, all year round.

There are so many things you can do with kitchen cupboard ingredients and scraps of paper and fabric the kitchen smells marvellous and its great fun and I found very calming making and rolling the dough. 

All you need is imagination!


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©  Sue Cross 2017

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