Christmas crafts to try with your kids while they're out of school + video

abredeson@islandpacket.comDecember 23, 2013 

Amy Coyne Bredeson and her children, Chloe and Eli, make salt dough Christmas decorations together on Thursday.

JAY KARR — Staff photo Buy Photo

There are only a couple of days left before Christmas, and the kids are out of school. While you're waiting for Santa to arrive, why not try some easy crafts with your children? It's a fun way to spend time together, while offering an instant cure to the inevitable complaint of "But I'm booooooored."

We asked local teachers to send in their favorite holiday crafts, and here is what we received:

Salt Dough Ornaments Submitted by Alana Adams, artist with See Salt Studio on Hilton Head Island

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • parchment paper
  • food coloring
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Boil water. Add oil to the water. If you'd like color, add a few drops of food coloring to the water. Pour a small amount of water into the dry mixture, and stir with a big spoon. Continue to add small amounts of water until the mixture is uniform and feels like Play-Doh.

Knead on a nonstick surface such as parchment paper. Roll out the dough. Cut with cookie cutters, and poke a hole at the top with a straw.

Allow to dry in a warm dry place for approximately three to five days, or bake in the oven on parchment paper at 225 degrees for about three hours. Flip the ornaments every 30 minutes or so. Decorate with acrylic paint, glitter, ribbons or other decorations. Tie a bow to the top to hang on the tree.

Cinnamon Applesauce Gingerbread People submitted by Barbara Streitenberger, art teacher at Michael C. Riley Elementary School

  • 3-4 ounces cinnamon
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • Rick Rack
  • buttons
  • glitter glue
  • puff paint
  • beads
  • wiggle eyes
  • ribbon
Put cinnamon in a bowl. Add unsweetened applesauce, a tablespoon or two at a time, until a soft but not wet dough is formed. Sprinkle extra cinnamon onto a wax paper-covered board and onto cookie cutters to keep the dough from sticking. Knead the dough, and roll it out about 1/4-inch thick.

Cut with gingerbread men cookie cutters. If you want to put a hole in the top to hang the shapes, use a soda straw or skewer. Let the shapes air dry for three to five days or until very hard and dry. Turn the shapes over several times as they dry. Decorate with bits of tiny rickrack (for icing), tiny buttons, glitter glue, puff paint, beads, wiggle eyes, bits of ribbon or whatever you like. Tie a thin ribbon at the top to hang.

Model Magic Christmas Trees submitted by Stephanie Riedmayer, art teacher at Lady's Island Elementary School

  • Model Magic
  • card stock
Use your fingers to mix together a small amount of blue and yellow Model Magic until it turns green. Roll the dough into a ball, and lightly pinch the ball until you make a fat triangle.

Place the triangle on a small piece of card stock. Shape the dough into a tree. You do not need glue; the Model Magic will stick to the paper.

Use brown Model Magic to make a tree trunk. Use other colors for ornaments.

Oyster Angels submitted by Doris Beishir, third-grade teacher at Michael C. Riley Elementary School

  • Oyster shells
  • bleach
  • water
  • ribbon
  • Spanish moss
  • 1-inch round wooden balls
  • markers
  • hot glue
  • pipe cleaners
Put the shells in a bucket filled with water. Add bleach. Let soak for a couple of hours. Rinse and dry.

Use a hot glue gun to glue a wooden ball onto the shell for a head. Glue a ribbon on the shell for hanging the ornament. Glue Spanish moss to the shell for hair. Mold a pipe cleaner into a halo, and glue it onto the hair.

Crab Shell Santa submitted by Doris Beishir, third-grade teacher at Michael C. Riley Elementary School

  • Crab shells
  • red paint
  • flesh-colored paint
  • Snow-Tex (Note: Can be substituted with a mixture of white sand and white acrylic paint)
  • paint pens
  • hot glue
Paint the top of the shell red for Santa's hat. Let it dry.

Paint most of the rest of the shell with the flesh color, leaving room at the bottom for Santa's beard. Let it dry.

Paint a face. Hint: Look for the indents on the shell to find a good spot for the eyes.

Use Snow-Tex to paint the beard, mustache and rim of Santa's hat.

Video: Reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson and her children, Eli and Chloe, demonstrate how to make Salt Dough Ornaments

Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at


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