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DIY Adorable Handprint Turkey and Santa Salt Dough Ornaments for Festive Season

This year, we are trying to scale back on spending, but we still wanted to provide fun crafts for our two year old, and gifts for family members. Typically in the past, we just bring a dish to thanksgiving, but we wanted to do a little something extra for our family as a thank you for all that they do. Since becoming a mom, it has become so evident to me how fleeting time really is. On that note, our toddler has changed so much in the past year, reinforcing just how important it is to capture this time any way we can. Her hands won't stay little forever, and these turkey and Santa handprints are an inexpensive craft we can do together with her. Not only to capture how small her hand is now, but also to create fun memories together, as well as a small token of appreciation. Spoiler alert: ours turned out terrible. They are not Pinterest-worthy beautiful pieces of artwork, but they were fun to make. My daughter loved playing with the dough and the paint, but if you're into Pinterest-worthy crafts I would suggest either doing this by yourself or trying a different craft project.

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handprint turkey and santas

Ingredients in Salt Dough

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of table salt

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour

  • 1.5 cups water


  • Mod Podge (for a finishing coat to help it hold up longer)

  • Baker's Twine (to add for hanging the ornament)

  • Small wood dowel (for making the hole for the ornament)

TIP: That’s it! (I buy store brand, cheap flour for this since project to keep it very budget-friendly.)

I had every intention to turn these into ornaments, but honestly I just forgot to add the hole. Oops!

Step 1: Prepare the Salt Dough Ornaments

Here’s a look at how to make salt dough. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for full information.

  1. Measure out the flour and water.

  2. Add the water.

  3. Stir with a wooden spoon.

  4. Keep stirring until the dough is mostly together and is hard to stir any longer.

  5. Knead a few times with hands to bring the dough together.

  6. Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out.

  7. Try to get the dough to an even thickness before baking so the ornaments bake evenly.

The recipe we used seemed a little dry, so we added some more water at the end. This may have been a mistake due to the fact that we had to toss one of the handprints, and the others were not as good as some we made in the past. Overall, it was still a fun activity, though!

Addie loved stirring the dough. Was it super helpful? No not really. I definitely had to go back and mix it together. But she loved it, I highly recommend letting your kids try as many steps in this as you're comfortable with. They probably would have turned out prettier if I did most of this myself but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun for either of us.

mom and toddler making dough for ornaments

Step 2: Create the Handprints Ornaments

Take the piece of salt dough and press the hand into the dough to create the handprint impression.

Also if possible set up a tripod or ask someone to snap a photo or two during the activity. It's not the best photo of us ever taken, but we had literally so much fun. She even got flour on her bottom, which at the time I didn't realize but I really enjoyed this cute detail when looking back at this activity.

toddler making handprints on dough

Step 3: Bake the Handprint Ornaments

Preheat Oven 250 F.

If you are going to put a string on it poke a hole in the ornament with small wood dowel or whatever you have on hand. Make sure you do this before you bake the ornament if you want to hang it. Bake for 2-3 hours. Continue baking both handprints as needed until they are until just firm to the touch, checking every 20 minutes.

(It's not a problem if yours take longer than the initial baking time—it varies based on thickness and size.) They do not need to be rock hard, but should not feel squishy.

Capturing a handprint in salt dough is a perfect grandparent gift, or a keepsake ornament to make for your own tree. I love pulling out our little collection year after year. You should know that getting a good print may take a few tries if doing a baby’s hand!

Remove the ornaments from oven, let cool, and paint if desired with acrylic or washable tempera paint.

Step 4: Paint the Handprint Ornaments

Wait until it is fully cool to the touch.

  1. Paint the hand however you want; we did brown on the palm.

  2. We let the brown dry and the painted each finger red, yellow, brown and orange.

  3. Next we added a beak, eyes and wattle. (that little red thing next to the turkey's beak)

  4. For the Santa's, we painted the thumb and part of the palm red. We painted the fingers white, and filled the space between with pink for Santa's rosy skin.

  5. Once the red, pink and white paint dried, we used black and white paint marker to add facial details (which are totally up to you as you make these), added extra red for Santa's rosy cheeks, and we applied cotton balls with hot glue (you can also use Elmer's or craft glue) for the peak of Santa's hat.

Step 5: Let dry & Seal the Handprint Ornaments (Optional)

  1. Then we let the ornaments completely dry and seal with Mod Podge.

  2. Then we add the string.

I had every intention of completing this step, but when it was all said and done, I didn't. I forgot the hole, and then I just didn't Mod Podge it. I may still go back and Mod Podge later.

santa and turkey handprints

Extra Tips

  • Mod Podge (for a finishing coat to help it hold up longer)

  • Baker's Twine (to add for hanging the ornament)

  • Small wood dowel (for making the hole for the ornament)

  • PVA Glue or Elmers Glue is an alternative to Mod Podge.

  • If the Salt Dough Ornament cracks any consider using craft glue to repair it.

Storage Tips

If you have extra salt dough, you can use cookie cutters to make more ornaments, or you can store the leftover salt dough for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. I don't recommend storing it for more than a few days because the dough will harden and won't work as well.

Out of season, store salt dough ornaments by avoiding heat, humidity, and moisture. If you have multiples, layer them between sheets of wax paper (never tissue, which can stick to them in the heat) and store them in a sturdy box. When handled with care, these ornaments can last for several years. That said, accidents and "oops!" moments do happen. If a crack happens on an older salt dough ornament, after using craft glue you could consider using a mold to replicate the hand print if necessary.


Overall, it's important to remember it's not as much about the project itself as it is about the time together. The hand turkeys and Santas are a beautiful way to capture this time in all of our lives. Whether you're making one to keep for yourself, or give as a gift, it's a fun way to spend time together. Ours didn't turn out as this amazing Pinterest-worthy craft, but I still love them. This is a Thanksgiving and. Christmas craft we are going to do year after year. The beauty of the holidays lies in the memories we create, and this craft is a beautiful way to make them last. I'd love to hear about your experiences and see your unique creations! Share photos of your handprint ornaments on social media using the hashtag #allaboutthataddie. It's a great way to connect with other creative minds and inspire fellow parents and caregivers. Feel free to tag us at @allaboutthataddie in your posts; we'd be delighted to see your masterpieces!

If you enjoyed this project, don't forget to explore more creative ideas and helpful tips on our blog. Whether you're looking for holiday crafts, parenting advice, or DIY inspiration, we have a plethora of engaging content waiting for you. Keep the creative spirit alive all year round by delving into our world of fun and imagination. As always thank you so much for reading and being a part of our community!

If you like this post you might also consider checking out Easy Fall Crafts you can do with a two year old.

With love,



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Hi, I'm Angie

Hello there! I'm Angie, and I appreciate you taking the time to visit. I proudly embrace the role of being a mom to a delightful 20-month-old, while also embarking on a personal journey of self-discovery. Moving forward, I intend to delve into a wide range of topics, such as our daily routines, effective cleaning strategies, and dive deeper into our adventures with ASQ-3 Testing, helmet usage, and any other exciting aspects that arise along the way.

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