Salt dough Christmas gift tags

I know, Christmas is over and has been for a while. Maybe one year I’ll manage to share our wrapping ideas before Christmas, but this year was just way too busy!

We’ve done homemade tags for the last couple years and it has become a tradition I really enjoy! The first year we did wooden tags and last year we made paint chip tags.  This year, I tried salt dough!

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They were definitely the most work, but they turned out so cute!

I used this simple salt dough recipe:

  • 1 cup of flour (NOT self-rising)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water

I rolled out small, thin sections and cut out shapes using random things like cookie cutters and a jigger for circles. I used a paper tag from last year as a template and cut the dough using a flat knife. A Cutco cheese knife, actually…probably not its intended use!

Then I “decorated” the shapes using smaller cookie cutters, snowflake plunger cutters, stamps, the edge of a snap-off box cutter, and a piece of milk glass with a fun pattern that I rolled lightly over the dough. I used a straw to create the hole.

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Some recipes say you can microwave them for faster drying (90 seconds to 3 minutes) but I tried this with a couple and they bubbled and warped pretty badly. I didn’t really want these to look like a child’s craft project, so I opted for hours and hours (and hours!!) in the oven at 200 degrees. You don’t want to burn them, but any moisture could make them mildew or crumble more easily so you do want to make sure they’re completely dry.

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I couldn’t seem to find the right balance of completely dry but not yellowed (at least on one side), so once they were all done, I decided to paint them with acrylic craft paints.

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If you want them to last more than one season, you need to paint or varnish them with something anyway to keep moisture from getting in, so I painted all of them on both sides and all the edges (even inside the hole!). Once the paint was dry I coated them again with matte Mod Podge, just to be sure. It didn’t change the appearance, but it made them feel much smoother, which hopefully means less porous!

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Then I decorated them some more by drawing in the indentations with gold Sharpie…

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Or red Sharpie (right) and red acrylic paint (left).

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And then came the wrapping! This year we used brown Kraft paper (from Amazon) and some silver polka dot wrapping for smaller gifts, along with some silver sparkly tape from the dollar bins at Target!

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I made a few snowflakes using the plunger cutter just for fun (kind of hard to do since these cutters are really made to be used with softer fondant or frosting), and then realized this tiny gift was too small for a regular tag anyway! Isn’t it adorable?!

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I decorated some of the Kraft paper presents with the gold Sharpie…

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And gold polka dot Washi tape.

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For others, I used stamps. The tags took so long, I didn’t have a lot of time for the wrapping so I just decorated the top. Who really cares about the side of the present anyway, right?

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I wanted to stamp the names, but the ink from the metallic stamp pad would NOT dry (I experimented on one and even after 7 days I was able to wipe it off with just a little water) so I just used the gold Sharpie instead.

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That gold Sharpie really won Christmas this year! Way to go, gold Sharpie!

We had one very awkwardly shaped gift, so I made a gift bag out of the brown paper and decorated it with stripes. It was kind of a lot of work for one gift, but I couldn’t help myself!

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With our incredibly busy December, we never got around to putting very many of the tags on the tree, but I’m storing them inside (instead of in the attic with the other decorations) in hopes that we can use them next year!

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Despite how much work went into these, I really enjoyed decorating them and LOVED the results! Possibly my favorite gift tags yet, and unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to top them!

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One Response to Salt dough Christmas gift tags

  1. Andrea April 10, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing