Easy gift idea for kids to make: play-dough ornaments

I homeschool my kindergartener, but she also goes to a learning center with various teachers two days a week. That means quite a few beloved teachers that we wanted to give a simple Christmas gift to. Thanks to a friend’s idea, we made an easy gift for Gigi’s learning center teachers, that –bonus!!– she essentially made herself!

We always seem to have an abundance of play-dough around here. I’ve always wanted to make my own dough, but we already seem to have too much as it is. This project was an easy way to thin out our play-dough supply and make cute ornaments that Gigi could give away.

How to make play-dough ornaments

When I say easy, I mean it. I’m not big with messy kids’ projects and this craft got two thumbs up from me and Gigi (five years old).

First, we rolled the dough out. I had to help a little with this because the dough stuck to the roller sometimes.

Then, Gigi cut out shapes with old cookie cutters that have joined our play-dough supplies.

She put them on a cookie sheet where I poked holes (about a centimeter in diameter) with a toothpick in the spot of her choice. We experimented a bit with mixing colors, and that pink one (pictured above) ended up with a little white heart in it, by accident– so cute!

Finally we baked them at 200 degrees for about an hour. Yours might be done sooner. I started with thirty minutes and added time as needed until they were mostly dried out. Before baking I brushed on some vanilla essential oil with a q-tip but it didn’t really take because of the store-bought play-dough smell. I bet it might work better on homemade dough.

We then let them sit out on the counter for a few more days, and tied some embroidery floss on them so they can be hung. We’ll be pairing them with a handmade card. So fun!

Check back next week when one of my contributors will share an even-more handmade version of this project.

What are you giving as teacher gifts this year? Do you have any handmade ideas to share?


Nicole lives near the beach in Southern California with her husband and three young kiddos. She writes a a lifestyle blog about creativity, family life, community, and all sorts of other fun stuff, and also keeps a homeschool journal called The Bennettar Academy. Her most recent (free!) ebook is about why and how to make more time for reading.

Encouragement for living simpler, right in your inbox.

We share our stories as we simplify our lives - no guilt-trips, just love.

(no spam, promise. we hate it, too.)


  1. I love how simple this is. I had been wanting to make handmade dough ornaments with my son but was overwhelmed with the idea of making the dough from scratch. What a great idea using play-doh we already have! Thanks so much!

  2. We just made salt dough ornaments–almost as easy, but I love your even easier method! Another homemade item we’re doing is wrapping paper. I have some big pieces of paper that were in packages as well as some that wrapped fragile items we bought. Sometimes my little guy paints right on them and we use that; other times I use up the paint that’s on the palette when we’re done painting. Reused paper that can be recycled…and is one of a kind!

  3. Hi Nicole. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing. What is embroidery gloss and why is it necessary in order to hang the ornaments?

    • Embroidery floss is a 6-stranded thread. You could use any small string that would fit through the hole really. Baker’s twine would be darling!

  4. Nice to be here and see your post!

Add Your Thoughts