Ornaments the whole family can make

by Laura Sussely-Pope

homemade ornamentsAre the kids getting twitchy? Is the tree rather barren? Do you need a creative gift idea? We've got a solution for you!

Start getting into the holiday spirit by turning "stuff" around the house into fantastic holiday decorations.

You don't need to be particularly crafty or creative, just handy. All our articles use fingerprints and or handprints. Just gather up a bit "junk." Then take a look at how you can turn transform it into fun holiday décor.

Let these ideas get those ornaments started. Have the kids invite a friend. You'll have even more fun when you make it a group activity.

Ornaments the whole family can make

Salt dough handprints

Everyone has a hand, even your baby -- although you might not get a lot of cooperation opening and printing that tiny hand.

Use your favorite recipe or stir together 1/2 cups salt and 1/2 cup flour. Gradually add about 1/4 cup water and a couple drops of oil. Knead until smooth.

Roll the dough out about 1/3 inch thick on a cookie sheet. Trim into a circle slightly larger than your child's hand. Emboss the hand print in the center. Use a straw to make a hole about 3/4 inch down) in it. Place in a 200 F degree oven for two to three hours or allow to air dry overnight.

Paint or gloss however you'd like. Add your child's name and the year. Wouldn't the grandparents love a yearly "how I've grown" ornament? Thread a ribbon through the hole and it's ready to hang or give as a gift.

Snowmen in a row: Paint the hand print a bright white and the background a light blue. Draw and decorate snowmen on the fingers and thumb. Don't forget the colorful hats and scarves!

Handprint Santa: Roll out the dough and press the print. Then trim around the hand shape, leaving a border. Poke a hole for hanging. Air dry or bake. Now for the fun part! Paint most of the thumb and upper palm bright red for Santa's hat. Dab pink for a face on lower part of the palm. Use white paint for the tassel, hat's fur trim and that love finger-made beard. Draw a face and accents with markers.

Thumbprint clay ornaments: Quick, easy and elegant, these clay creations can also take on the scent of the holidays. Make your dough out of applesauce and craft-grade cinnamon. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to make several shapes and punch a hole in each near the top for hanging. Bring in the tiny finger arsenal and press away! Allow to harden, then paint or decorate or leave natural.

Have a ball with prints

Thumb print Rudolf: Start with a plain ball ornament. It can be clear or colored. Pour a little brown paint in a paper plate. Help your child put thumbprints in several spots using brown paint. It's such fun you may need to "practice" on paper or cardstock. Once the paint dries, draw on antlers and add eyes and a red or black nose to make reindeer. For big and small reindeer, add sibling and parent prints, too.

Penguin print: Dip your child's thumb in white paint and stamp in the middle of the ornament or make a row of penguins around it. Allow the paint to dry completely. Paint on the wings and use a sharpie to draw the eyes, black body and orange beak.

Frosty the Snowman: Dip your child's thumb in white paint and make 2 thumbprints on the ornament for the snowman. Once the paint dries, use sharpies to make the eyes, carrot nose, mouth, scarf and buttons and then paint on a black top hat.

Everyone who wants to make an ornament, raise your hand! Better yet, get busy using your hand- and thumb prints to create a memorable decoration.

Has your family made ornaments this year? Tell us about your projects and share a picture!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.