This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in December 2013.

What’s not to love about DIY salt dough ornaments? They’re nearly impossible to mess up, a perfect snowy day activity for kids and adults alike, as infinitely customizable as your basic holiday cut-out cookies, and can make a great holiday gift for friends and family. Choose your favorite cookie cutter, and have at it.

How to make a big salt dough snowflake ornament.

You probably already have all of the fixings around your house. This basic mix creates 5-10 ornaments (depending on the size of your cut-out shapes), and can easily be scaled up or divided to create larger or smaller batches:

  • 2 cups of flour (and a little extra to prevent sticking on your work surface)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • Assorted cookie cut-outs
  • Rolling pin
  • A pointed object, like an unfurled paperclip or pencil
  • Baking sheet

With the oven preheating to 325 degrees, mix all ingredients together to form a dough. Roll the dough out on a smooth surface until it is approximately 1/8″-1/4″ thick. Go wild with the cut-outs until you have as many ornaments as you want (and if you want a custom shape, have at it with a butter knife).

How to make a big salt dough snowflake ornament.

Transfer the cut-outs to a baking sheet, and before putting them in the oven, use a pointed tip to carve out a small hole for the ornament hook.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the whole ornament begins to brown. Depending on the thickness of your ornament, this may take a little longer. If you’re curious, I found this cutter at Williams-Sonoma, and bought it because I was impressed with its sheer size. Huge ornaments, huge cookies, can’t go wrong.

How to make a big salt dough snowflake ornament.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and seal the finished ornaments with acrylic craft paints or a clear coat to help preserve the pieces for years to come.

If you’re looking for different types of DIY ornaments to make this holiday season, consider these:

Learn From Me: Secure That Christmas Tree

April 30, 2016   //  Posted in: DIY, DIY Network Projects, Holiday-Related Projects, Home Safety   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in December 2014.

I can tell you one thing you won’t want to be dealing with at 2am – a fallen Christmas tree. I suspect my own err was loading on the ornaments too early; the weight of the ornaments (which of course were hung with more concentration in the front of the tree than in the back) in addition to continued settling of the branches, forced our tree to land smack in the middle of our living room. And in the wee hours of the morning, it’s not a sound that you forget very easily. It’s not too late, everyone. Do what you can to secure your own Christmas tree.

How to secure your Christmas tree upright.

Let’s face it. If you have a real tree, you can’t expect that it has grown vertically or evenly, even if it looks perfect at the tree farm or staked for display at the store. Remove the roots – its balance – and anything could happen.

The most pertinent advice I can offer regarding securing your Christmas Tree is that once you have it in the stand and as upright as possible, let the branches settle indoors for 24 hours. Monitor it closely. During this time, you’ll be able to re-adjust your tree so that its position is ideal, and it’s not willing to sway when you tug and push on the trunk.

Weight on the branches is always going to be a concern of mine after having lost almost all of our fragile ornaments (protecting our hardwood floors from water spills, another valid concern), so I’ve taken to using shims beneath the side of the tree stand that faces into the room, not so much to force the tree backwards, but as a way to reinforce that if it’s going to tip, it’ll tip into the corner of the room and catch itself. Also a good tip if you have a pushy toddler or pets that are inclined to be toying with your decor.

Check your tree daily, whenever you water it, and if it seems wobbly, be sure to adjust it.

Other tips?

  • Loop and knot a piece of long fine gauge wire around the mid-upper trunk. Tie the long ends of the wire to a hook (like this one) on the wall using a double-sided sticky mounting square. While it may not be enough to prevent a tip 100%, it will be enough to provide some balance. Best of all, you can monitor the tension or slack in these wires to easily check if your tree is shifting in its stand.
  • Installing eye hooks into your wall to support it is a more secure method that has been known to work – this is a good tip if you’re dealing with a 10-footer with a higher center of gravity in a little stand.

Share more helpful ideas with us in the comments.

Make a Merry Candy Cane Doormat

April 30, 2016   //  Posted in: DIY, DIY Network Projects, Entryway, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in December 2013.

An adorable doormat is the threshold to your home during the holiday season, and while you may be mighty tempted by the retail options available every year, did you ever consider making one yourself?

With just a few materials – basically just a blank rectangular jute doormat and paint – your creative options are endless, and you’ll find that you can customize your own doormat easily to suit the rest of your holiday decor. Stencils can be store-bought, or made at home (reference this tutorial to see how stencils can be made using painters’ tape). Follow my easy how-to to make a simple stencil out of tissue paper, and see how you can create your own candy cane design.

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.

Step 1

Begin with your plain doormat and create a template to size. I found it easiest to use a piece of tissue paper, and for symmetry, did the left half of the design as a starting point. You’ll notice my design takes a slightly different shape between the template and painting phase.

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.

Step 2 

Trim the template to size, and transfer the shape to the back of your doormat using a marker.

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.

Step 3

Cut the entire template to size using a pair of scissors or a utility knife. Depending on the material your doormat is made of, expect to dull your cutting tool very fast!

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.

Step 4

Using black craft paint, define the details of your design. This is where my final design veered a little bit from the original template. Thinner candy canes seemed to look better than ones that are fully intertwined.

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.

Step 5

Next, add white paint into the design. You may find you need to go back and touch up the crisp border, but trust me, it’s worth it to have the black shapes as a guide. In creating your stripes, make sure that each candy cane is a little bit different so that the stripes don’t align.

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.

Step 6

Fill in the gaps with a different color (classic red in my case), allow the craft paint to dry overnight, and set it out on display!

DIY holiday doormat with painted candy canes.