Friday, December 13, 2013

The Trials and Tribulations of Handprint Ornaments

I've been outsmarted by handprint ornaments and I'm not ashamed to admit it. My frustration far outweighs my stupidity with all of the make-your-own ornament recipes I've tried and the Model Magic used. This is not the first time I've been outsmarted by handprint ornaments. I tried a salt ornament recipe last year that resulted in all of the handprints cracking and breaking into thousands of pieces. I had eight kids in my kitchen crying "my hand broke!" Luckily this year I skipped the tears, but gained a headache. My week with handprint ornaments is going something like this:

 I've done hand prints with Crayola Model Magic before and LOVED them because the clay/dough/whatever you want to call it, picks up all of those little lines of their hands, the shape, even their fingerprints. All pluses when you want to capture all of the moments of their little hands. The biggest downside to Model Magic is that it takes about 3 days to dry and even when it does "dry," it's still easily smooshable.

Another downside with the Model Magic handprint ornaments is that they had to lay flat to dry. Great, except that means that the back needs to dry out too. So, I had to wait for the front to dry, flip it over, dry out the back, flip it back to the front, only to discover that the dough had fallen a bit making the handprints hard to see. Total bummer considering it took 3 days to dry them out.

Then I tried out Salt Dough handprint ornaments. First, the dough was too sticky. Added way more flour than the recipe called for. At least it wasn't as sticky, but baking them in the oven was hit or miss. The first two I did (Max and Harrison's as a try out) came out great but I forgot to put them on parchment paper, so they stuck to the cookie sheet. Took some work and some breath holding so I didn't break them, but I got them off of the tray, cooled, and hung up. All without breaking and you can tell they're actually handprints.

I then tried the next round on parchment paper so I didn't have to spend 20 minutes of my life holding my breath and prying them off of a cookie sheet. Unfortunately, the backs of the ornaments didn't cook at all and caused the front to crack.

Third round, I put them on parchment paper half of the time and directly on the cookie sheet the other half. This seemed to work best, although the back was still a bit undone.

Next year, I'll probably save myself the headache of doing handprint ornaments and try shaped cinnamon ornaments (which I'm sure I'll do wrong the first dozen times). If you're interested in trying out handprint ornaments, the recipe I used for the salt ornaments was simple (1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 water. For best results use slightly more water and flour). If you're trying this with your own kiddos....good luck. May you not be as stupid as I am.