SCENTED ORNAMENTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS: PART 1

I love the smells around the holiday time.  Even though the house is usually closed up because it is cold outside, the scents of holiday baking, pine needles and warm fragrant bubbling soups fill the house with a coziness that is reserved for pre-holiday winter. If you want another idea for filling your house with gorgeous natural aroma (in addition to the Stovetop Potpourri) this is the post for you.

Let's begin with a classic, the cinnamon ornament. What I love about this ornament is that it is really easy to make and smells INCREDIBLE both while it is baking and for years to come. I have some that my kids made 10 years ago that still smell amazing every time I pull them out of  their tissue paper wrapping. This is really easy and only requires 3 ingredients. Cinnamon, applesauce, and white glue.  You can even skip the white glue but it adds a firmness to the dough that makes it easier to roll out and cut.  If you want, you can add other spices such as nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and even pumpkin pie spice. Let's gather up some supplies:

Here is the recipe I used:

1 Cup of Cinnamon (Just shy of one cup if you want to add extra spices)

1/4 Cup Applesauce

1/4 Cup Glue

Dash each of Clove, Nutmeg, and Cardamom

1/8 tsp Orange Extract

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. You can use your mixer if you like but I ended up just getting my hands in there and kneading. You may want to use some gloves if you don't want your hands all covered in cinnamon. You want the consistency to be good for rolling.  If it is too sticky, just add more cinnamon. You can tell it is too sticky if it is sticking in clumps to your rolling pin. If it is too dry spritz it with a little water to wet it.  Once it feels just right, I put it on a piece of wax paper and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness. The thickness is important because if they are too thin they will curl up when you are baking them. If you are good at eyeballing that is just fine. If not, use a ruler to measure. 

This dough is a little dry (see the cracking on the edges?) Needs a spritz of water. I found that the dough did not have to be perfect to work fine but if you want really smooth ornaments, you may have to play with the dough a little to get the right consistency.

This dough is a little dry (see the cracking on the edges?) Needs a spritz of water. I found that the dough did not have to be perfect to work fine but if you want really smooth ornaments, you may have to play with the dough a little to get the right consistency.

 Once the dough is rolled out smooth and flat,  get some cookie cutter shapes and cut into the dough. Use a straw to poke holes in the top. This will allow you to put ribbon or twine through it to hang it somewhere in the house. You could even hang one in your car. I baked them at 170°F (77°ç) for two hours or until they were completely hard.  If you want to speed up that process, you can bake it at 200°F. They may curl up around the edges a bit. If you are going to be home anyway and don't need the oven, it fills the house with a gorgeous aroma all day long. Once they are completely hard, remove them from the oven and let them cool. A good rule of thumb, if this is your first time making these, is to set your timer and check on them hourly. I left mine in for quite a while after they were hard because they smelled so great and nothing burned. 

Use a straw to poke holes in the top for hanging. (*Another idea is to pack the dough into a mold such as a candy mold. It will probably be a little thicker and therefore require more drying time. I tried it with some lollipop molds I had. I packed the dough in tightly and then turned them over, popped them out of the mold, and baked them until they were hard.) If you have stamps, this is the time to use them. Letter stamps are fantastic for personalizing and adding someone's name or initials.

Use a straw to poke holes in the top for hanging.

(*Another idea is to pack the dough into a mold such as a candy mold. It will probably be a little thicker and therefore require more drying time. I tried it with some lollipop molds I had. I packed the dough in tightly and then turned them over, popped them out of the mold, and baked them until they were hard.)

If you have stamps, this is the time to use them. Letter stamps are fantastic for personalizing and adding someone's name or initials.

Place the shapes on parchment paper and bake in a 170°F oven (About 77°C) for approximately two hours or until completely hardened.

Place the shapes on parchment paper and bake in a 170°F oven (About 77°C) for approximately two hours or until completely hardened.

Once your shapes are hardened and your house smells INCREDIBLE, take them out of the oven and let them cool.  Once they are completely cooled, if there are jagged parts you want to fix, you can use a nail file or sandpaper to smooth them. 

You can keep it really simple for a more natural look. Here I added regular old twine and some simple wooden beads. 

If you feel like hunkering down and getting your craft on, you can pull out some supplies and get creative.

Here are some example of things you might try. I had different kinds of ribbons for hanging, glue and glitter to add some sparkle, acrylic paint in tubes, some beads, sharpies and some scotch tape to secure the ends of the ribbons.

In the picture above, I add some white glue. I am using an old paint brush spread it evenly.

Next I sprinkle in some glitter and let it dry. 

Here is a great little trick to try when threading your ornaments. If you have a floppy and or thick thread that you are having trouble getting through the hole in the ornament or a bead, use a piece of scotch tape and roll it around the edge (You know, kind of like the end of a shoelace?). This makes it so much easier.

In this example, I used white acrylic paint to add some simple detail. This paint comes in tubes and you can get it at the craft store for as cheap as a buck a tube.  If you plan on adding color, the white paint works as an excellent primer.

Here, I use the white paint to prime this set of lips, which I want to paint red. If you want to speed up your drying time, you can use your hairdryer (This was the lollipop mold I was mentioning above.).

Here, I use the white paint to prime this set of lips, which I want to paint red. If you want to speed up your drying time, you can use your hairdryer (This was the lollipop mold I was mentioning above.).

A nice coat of red.

cinnamon14.jpg

Turn on some holiday music, relax, and craft away.  Another idea is to use a sharpie marker to add some details over the paint. There so many possibilities.

When you are all done, hang them up and enjoy. They don't have to be on a tree.  You can hang them in your bathroom, your car, or anywhere! These are really cute to tie on top of a holiday gift, especially if you have personalized it by stamping or painting the person's name on it. 

I can still smell the cinnamon when I turn my oven on (and I have used it several times since!)

Thanks for stopping by!

May your home be filled with warmth, coziness, and delicious scents.

Pam