That’s right. The title says it all. I’m veering away from traditional ball ornaments this year (don’t worry, we do have several) and trying something new to remind us of the years we lived by the ocean. So, we made salt dough starfish for our Christmas tree and they are looking quite lovely, if I do say so myself.
Warning: this post is pic heavy. If you don’t like photos, then do not proceed. Just kidding. Who doesn’t like photos?
Overall, we enjoy our main tree being pretty neutrally decorated and have chosen a lot of natural-esque kinds ornaments such as white feathers, spray painted pine cones, silver snow flakes and metal rain drops. (Those occur in nature, right?) It seemed only natural to add starfish to this grouping. And we made them from items we already had in our home. Major bonus!
I started out with 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1 cup of water and threw that into a bowl to make my salt dough.
Next, I mixed it all up.
Grabbing a chunk of the dough, I rolled it into a ball and squished it down on a floured surface.
Then, I used a White Finger Starfish that I already owned to measure where the legs would go and marked it with the pointy end of a skewer. (Skewers are the perfect tool for this project, but a toothpick, a pencil, or a fork could totally achieve the same results.) If you don’t have a starfish to use as a template, you could totally eyeball it or download a starfish template from the inter-webs. Where there is a will, there is a way…
Using the skewer again, I cut out the triangular pieces between each leg piece.
The legs were then smoothed out and received a little extra piece at the end to make them longer.
Don’t worry. This next photo is not some weird starfish mating ritual. I was just checking the dimensions to see if they were similar. Not perfect, but good enough! Sidenote: No echinoderms were harmed in the making of these ornaments.
After the salt dough starfish was whole, I again used the pointy end of the skewer to poke tiny holes all over the legs and body…
And the blunt end to make a hole at the end of one leg for some string to go through.
When all of the starfish are finished, bake them in the oven at 200 degrees for a couple of hours until dry. Or leave them out on the counter to dry overnight while you get your sleep on.
I noticed, once mine were dry, that they looked a bit more like the color of first morning urine than the original white I was trying to emulate.
So, I grabbed some white acrylic paint and water and brushed them on the fronts and backs of each sea star. Looks better, no?
Finally, the paint dried and the starfish were ready to hang on the tree.
I know it isn’t perfect, but doesn’t it look pretty realistic? You can’t even tell that it is salt dough if you are standing more than a foot away from the tree. And the fact that it cost me a whole lotta nothing was the best part. That is always the best part.