Monday, November 21, 2011

Personalized Place Cards

I will never forget our first Thanksgiving with the boys.  They moved in during the summer and Thanksgiving never had a great deal of meaning for the boys.  In fact they were rather suspicious as Joel and I excitedly prepared for the holiday.  To give them a way to contribute I had them make name cards for everyone.  I bought a pack of foam turkeys that they put together with some Elmer's Glue.  They had so much fun making those turkeys.  The added a paper ribbon with everyone's name to each little turkey.  It was so precious.   

Today they could care less about making name tags for the Thanksgiving table.  Thanksgiving is special to them for their own reasons now.  But for me, name cards are still an important part of our holiday, even if is just us around the table.  I never want to forget our humble beginnings and how far we have come as a family.

Anyway, onto the salt dough.  Ever play with salt dough?  It is a super simple dough to whip together and play with.  Once you get it formed and baked in the oven, you wind up with a hardened paint-able piece.  Salt dough has endless creative possibilities.  

The Board of Ingredients: 
  • Flour
  • Table Salt (Not Kosher)
  • Water

My daughter is making the recipe today.  Add the flour...


and water to a bowl.

Mix until the dough forms.  If it is on the sticky side add a bit of flour.  If it is dry add a bit of water.  I kneaded the dough in the bowl a few times to get a nice smooth dough consistency. 

Isn't it pretty?

Now it is time to roll the dough out. Give your work surface a dusting of flour.

Divide the dough in half.  Pat one half of the dough into a disc.


Sprinkle the dough with more flour.  

Roll the dough out.  We rolled the dough out to roughly an eighth of an inch.  The thicker the dough is the longer it will take to dry out in the oven.  If you go much thinner than an eighth of an inch, the baked dough could be brittle. 

Cut the dough however you desire.  I love this oak leaf.  Wait til you see what we are doing with it.

Transfer the shape to a cookie sheet.  Use a drinking straw to cut a hole in the dough if so desired. 

Look at how cute she is!  Anyway, throw the salt dough in the oven and bake at 200 degrees until the shapes are dried. 

I baked the shapes in the oven for about six hours.  I turned the oven off and left them in the oven overnight.  (The next morning my son decided to make muffins for breakfast.  When he turned on the oven, he did not check to see if there was anything in the oven.  He accidentally toasted the leaves and acorns. Oh well.)  When they are dried out and cool you are ready to start decorating. 

I am giving them all a coat of matte acrylic paint.  The matte color should be a sort of primer for your final look.  Since I am using metallic paints (they are 50% more expensive than the matte finish) I want to make sure that I need as few coats of the metallic paint as possible. 

Now for the fun part.  I am using two different shades of brownish for the acorns. 

You could add some details to the acorns with a paint pen if you wanted to.

The leaves take a few more steps.

Start by giving each leaf an organic swirling swish of color. 

When the first color is dry, paint the rest of the leaf in another color.  (Ignore that grey stuff on the leaf.  It is just the paint that is not completely dry.)

I added a third color.  I just painted on thin stripes here and there in odd numbers.  Each leaf either got three or five stripes.

When the leaves were dry, they were a bit brilliant for my tablescape plan. 

I decided to dry brush the leaves with antiqued bronze metallic paint to give them a more muted look.  I love how they turned out.  The acorns were perfect as they were. 

To put them together you need some twine a bit longer than a foot in length. 

Tie an acorn on one end and an oak leaf on the other end.

I just wound the twine around the rolled up napkin.  You can leave them the way they are or you could...
  • Add a name with stickers or a paint pen
  • Have each guest write down what they are most thankful for
  • Write out a Bible verse about thankfulness that your guests can share
  • Use them as favors and let each guest take theirs home

Salt Dough Recipe


1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Salt
1 Cup Flour


1. Mix all ingredients until a dough forms. Knead dough for a few minutes.
2. Divide the dough in half and roll out to 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut dough with knife or cookies cutters.
3. Place salt dough on a cookies sheet. Bake dough in a 200°F oven for six hours or until dry and hard.
4. Paint and decorate salt dough shapes. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. They are cute and such a great idea to get the kids involved! Happy Thanksgiving Week-enjoy:@)