This recipe for scented Gingerbread Ornaments is SO simple to make! Great for Christmas tree ornaments and gift giving this holiday season. Did I mention they smell amazing with a very simple trick?!
When it comes to the Christmas, the scent of gingerbread invites the warmth and light of the season. Not only is it my perfect seasonal scent, but it also makes beautiful gingerbread tree decorations and other decorative items.
However, I am not one to waste so I wanted to create some very traditional styled ornaments that would last year after year without going stale and crumbling.
Why I love this method:
- No puffing or curling edges.
- They smell amazing and last for weeks, if not longer.
- No baking required.
- No white edges like with salt dough.
- Last for years and you can add scent every year if you wish
- Realistic looking icing style.
- Use them as package toppers/ Christmas gift tags, tree ornaments in my Red Christmas, in wreaths or garland, Christmas kitchen decorations, or a tiered tray decor.
- I made this last year to test how well they lasted.
What You Will Need
The more exhaustive list is in the how-to card at the bottom of this post, but I do have some tips on gathering your supplies and to answer some questions.
Clay or Salt Dough. I used terracotta clay for this project because it is porous to soak in the smell, air dries without cracks or curling, and is fairly close in color to gingerbread.
Puffy Paint. Perfect for that “icing” look just like real gingerbread. I had trouble with the flat tip of this bottle, so I used a pipette bag.
Pro Tip: I had some trouble with squeezing the bottle evenly for pretty stripes. I found it much, much easier to control by using a pipette bag and the smallest decorative icing tip I had (a #1).
Wax Paper. To allow to dry and prevent the oil and clay from transferring. I also used nitrile gloves to keep the oil from getting into my hands.
Cookie Cutters. I especially loved these adorable deer and these snowflake cutters. Both are good sizes for ornaments. You could also make gingerbread man ornaments or Christmas trees.
Cinnamon or Gingerbread Fragrance (optional). The cinnamon is used to help give the ornaments a scent, but I would recommend using fragrance oil because it lasts longer.
Gingerbread Ornament Tips
Gingerbread Tree Decorations:
Use a straw or the end of a chopstick to make a hole somewhere on the ornament before drying so it can be hung on the tree.
There are many wonderful ways to decorate including traditional icing designs, crystals, glitter, and ribbons.
For me, one of the best things about these is that the scents lasts much longer than actual gingerbread. Last year, it lasted the whole month through the holidays before packing it up for this year! Also, this fragrance oil smells amazing, and you can make a ton of ornaments for cheap.
Perfection not necessary:
When I added the designs, I tried to make them mostly unique but an oopsy is totally fine…I wanted them to be rustic and fun. All of these ornaments, even the reindeer, look a little different which I love.
I walk you through the tutorial step by step in the recipe card below, but if you like to see things in action rather than read them, I also created a video showing the super simple process.
And I am giving you a little sneak peek on this year’s glorious Gingerbread Christmas tree that was inspired by these little goodies:
Unlike salt dough, clay won’t curl or get a dusty white appearance like salt dough can. However, you can use salt dough if you wish. Allow to air dry 24 hours and paint for color.
I stack and lightly wrap my ornaments in tissue paper in a small shoebox when packing up Christmas decorations.
Using a fragrance oil will make the gingerbread scent last much longer than baking. The first year, the scent lasted several weeks although it faded a bit over time. I spread a drop on the backs of several ornaments when I hang them each year after.
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DIY Gingerbread Ornaments
- Christmas Cookie Cutters
- #1 Icing Tip optional, but recommended
- Frosting Bag optional, but recommended
- 1 lb Air Dry Clay See note on types
- Puffy White Paint
- Gingerbread Scented Oil
- Wax Paper
- On a flat surface, lay a chunk of clay you that you intend to use. Wear gloves to avoid transference and put a dent in the center of the clay. Add a few drops of gingerbread oil. Work and mix the clay so the scent spreads throughout. You can also brush a drop or two on the back of each ornament after dry.
- Smooth out the clay between two sheets of wax paper and flatten with a rolling pin until about ¼ inch thick.
- Use cookie cutters to make shapes in the clay dough. Reroll the clay as needed to get as many ornaments as you like.
- Use a stiff straw to add a hole somewhere on the ornament for hanging. Allow to dry flat overnight, flipping over after several hours to dry the backside well.
- Decorate with traditional designs using white puffy paint. I found it hard to squeeze the bottle, so I put the paint into an icing bag with a #1 decorating tip. Allow to dry completely.
- Hang the ornament with twine or ribbon.
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