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How to Make Gluten-Free Salt Dough Ornaments

This fun family tutorial shows how to use gluten-free materials to make salt dough ornaments for the holidays. This recipe and tutorial are ideal for gluten sensitive family members.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Decorating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Author Heather Dessinger


  • cookie sheet
  • Holiday shaped cookie cutters
  • Paintbrush
  • large stamp


  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup water (or more if needed)
  • non-toxic acrylic varnish
  • 1 drinking straw
  • acrylic paints
  • glitter
  • ribbon


  • Mix cornstarch, salt and water together.
    boy mixing the cornstarch in a mixing bowl
  • In a small pot, cook mixture over medium heat until it forms a ball of dough. Move dough to your work area and allow to cool slightly. As soon as it can be comfortably handled, knead it a few times to check for consistency. It should be soft and pliable but not overly sticky. If it is too sticky, add a little more cornstarch.
    ball of dough
  • Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness.
    girl using rolling pin to flatten dough
  • Cut out ornaments using cookie cutters. If desired, use a large stamp to create a design over the top. Tip: When it’s time to gather your leftover dough and re-roll to make more ornaments, wet your hands slightly before you knead. It helps the dough integrate better.
    boy using cookie cutters to cut dough
  • Using your straw, create a hole for the ribbon that will hang the ornament.
    girl using a straw to poke holes in soft dough
  • Place ornaments in the oven and bake at 250F for two to three hours, or until completely dry. Flip occasionally – exactly how long is needed will depend on how thick your ornaments are.
    soft dough star ornament ready for baking
  • Wipe off any excess cornstarch that may prevent paint from adhering, then decorate with paints and/or glitter if desired.
    boy deciding which colors to paint the ornaments
  • Optional: If you want your ornaments to last for years and years, seal them with three to four thin coats of non-toxic acrylic varnish after the decorative paint has fully dried. Make sure to coat the entire surface to prevent moisture from getting in.
    painted and glittered ornaments