With just a few kitchen ingredients you can make your own DIY gingerbread Ornaments. Surprise family and friends with this cute scented Holiday decor and keep your Christmas decorations waste free!
Picture this Holiday scene. You walk past a cute wreath with pretty dried flowers. Perched on top, a branch where gingerbread men and gingerbread houses dangle from.
You look just a little closer, and see cinnamon sticks, anise stars, cardamom seeds and dried orange zest. And all of a sudden you realize: that’s where this delicious scent is coming from!
Gingerbread man and gingerbread house ornaments are no novel idea. But I wanted to make this Christmas classic and give it my own natural twist!
Instead of artificial fragrances or even essential oils, I used all-natural spices to scent these Christmas DIY gingerbread ornaments.
The base of these homemade ornaments is the air dry clay I share in this recipe tutorial. It’s an all-natural clay recipe using just baking soda, corn starch and water.
To the base I added 3 tablespoons of gingerbread spices. Well, in my case I added 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of ginger because that’s what I had in my kitchen.
Just by adding these spices the ‘dough’ will smell amazing! To stay in the natural theme I decorated them with more natural materials I found around my house.
Of course you can go a more ‘traditional’ route and paint them or leave them as is. Let your creativity run free!
Decorate Ornaments with Spices
Natural, dried herbs and spices make great crafting accessories.
To some they’re just spices in a jar. But I see bow ties, Christmas trees and snow flakes!
And it doesn’t have to be just spices! Here’s an inspirational list of what you can use to decorate your ornaments:
- Dried flowers
- Dried lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange zest
- Black pepper corns
- Star anise seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Cardamom seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Cinnamon sticks
- Sugar or salt
I used pumpkin seeds and cardamom pods to decorate the gingerbread men’s hands and feet. Half a star anise was perfect to make a bow tie. Their eyes are actually dried pepper corns. And dried orange zest slices made great mouths!
The little gingerbread house in the middle must be my favorite one. With a blunt knife I carved a doorway and 2 windows while the dough was still wet.With the same technique I carved some tiles into the roof section.
I wanted to emphasize those roof tiles with a pop of color, so I used dried orange zest slices. As they dry (I dried them in the oven) the edges curl up, so they had the perfect curved shape to make for the tiles.
And on one side I made a tree using just pumpkin seeds! The “snow” is actually coconut flour and rock salt.
I added all the spice decorations when the dough was still wet. This way I didn’t need to use glue to keep everything in place. Some of the decorations will fall off, so you can glue those back on later. Or you can leave it as is and consider it part of the charm!
Make Zero Waste Christmas Decorations
What I love most about this tutorial is that it can made completely waste free!
Not only can you make these DIY Gingerbread Ornaments entirely with ingredients from your pantry. You can also make them with items you can buy in a bulk store.
This tutorial is also a great way to reuse citrus zest. You can even make a dried orange garland and add these DIY Gingerbread ornaments as a fun touch!
- (Homemade Baking soda + Cornstarch) Air-dry Clay
- Gingerbread spices
- Collection of herbs, seeds and spices
- (Blunt) knife
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters or templates
- Follow my easy air-dry clay recipe to make the base.
- After you take the mixture off the heat, add the gingerbread spices. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Transfer the dough to a bowl or flat surface to let it cool down.
- Once the clay dough is cool to the touch, you can knead it into a ball. Sprinkle some extra corn starch over the dough if it keeps sticking to your hands. Once it no longer sticks to your hands, it's done.
- Roll the dough out into a flat layer that's about half an inch thick.
- Use a cookie cutter or a blunt knife to cut out your desired shapes. I drew what I wanted to create on a thin piece of cardboard first and placed this on top of the dough. This made it a lot easier for me to cut out similar shapes several times.
- If you want to hang the ornaments in your Christmas tree or on a wreath, you'll need to provide a hole for it. Use a toothpick to make an opening. Choose a place close to the rim, but leave a little room so the clay won't tear.
- Use your dried herbs, flowers, seeds or spices to decorate your creations. Push them down into the wet dough. Once the dough is dry it will keep the decorations in place.
- Let the clay ornaments air-dry overnight. The bottom side might still be wet. If this happens, turn them upside down and let them dry for another 12 hours or until the dough has completely dried out.
- Some of the decorations might fall of after the clay ornaments have dried. If this happens, you can glue them back on (regular crafting glue should work). You can also add more decorations on it if you prefer!