In A Love Restored, Benjamin is surprised to discover these simple salt dough ornaments hanging on Ruth Ann’s tree rather than fancy store-bought ornaments that might be more fitting a woman of her station. These homemade decorations are a long-standing tradition for the Sutton family.

Here is the recipe that inspired this scene in the book and one I made with my daughter and her girl scout troop many years ago. I hope that you will enjoy making these with your family and perhaps find a new Christmas tradition.

What You’ll Need

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Iodized Table Salt
1T  Ground Cloves
1T Nutmeg
4T Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Water
White Tulip Slick Fabric Paint
Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Protective Coat
1 Straw
Baker’s Twine, Ribbon, or String


  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  3. Add your warm water to the flour mixture. Stir well. It will come together. If you feel like you absolutely need more moisture, add no more than 2 teaspoons.
  4. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper. Aim for about 1/4 of an inch thickness.
  5. Using your cookie cutters of choice, cut out your shapes and place them on your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Use a straw to cut the hole that will be used to hang your ornaments. Don’t forget this step! Once these are dry it will be impossible to punch a hole in them.
  7. Place your ornaments into the oven for 10 minutes. If you’d rather not bake them, they can set out overnight to dry.
  8. Remove your ornaments from the oven. Let them set for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then flip them all over. Let them continue to set on the cookie sheet until they’re completely cooled.
  9. Decorate: For a richer gingerbread color, create a gouache with 1 part red, 2 parts yellow, 1 part brown. Use Tulip Slick Paint for outlining and adding details. It puffs up a little as you apply it but then dries hard. If you mess it up, you can peel it off once its dry to the touch.
  10. Once ornaments are completely dry, use a clear matte Rust-Oleum spray to protect the “icing.”
  11. Thread festive string or ribbon through the hole and enjoy the seasonal smell!


  • Smaller cookie cutters tend to work best.
  • Ornaments do not need to be trimmed. No doubt, Ruth Ann would have had the simpler, right out of the oven style hanging on her tree.
  • To keep your ornaments fresh, store in an air-tight container. If the scent fades, add a drop of scented oil to freshen.
  • Consider sharing with friends by attaching to presents or gift bags
  • Spare dough can be turned into round Scandinavian style snowflakes
  • Note: Although the ornaments are made with real food ingredients, they are NOT edible.


**All images courtesy of Stay and Roam Blog