A very long time ago I bought a handmade ceramic Nativity set. Every year when I unpack it, it feels like an old friend who has come back home.
I remember long ago when our sons’ small hands touched the figures and placed them in the Christmas-tree shaped manger. They would secretly place pieces of pine straw in the manger, to fill Baby Jesus’ bed on Christmas Day.
One of our now grown children made a simple wooden Nativity set when he was in elementary school. When I look at it today, I have to ask myself, “How could time go by so quickly?”
But one of my favorite Nativity sets was made by two of our grands. I saw it sitting in their kitchen windowsill and just had to snap a picture. Their mom had helped them make it out of salt dough. You might want to make a Nativity like this with your family.
Salt Dough Recipe (from squidoo.com)
- Blend 2 cups plain flour and 2 cups fine table salt in a bowl.
- Mix 1 tbsp vegetable oil with 1 cup lukewarm water.
- Add 1 tbsp wallpaper paste. (The wallpaper paste is optional … you can also substitute it with white wood glue.)
Add liquid to dry ingredients, stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon (or use your hands) to form dough. Turn out the dough on to your work surface until it is smooth and pliable. The dough should be reasonably firm so that the models keep their shape … and when you are done, get ready for play time!
Keep the salt dough covered in a plastic container or a plastic bag while you are working to prevent it from drying out. Salt dough can easily be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
Notes: If the dough appears to be dry, you can add a little water or if it sticks to your hands, add a little more flour. Also, you can use egg white or water to attach different parts to each other. Use a small brush to make it easier.
Roll tinfoil into balls or shapes as desired, cover with the salt dough and finish shaping. This will speed up baking/drying time and prevent shrinkage as well as big cracks in the salt dough models.
Do you have a Nativity in your home that brings back special memories. Have you ever made a Nativity set out of salt dough?
Post and photo © 2011, 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.