Friday, March 6, 2009

Heart Welcome Hangers

As the conclusion to our February love theme, the boys and I created this heart-shaped Welcome sign. I saw a wooden equivalent on Target's website just before Valentine's Day, and I thought it would be the perfect decoration to hang from the plant hook in our red heart-themed kitchen.

To make the hanger, we started by mixing up some simple play dough using 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1 cup of water. (I used course sea salt, since I had some on hand that we probably won't use, but I don't recommend using course salt unless you want a textured finished product.) After making heart shapes in the dough with cookie cutters, we poked a hole through each one with a straw. We then baked them at 325 degrees for an hour or two until they were thoroughly dry and hard. The cookie-like creations looked almost good enough to eat, but I would not recommend attempting it! (However, Hayden did eat as much uncooked dough as I would allow him to - apparently the extreme saltiness didn't bother him!)

I used acrylic craft paint to paint the hearts red and add letters, then covered with a clear glaze to protect against moisture and mold. (Another option is to add food coloring to the water before mixing the play dough in order to have colored dough.) After weaving some fishing line through the holes, we had a lovely hanger! If I make these again in the future, I might try inserting the string lengthwise before baking, since getting the letters to dangle nicely was a bit tricky. Overall, this is a great project for parents and children to do together, and would make a nice gift idea (how about spelling a child's name, or a word like "love"?). And of course, the play dough cut-outs make perfect Christmas ornaments, too!

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