Friday, March 9, 2012

D I Y: Hand-Stamped Accents

Salt dough crafts, DIY, stamped salt dough, hand stamped crafts, personalized crafts, ring bearer bowl, DIY, wedding DIY, Catholic wedding planning, Catholic wedding blog, Catholic brides

Seriously, who doesn't wish she could go back to her Play-Doh days?  It's got neon colors, the perfect texture, gadgets that pump out pasta shapes and hairstyles, and that smell that just makes you want to eat it.  

Behold the all-grown-up version: using just a few regular kitchen items and super versatile alphabet stamps, you can turn out an easy salt dough just waiting to be made into bouquet tags, place cards, a ring bearer bowl, and more.  One recipe produces tons of accessories for your Mass and reception, dries to a nice ivory shade that matches any color scheme, and, best of all, can be fully customized with your names or words you love.  The only thing missing is that addictive scent, but come on, look at everything you get for the tradeoff.

You'll need: 1 cup table salt, 2 cups flour (bleached looks the nicest, but use whatever you've got), cookie cutters, a drinking glass, alphabet rubber stamps (you can find these at craft stores for under $10), a rolling pin, baking sheets, parchment paper, and a chopstick or skewer.  Other than stamps, get creative with anything that can make an impression in the dough.  I also used seashells,  a Rosary (plastic since things get a little sticky), and a few Saint medals.

To make the dough, combine the salt, flour, and water in a big bowl and stir.  You can do this by hand or, if you're feeling a little lazy, a stand mixer.  You registered for one, right?

When you're done mixing, the dough should be smooth and pliable.  Don't worry if it seems on the dry side- if it's too wet, it'll be too hard to work with.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  I found out the hard way that this is important!  If it's too thick, the dough will puff up as it dries, which can obscure all of your stamped handiwork.

Now comes the fun part.  Using cookie cutters and drinking glasses, cut shapes from the dough.  

With the stamps and other materials, go to town inscribing the shapes with your names, sweet nothings, or phrases from the order of the liturgy and your wedding readings.  Don't be afraid to press hard, since the impressions lessen a little as the dough dries.  When you're finished, carefully transfer each shape to a glass baking dish.  If you find the words get a little distorted by all the handling, try placing each shape in the dish first and then stamping it.  To make your shapes stringable, poke holes using a chopstick.

I told you that was the fun part.  Now for the being patient part.  You can either let these babies air dry, which takes about three days, or bake them at 200 degrees for six hours.  You'll know they're ready when they lift easily from the baking dishes.

Can you believe your kitchen is able to produce so much beauty?  Here's a few ideas for your salt dough tags:
  • String a ribbon through a small cutout and tie it onto your bouquet.  Stamping it with his and your initials (with your last name to-be, of course) is such a pretty, romantic touch.
  • Make place cards for your guests that they'll be happy to take home.  This is, admittedly, a pretty huge task, so enlist your bridesmaids for some stamping action.  Alternatively, set them out at your rehearsal dinner instead, which will likely have a smaller crowd.
  • Tie tags onto baskets for programs, favors, and cards.
This is my absolute favorite idea: use a larger cutout to hold your rings during Mass.  Think of it as a more personal, more permanent ring bearer pillow that you can use later as a jewelry dish.  There's one below at the bottom left, and one at the top of this post- your engagement ring makes a gorgeous, memorable stamp, too.  To make one, gently bend your chosen cutout around a clean jar (think spaghetti sauce jar) after about 8 hours of air-dry time or 15 minutes in the oven.  Let it finish drying wrapped around the jar, which will give it a nice curve to hold your bling.

If there's a simpler, prettier, more affordable way to customize your wedding, I would like to know what it is. 

What words inspire you?

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