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Scented Baking Soda Dough Ornaments – a step by step photo tutorial!

Introducing scented baking soda dough ornaments. Awhile back I did a post for Thanksgiving where I made some Rustic Thank You Cards and featured some homemade baking soda dough ornaments as part of the card craft. This craft I honestly whipped up last minute and it has since become one of the most shared posts and card crafts I have done to date.

So I finally set aside some time to write up how I make my baking soda dough ornaments and include an easy step by step photo tutorial, as I always appreciate that with any recipe – food or otherwise. I did a bit of an experiment with them at the same time and decided to see if I could add a scent to them for a little something extra. 

How to make Scented Baking Soda Dough Ornaments

What you’ll need:

Step 1

Mix Baking Soda, Corn Starch and water in a big pot on your stove on a Medium heat. I put my burner setting on 5.

Step 2

Keep mixing. In about a minute it will look like this.

At this point put in several drops of your Cinnamon Oil. I purchased this one at Bulk Barn but you can absolutely use your favorite essential oils in this. I did not discover essential oils until much later so if you can’t find any near you, a simple one from the food flavoring aisle will work just fine. 

Step 3

Keep mixing. It will start to boil and bubble at this point so you will need to scrape the sides of the pot well.

Step 4

Mix, mix, mix. In under 5 minutes, you should have a ball of steaming hot dough.

Step 5

Remove dough from pot and let it cool on a plate or bowl.

Step 6

Once dough is cooled, flatten and roll it out and use cookie cutters to make your ornaments.

Cute helper not included.

Step 7 

Let dry and you’re done your fancy scented baking soda dough ornaments!

Here are some tips when it comes to making these I have learned through trial and error

  1. LET THE DOUGH COOL. Things that are hot expand. Thus if you try to use the dough while it is warm, you are going to have a much harder time trying to cut out the shapes. It will be as fun as you trying to use cookie cutters on melted marshmallows.
  2. You will find the edges of the dough become crusty as it sits. Do not panic. Just knead it into the batch and you will be able to continue to use it without any issues.
  3. If you’re still having a hard time kneading and shaping the dough or find it sticking to your surface, sift some corn starch on your table and knead it into the dough. This will help make the dough more pliable. Sometimes I roll it out on parchment paper, other times I just roll it out directly over my kitchen table.
  4. When you let your ornaments dry, in order to avoid having wrinkled wax or parchment paper marks/lines on the backs of them (as the moisture from the dough will cause those types of paper to wrinkle), lay them out to dry on a flat solid surface. I use cookie trays. Usually it takes a minimum of 2-3 days for them to fully dry. I know many people choose to bake them in the oven to help them dry faster. I don’t do this because I don’t want to chance burning them or changing their color.
  5. After a day of drying, turn them over to allow the back sides of the ornaments to dry out and flatten out. The part laying on the surface will be moist so you need to flip it so that the underside can dry as well. Sometimes they can curve in at different angles if they sit on the same side the entire time so this helps the ornaments stay flat in their shape.
  6. Puncture your holes in the ornaments BEFORE they are dry. Yes I had to write that. You would be amazed at how that simple step is overlooked when you’re doing batches of these.
  7. This recipe will yield you approximately three, 10″ x 15″ cookie trays worth of ornaments.
  8. The biggest difference between this dough and traditional salt dough is the salt dough ones will be more cream colored in their appearance and rougher in their texture. Baking soda dough is pure white and much smoother.


I did these with two different scented oils.

One batch I made with clear imitation vanilla oil, the other was the tinted cinnamon oil above. The vanilla ones made with the clear oil darkened the dough overall a touch and yet the colored cinnamon oil left them pure white. Go figure.

The vanilla scented ones didn’t work or last nearly as well as the cinnamon ones. You could tell it smelled like vanilla but there was still a bit of the baking soda dough scent going on. And I used a LOT of vanilla.

But the cinnamon scented ones were amazing! The scent will be a tad overwhelming when they’re first made, but it will settle down afterwards.

I am using a lot of these for not only for our tree but for gift wrapping embellishments as well. It’s the idea of having that little kick of a little something extra, sort of like when you open a scented card.


I also made Wood Scented Ornaments that are even easier to make than these AND I share what happens to the colors when you use different scented oils.

Did I also mention my DIY Air Freshener – yes you can use this to scent wood and make an air freshener as well:

And this is the craft that started this all, the Thank You Cards:

Happy dough making everyone! I hope you love making your Scented Baking Soda Dough Ornaments as much as we do.

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  • Reply
    now at home mom
    November 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    these are very pretty Alex πŸ™‚ & yes, something I would like to try making with my little one πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      November 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Ingrid!! I miss you! I think this is totally something he would love to do. My younger daughter must have made her own versions of them for hours.

      • Reply
        now at home mom
        November 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        πŸ™‚ oh! thanks so much Alex!
        then I might try this with him this weekend, I already have the corn starch but I will use the vanilla oil because that’s all I have now. I will let you know how it goes πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This may be a dumb question, but our 8 year old loves to finger paint. So would we be able to do that with these?

    • Reply
      November 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Not a dumb question at all. As long as they are dry you can paint them, stamp them and embellish then all you’d like. My kids have even drawn on them with markers and pencil crayons. You can even add glitter after the dough is done when you knead it to make them sparkle (we did that last Christmas). Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Victoria β€’ Restoring our Victorian
    November 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I vaguely remember having some ornaments like that from when I was a kid. I guess we threw them away, because they were getting pretty mungy and gross, but they had a smell I still remember.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    You’re on a roll, lady! I love this and the scent of cinnamon is amazing πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Can you paint them?

    • Reply
      November 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      You can paint them, draw on them, glue embellishments on them, coat them with glitter etc. They feel like dried clay. My kids enjoy drawing on them with markers. I usually use my stamp set and stamp some.

  • Reply
    Marie Koontz
    November 22, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Just curious how fragile they are when dry? And what is the youngest age you would recommend for this craft? I’m a gramma and it looks like something fun to do with the grand kids.

    • Reply
      November 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      It depends on how thick you roll out the dough and that’s up to your discretion. And it also depends on your own Grandkids. πŸ™‚ My 3 year old last year never had any issues with them when she was 2, but if you drop them, like any ornament there is chance that it will break. Once they’re 3 + it’s an easy craft because at that point they listen to instructions like more reasonable little people.

  • Reply
    Inspire Me Heather
    November 22, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Thanks for your dough recipe and for the tips too, they do look great1

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    November 23, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Love these! Just the motivation I need to make some ornaments : ]

  • Reply
    Thalita @ The Learner Observer
    November 23, 2013 at 8:59 am

    These look amazing. You are a crafting maniac! I honestly want to make some of these, and the fact that they can be scented is even better!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

    i had to put at least 6 1/4 cups of get a dough texture… and did not use cinnamon oΓ―l but pure cinnamon powder…; wao do these gingerbread man dΓ©corations smell good , my whoe veranda smells like aple pie! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
    November 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    These have such a stunning finished look! Thanks for all the tips and tricks, too. Pinning for when I tackle these (noticed I said “when” and not “if”).

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    November 25, 2013 at 1:30 am

    I’m kinda pissed that somehow I missed your card post last year. They are seriously adorable! Thanks for sharing the how-to… I definitely want to try this for a craft night with friends.

    • Reply
      November 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Nah! That’s the best part of blogging. You do a seasonal craft and more people get to discover it each year.

  • Reply
    November 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Are they fragile at all? I would like to put them on Christmas presents that I have to ship and wondered if I should provide protection for them when wrapping several gifts in a big box.

    • Reply
      November 25, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Definitely treat them with care and like you would a clay ornament. If you’re shipping. wrap them up really well and definitely mark them as fragile. If you’re worried about them breaking, why not try wooden shaped tags instead? You can scent wood as well!

  • Reply
    November 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

    A wonderful project! Thanks for sharing your recipe Alex! Keep warm

  • Reply
    Maureen Watson.
    November 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Could you, or have you tried, oil of mint? I would think that would work too. Or oil of almond?

  • Reply
    Judy White
    November 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    These are cute!I was wondering if you’d completely forgotten to mention putting holes in them for hanging, but finally read that part.These are also easy to paint with acrylics or with spray paint,but I suggest adding a clear finish after they are done.They will last longer and will hold up for years.

  • Reply
    Charlotte Risner
    November 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I dipped mine in wax … Made them looked like they were glazed … I did a tree for my kitchen with these ,stringed cranberries & popcorn garland , tied cinnamon sticks ,I had a giant gingerbread cookie cutter so I made two with holes in hands tied them with cute ribbon as a topper ….not only looks good it smells delicious … I had lights on the tree also ..everyone that has seen it loves it … Thanks for the recipes

  • Reply
    November 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    ohhhh must do some of these with my granddaughter, she is six so will enjoy it.
    have to ask though being in uk, is your cornstarch our cornflour, and you used cinnemon oil flavour, is that different from flavouring/essence or is it better to use essential oil, or as in another post the powder.

    • Reply
      November 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Hi Tracy! I checked with my blogging friend Alex over at Hydrangea Girl who lives in Ireland she said yes cornstarch is the same as cornflour over on your side of the pond. Have fun!

      • Reply
        November 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

        thank you for your reply. will get supplies and hopefully do this weekend xxx

  • Reply
    Tara @ Suburble
    November 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Simple and beautiful!

    Tell me – you can paint these, right?

    I think that the girls and I are going to attempt these this weekend!

  • Reply
    Lisa M.
    November 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Awesome! I just found the perfect parent Christmas present project for my kindergarten class! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I love these, Alex. I had pinned a similar ornament last year that I had intended to make for gift tags. No tutorial, though. Now I have yours and the cards that you originally made with stamped lettering- thanx.
    Could you clarify a bit on the stamping? You stamp them once dry? Using regular stamp ink, I presume? And how about the metal stamps- did you stamp those before the clay dried so that it imprinted the letters? And did you use stamp ink on the metal stamps, too?
    Sorry for inquisition but I would love to make these with the kids this year- just so cute.

    • Reply
      November 29, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Yes the original ones that I made with the words stamped on them, I stamped after they were dry using a regular dye ink pad and a stamp set. For some I even used my metal stamp set and the ink pad but you can use either.

      If you want imprinted stamps, then do it before they are dry. HTH!

      • Reply
        November 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

        thanks Alex. I will have to give these a go. Not sure if the ink will smudge if I want to imprint them before drying. But I will have to do a few trials to see what I get.
        appreciate the reply!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2013 at 1:28 am

    These are so sweet

  • Reply
    December 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    where do you find the oil to make them smell.

    • Reply
      December 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      I purchased this one at our local Bulk Barn store.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Scented! Yes!! Pretty sure one or both of my kiddos would attempt to eat them, but hey, a little cornstarch never killed anyone πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      December 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Your comment needs its own Like button! LOL

  • Reply
    December 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Where did you find the tree cookie cutter?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      I picked this one up at Bulk Barn.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Is baking soda the same as bicarbonate of soda, we have baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in uk?

    • Reply
      December 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda. Baking Powder however contains bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. They are two different products. I recommend you Google the differences for the products available in your market to make sure you are purchasing the same item as I am very unfamiliar with UK products.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    The dough I made is just crumbling apart it’s not staying together

    • Reply
      December 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      Sorry to hear that! The only thing I can think of is that maybe you let it sit too long and it dried out too much before you could knead it thoroughly. I sometimes have the opposite issue where it’s too melted marshmallow like hence why I recommend sifting corn starch over the surface you roll it out on. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      • Reply
        December 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm

        Wonder if I left it on the heat too long? At what point are you supposed to put it on the plate because some of it was still “wet” but some of it was super brittle and crumbly? I also used the scented oil you burn, maybe it’s not oily enough? What are your thoughts?

        • Reply
          December 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

          Definitely take it off the pot before it gets crumbly. It should still look like the consistency of play dough when you put it on a plate or a really, really thick butter cream type of icing. That’s why the mixing part is important to keep the consistency the same or else it can burn (the whole process on the stove is no more than 5 minutes). The only parts that may become crumbly would be the inside lining of the pot of your stove from the residue of the dough batch or the exterior of the dough if you let it sit on the plate too long. Very similar to if you had any dough that you were baking cookies with and just let it air dry, the outside of a batch will get dry and the inside should be more moist if you don’t cover it up. Or if you left out playdough. I usually start making ornaments within the first 10-15 mins of it being set on the plate as it doesn’t take that long too cool at all. Mind you if you have any little kids using it, check the insides when you separate the batch to roll it out and make sure it’s not too hot for their little hands. I have never made it with a burner oil so I can’t speak about the crumbliness factor using that type. I was actually thinking when I tried with the oil that it may make it harder to mold but surprisingly using 2 different oils didn’t change any of the consistency, just changed the scent. Hope that helps some!

  • Reply
    Sol de Dezembro
    November 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Wow! This is such a great idea!
    Thank you

  • Reply
    Kristine V
    November 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    How do you store the leftover dough, please?

    • Reply
      November 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      You can keep it in an air right container but I wouldn’t suggest doing it for a long time as the colour and consistency may change. I’ll be honest that I usually use up the entire batch when we make our annual ornaments but I have used this as a homemade playdoh recipe and having sealed it in a ziplock, definitely not longer than a couple of days.

  • Reply
    Cindy Fordyce
    November 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Hi I just make a few yesterday. Another site says to leave them in the fridge over night.. But when I checked on them they were still too soft and one piece broke off. Did I do something wrong. I might need a little more water, or I didn’t let it bubble long enough. Any tips would be great. Thanks so much. Cindy Fordyce

    • Reply
      November 7, 2016 at 10:25 am

      I wouldn’t put them in the fridge. If anything that would cause them to become wetter when you take them out due to the temperature changes. Sometimes people prefer to bake them to help them dry out but I don’t do that because I don’t want to chance them changing colour or burning. I mention in my notes that they do take a minimum of 2-3 days to dry (sometimes more depending on your temperature inside your home) and that you need to lay them a flat surface as the side that is on the ‘ground’ will be moister than the side facing up. So you do need to flip them daily to thoroughly dry on both sides. We usually make a batch and then let them dry out for almost a full week (so do the project one weekend and then decorate and paint them the next). Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Theraisa K
    November 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    How many years do these keep for? Like if I made them this year, stored them in the basement or other area of the house, will they be usable next year?

    • Reply
      November 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I’ve had ours for several years now. The scent has tapered off since then but in terms of their stability and shape, everything is fine and they’re holding up perfectly. So if you want to make a memento, for sure it would be ok.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Do you need to store them in a warm place.

    • Reply
      November 26, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Not at all. Once they are dried (fully dried) you can put them in a tupperware container or a ziplock bag and call it a day. I keep ours in a ziplock bag in the basement in a giant rubber storage bin.

  • Reply
    Anh P
    December 31, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Hi Alex. Thank you for this amazing post. Can I use other kinds of oil for scent? Like lavender or tea tree oil? I have them around now but not cinnamon. ???? I’ve never done clay before so am now really excited to try.

    • Reply
      January 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Hi there! Sorry for my late reply. My phone app doesn’t allow me to do right now. You can use other scents for sure! Not all will smell the same after they dry. Some of the ones that are more Citrusy and sharper in nature, tend to last longer (i.e. orange, lemongrass, peppermint). I tried Vanilla and it was disappointing but orange was phenomenal! Hope that helps.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I loved this. We used a cup to make circles then pressed lavender mint and rosemary cuttings from our garden on them. My 2 year old had a ball and was so proud giving his own gifts to family and friends .

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