DIY Christmas Ornaments: Salt Dough Quail

My parents feed the quail and I always enjoy seeing the quail running around the neighborhood.  I made these quail ornaments for my dad.  The ornaments are made out of salt dough (just like the DIY Hummingbird Ornaments and DIY Snowflake Ornaments I posted earlier).

Quail Ornaments

To make the quail ornaments I sketched the outline of a quail onto a piece of cardboard from an old gift box.  I cut out the cardboard quail to use as a template.

I mixed together 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup salt.  I measured one tablespoon of lemon juice into a one cup measuring cup and filled the remainder of the cup with warm water. I added the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stirred until a dough formed.  I turned the dough out onto a flour surface and kneaded the dough until smooth.

On a sheet of parchment paper, I used a rolling pin to roll out a scoop of dough until it was approximately 1/4 inch thick.  (I placed the dough that I was not working with in a zip lock bag to keep it from drying out .)  I placed my cardboard template on top of the rolled out dough and traced around the template with a steak knife to cut out the ornament.  I used a bamboo stick to make a hole in the dough for a string to hang the ornament. To help keep the ornament’s shape, I removed the excess dough without moving the ornament from the parchment paper.

I repeated these steps to make an additional ornament. I wanted the plume on the female to be smaller and was having trouble getting it right using the dough so I just cut it off.

I then transferred the ornaments and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. I baked the ornaments in the oven for about 4 hours at 175 degrees Fahrenheit.  I flipped the ornaments approximately every 30 minutes. I then let the ornaments sit on the counter for about a week to dry.

Quai ornamentsThe edges of the ornaments were a bit rough so I sanded the edges of the ornament until smooth using a nail file.

Quail ornamentsI painted the ornaments with acrylic paint. I painted a small piece of dried salt dough for the feather and glued it on using superglue.

Quail ornamentsI then sprayed the ornaments with two coats of acrylic gloss paint on each side, letting the ornaments dry between coats.

Quail Ornaments

I hung the ornaments on sliver embroidery floss.  These ornaments are not edible!

To make the ornaments I used the following:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Warm water
  • Cardboard
  • Acrylic paint
  • Knife
  • Nail file
  • Acrylic spray (gloss)
  • Silver embroidery thread
  • Parchment paper


This is the sixth set of ornaments that I have made this year; earlier I blogged about my snowflake ornaments, clothespin star ornaments, twine ball ornaments, clothespin reindeer ornaments, and hummingbird ornaments.

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