Really Simple "Clay" Recipe
I first experimented homemade ornaments as a child. It was my mother's idea (of course), and I remember my brother and I having a lot of fun with it. She made the dough and brought out Christmas shaped cookies cutters and paint for decorating. That was an interesting tree. Some of the ornaments may still be in the attic somewhere. They aren't the prettiest things, but it's the memory that counts.
Fast forward over a decade. Last Christmas was my first back home since high school. While I was gone, my parents had splurged on a small tree to go in my little space. I had the idea to make my own ornaments instead of finding nice ones. It was a pretty fun little project, and when I had the idea to make necklaces this year, I thought back to said ornaments.
This dough works for many things, really, and it's really easy to make and mold. I used the first recipe I found and tweaked it a bit.
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Mix all your ingredients in a bowl until they form a dough. Use your hands to make sure everything is mixed completely. Roll the dough out and mold whatever you'd like. If you're making beads or ornaments, don't forget the holes! Stick them on a cookie sheet (I'd recommend with parchment paper), and bake for roughly two hours (you be the judge, but baking longer seems to make them retain their shape pretty well) at 325 F (165 C).
When you're done, paint them if you'd like (acrylic works fine), and let them dry completely before finishing with a clear spray varnish. Let the varnish dry completely. And a pro tip: if you have pets, keep these away from them until they're finished, maybe even after. They seem to think you've made them actual edible cookies.