So here is how to make the bones. I made them out of salt dough -you know, the stuff you probably made some cute Christmas ornaments out of as a kid. I actually had lots of fun experimenting with this -I felt like a kid playing with Play Doh... makes me miss my sculpture class and playing with clay.... but I digress.
The problem was that there are so many recipes for salt dough out there. This is the one I used:
Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1 cup warm water. Stir in 3 cups flour (one cup at a time).
It's kind of a combination of a recipe I found in a Better Homes and Gardens Bird Buddies (kid crafts) book and one I found online. The BH&G book said to bake at 325 F for 40-50 minutes, but another one said to do it at 250 F. I opted for the lower temp just because I didn't want them to bubble or brown. I think I ended up baking them for 80-90 minutes and turning them every 15 minutes (yes, I am a little paranoid sometimes...don't judge).
Here's the dough. It was a little softer and had a nicer texture than other salt dough I have worked with. I like dissolving the salt in the water first, rather than mixing dry ingredients first and then adding water.
So, first take a chunk and roll it into a "snake".
Cut pieces your desired length.
Now comes the experimenting. I made the bones 3 different ways. I will show you the two I did NOT like as well first and then the way I found best.
Roll a small ball.
And a second one...
then squish them together a bit and onto the "snake". I found it hard to get rid of the cracks and make it look good.
Roll out a ball. Pinch it in the middle a bit and fold up the ends (it will look kind of heart shaped).
Attach it to the "snake".
Method #3: The Winner
Roll out a ball. Then roll the middle section back and forth with your finger.
Fold the ends up to make a heart shape.
Then make a hole in the bottom of the "heart". I used a piece of spaghetti.
Poke it into the bottom (about a 1/4 inch) and wiggle it back and forth to make kind of a pocket.
Like the picture above.
Make the end of the "snake" pointed, like this.
Get a small paintbrush and some water. Use the brush to put some water (not TOO much) on the end of the "snake" and in the "pocket".
Put the end of the "snake" into the "pocket" and push the heart shaped part onto the snake. Smooth out the edges/cracks. You can use a bit more water if that helps.
Repeat for the other side of the bone.
I poked a hole all the way through on the sides right below the base of the knobby parts of the bone using spaghetti again. Some of these worked to tie them onto the wreath, but some closed up while baking. Not a big deal though, using the clear jewelry cord you don't notice it too much if you have to tie around the bones either.
Or try making different shapes too.
And expect your hands to look severely dehydrated and crusty after -ick! Can you say moisturizer?
Bake your creations on a cookie sheet until dry and hard. Or you could try leaving them to dry (it would take a long time though).
Then paint them white or off white. I used gesso... mostly because it dries quickly and I am impatient and don't like to sit around waiting forever for the first coat to dry before I can do a second coat. And also I thought it might help to seal them a bit to protect them.
Now on to Part 3... After I catch my breath (was that a long winded post? Or does it just seem that way to me?)