Saturday, 29 November 2014

Advent Candlestick

This weekend I want to show you one of my Christmas crafts to make December a little more personal. I made a advent canlestick out of "salt dough" forming it like a braid and decorated it with typically "Christmas-things" like gingerbread heart, trees and presents. My thought was to place one thing for each candle until you reach Christmas (and sometimes the 4th advent is the 24th of December and that is the "big celebration day" in Sweden. 
1st advent candle 1 = Gingerbread
2nd advent candle 2 = Christmas trees
3d advent candle 3 = Lucia crown (13th of December)
4th advent candle 4 = Christmas presents

On this picture homemade saffron buns - it does not get more Christmas than that! 

Recipe for the "salt dough"
2 deciliter salt (as fine as possible)
3 deciliter water
3 teaspoons ordinary cooking oil
6 deciliter flour

Mix salt, water, oil and flour and stirr until you get a smooth dough. Be careful when adding the flour little by little and feel with your hands so the dough does not get dry. Now the dough is ready to work with!

If the dough is too dry your things may get a cracked surface so it is important that you add more water to the dough if that happens. You can also put water on your fingertips and gently rubb the surface and the cracks will get smoother.
I wanted to make the braid look like bread so I brushed the braid surface with beaten egg. 

When you are happy with the things you have created it is time to dry them so they get hard so you then eventually can color them. This advent candlestick took a long time to get really dry, I think I put it in the oven on 80 Celcius (don't use higher temperature because it can cause the dough to crack) for 8 hours because it is quite thick. I also used a oven with convection.

To make the braid I used about 3/4 of the dough and used 1/4 for the small things on top.
I bought light cuffs from my craft store and I pushed them into braid before drying it in the oven.
When the candlestick was dry I painted the small things with acrylic paint, I like the texture of acrylic paint because it covers very well and you don't need to use chemicals to clean your brush.
When the paint is dry you should varnish all surfaces to get a nice shiny finish and to protect against liquids (salt dough can not withstand water). I used a semi-gloss waterbased varnish from Panduro Hobby (click on the name to get to their English homepage!)

To make the knobbly surface of the trees and the Lucia crown I used a tweezer.

Here is the candlestick ready to go into the oven.To secure the trees I put a toothpick into them and pushed into the braid for support. But you can see in next picture that one tree bend down a bit anyway.

Here it is dry and ready to be painted. 
You can see that the braid has a bit more yellow surface because of the egg.

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