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Cinnamon Bird Ornament

Although these whimsical birds look and smell like gingerbread cookies, their sparkling plumage hints at their true nature as sweet (though not edible) works of art. 




This sturdy flock -- including a cardinal and chickadee, among other birds -- will migrate each Christmas to decorate the tree. 


  • Two medium bowls
  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • Craft glue
  • Rolling pin
  • Bird templates
  • Utility knife, or bird-shaped cookie cutters
  • One straw
  • Wire rack
  • Paper towels
  • Baking sheet
  • Glitter and beads
  • Bottle with applicator tip
  • Length of thin ribbon for each ornament
  • Tissue paper, for storing


  1. Step 1


    Prepare dough: in a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup applesauce using a rubber spatula.

  2. Step 2


    Stir in 1/2 cup craft glue. Stir the dough until consistency is smooth and dry. Let stand 1 hour. Applesauce gives the dough pliability, glue makes it firm, and cinnamon imparts a lovely fragrance and a gingerbread color.

  3. Step 3


    Turn out one-quarter of dough onto a cool, flat surface; flatten with your hands.

  4. Step 4


    Flatten with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick. If dough becomes too dry, spritz with water. If it sticks to rolling pin or work surface, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

  5. Step 5


    Photocopy bird templates onto card stock (these are enlarged roughly 150 percent); cut them out, punching holes where indicated. Lay a template over dough; cut out shape with a utility knife (or use bird-shaped cookie cutters). Repeat with each of three remaining quarters of dough.

  6. Step 6


    With a straw, poke a hole in dough as indicated on template (for hanging). Air-dry ornaments on a wire rack lined with paper towels for 24 hours, turning them over every 6 hours or so to keep them flat. Alternatively, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer ornaments to a baking sheet; bake, flipping once, until dry, about 2 hours. Once the dough has dried completely, adorn the birds with markings inspired by nature or your imagination. As you decorate, proceed from the finest embellishment to the coarsest, adding glitter, then beads in order of size.

  7. Step 7


    Using a bottle with an applicator tip, spread craft glue over the area you wish to decorate.

  8. Step 8


    While glue is still wet, sprinkle with glitter or beads, holding ornament over a bowl as you work; tap off excess.

  9. Step 9


    Wait for the first area to dry completely (at least 30 minutes) before repeating steps 7 and 8 on another section. Thread a length of ribbon through ornament's hole, trim the ends to prevent fraying, and knot. Once you take the ornaments off the tree, store them, wrapped individually in tissue paper, in a cool, dry place.



Reviews (5)

  • honofufu 30 Nov, 2014

    well, I love making these, made these just about every single year, but I don't like how long they take to dry. but I guess I can't complain. Because they smell AMAZING!!!

  • jayno06 15 Dec, 2013

    I've made these every year with my kids since they were 1- except I use their hands as a template (I got the idea from the Martha Stewart Hand Cookie recipe). I love putting them on the tree every Christmas and seeing how their little hands have grown over the years.

  • OldMomInAShoe6 28 Mar, 2013

    I started making these when my 6 children were small. I used all different size Gingerbread cookie cutters(boys and girls). I also added Chrstmas Trees of different sizes also. Each child decorated their own. For children I found Paint Pens easy and flexible for small hands. The "Gingerbread Family" decorated the Kitchen Tree. Now I make these with my Inner City Special Education Kids every year. I have never baked mine and I have some that are 15 years old.I will try the baking tip.

  • haimowitza 24 Nov, 2012

    I'd love to make these as gifts. However, the article didn't specify the best type of paint to use for these ornaments.. I don't want to use glitter much, if at all, to decorate these. I'd prefer to paint them colorfully. Could you recommend a paint type, please? Thanks!

  • hairbychrispatton 20 Oct, 2012

    We made these when I was a child, and they're amazing! I can't wait to make these again with a new twist!. Thank you.