Salt dough has been a go-to craft for hundreds of years since it only requires basic household ingredients and the final product lasts for years (the salt acts as a preservative).
The dough is typically made with a basic mix of flour, table salt and water and pieces are either shaped by hand or rolled out and cut with cookie cutters.
They can be baked in a low oven or left to air dry for a few days. Once fully cured, they can be painted and decorated in any number of ways.
Although the ornaments may have a reputation for being a tad primitive, you’d be surprised at how a little extra finesse will give gorgeous results that your family will treasure for generations.
If you’d like to give this craft a try, I’ve put together a master tip sheet filled with recipes, instructions and assorted DIY inspo.
First a few quick tips:
- If you don’t use all the dough in one sitting, wrap it well with plastic or place in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator (will keep for a couple days).
- Adding Color: Mix food coloring with the water before adding to dry ingredients. You can also add tint once the batch has been kneaded and is of the right consistency, add a few drops of food coloring until you reach the shade of choice.
- White: add some white acrylic paint to the dough before rolling it out (mix well to fully incorporate).
- Faux Gingerbread: 1/4 cup cinnamon + 1 TBS powdered ginger (adjust as desired).
- If some pieces browned or came out uneven, a light coat of white spray paint will make them all uniform again.
- Custom shapes can be achieved by making your own cookie cutters (see How To Make Cookie Cutters + More). Free templates included on that page: Reindeer, Angel, Sleigh.
- Add depth & dimension with fork tongs, toothpicks, doilies, greenery (pine tips, cedar, acorns), patterned glass, cookie stamps, puffy paints.
- Tools to create holes for hanging: Bamboo skewer, chopstick, straw.
- To seal pieces, both Mod Podge & white glue work great. If you want the ornaments shiny, a final coat or two of Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer or polyurethane spray will do the trick.
- Do not rush the process, ensure items have time to fully cure and dry before applying final sealers.
- To add scent, try sprinkling in a bit of cinnamon or a few drops of a festive essential oil (peppermint or orange for example).
- Wrapping pieces in wax paper & packing in a large biscuit tin is an ideal way to store ornaments safely.
|Recipe #1||Recipe #2||Recipe #3||Recipe #4|
|1 cup flour|
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup salt
2/3 cup water
|1 cup table salt|
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
|3 cups flour|
1 1/2 cups salt
1 1/2 cups water
- Mix dry ingredients together then slowly add the water (warm).
- Knead for approximately 10 minutes to form a stiff ball. If it’s sticky or the ball spreads as it rests, add more flour. If it’s too crumbly, add a spoonful of water at a time until the right consistency is achieved.
- After shaping into crafts, allow to set for a day before baking (see below).
|This one’s a little different than the others, mix all ingredients together minus the flour, then slowly incorporate flour (mixing well each time). Knead until smooth.|
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- You can allow dough to air-dry for a few days or bake on a cookie sheet in a slow oven (200°F) for several hours until done (they will sound light when tapped).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling.
Assorted Projects & Crafts
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Christmas Ornaments & Winter Holiday Theme
Snowflakes, Christmas trees, stars, gingerbread shapes…lots here to choose from. These will make beautiful ornaments to hang from the tree or to add as sweet handmade gift toppers.
Many similar projects in this batch but I’m including them to give ideas for color themes & design inspiration. I love how simple elements such as seeds & spices can make a piece extra lovely.
Assorted Holidays (Valentine’s Day, Halloween, St. Patrick’s)
A few ideas for holidays throughout the year.