Make memories with your kids by making an array of wonderful keepsakes or ornaments with our salt dough recipe and tips.
It’s super easy to learn how to make salt dough, read through the recipe and start making your first batch right away as we are almost certain you already have all that you need in your kitchen pantry.
While salt dough projects are most popular just around Christmas (who doesn’t love a pretty keepsake or ornament made with a hand print), crafty project with salt dough can be made all year round.
We will go beyond just sharing the dough recipe, you’ll also find some tried and true tips and tricks to help you make the best salt dough ever, each and every time, that just might last you for years to come. Plus dozens of ideas to help you with decorating your own – from hand print keepsakes to “evergreen” ideas to make all year round.
I remember making these ornaments with my mother for Christmas. We made the most adorable cinnamon gingerbread men (they smelled amazing and oh so Christmasy).
I do admit I was a bit mind boggled as to why we can’t eat these cookies, but loved them way more than I did “the eating kind”. The sense of pride when I saw my DIY ornament can not be described with words. And it lasted for years!
How to Make Salt Dough – the Super Easy Recipe
To make the dough you will need the following ingredients:
- flour (1 cup)
- salt (1/2 cup)
- water – lukewarm (1/4 to 1/2 cup – start with 1/4 and add more if needed)
- parchment paper
cookie cutters (optional)
Mix flour and salt.
This is important! Slowly add water, mix well as you ad it – don’t just pour in all water at once.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until you get a even doughy consistency. Dough should not be sticky!
Roll the dough (ideally to 1/4 inch) and make your keepsakes or ornaments.
Once the dough is rolled you can use cookie cutters to make a variety of shapes.
Or use your hand as a stencil for a wonderful handprint keepsake.
If you are making an ornament for hanging, be sure to poke a hole (you can use a straw) before baking the dough.
Dry / bake, color, seal (optional).
How do you cook salt dough? How long do you put salt dough in the oven?
Now that you learned how to make salt dough, it’s time to bake it. As with all recipes that require baking in the oven, your oven is a factor and could need a temperature and bake time that’s a bit different than what works for me (a bread I baked following my mother in laws recipe to the point – her family recipe – that turned black (severely burned) is a great evidence.
I suggest checking in how things are going when you are making your fist batch.
What I do recommend is baking at about 200 degrees F / 100 degrees Celsius. Bake for an hour and check. Turn the ornaments, bake for another hour. If the dough isn’t dry yet, bake for another hour and check.
Can you put salt dough in the microwave?
Yes you absolutely can! Place the dough keepsake or ornament in the microwave and heat for 15 seconds. Repeat. Then heat for 20 seconds. Repeat until the dough is dry (this depends on dough thickness – around 6 rounds will usually do).
How about air dry?
If your kids have that kind of patience, yes you can. But the dough has to be thin to air dry and it will take several days for it to completely dry out. It has to be stored in a dry place so that it does not mold.
How do I keep my salt dough from puffing up?
You followed the dough recipe, were excited to make your ornaments and then, when they came out of the oven they were all puffed up. It can happen. Why does this happen? Some flours will raise a bit (be sure to use plain flour, using self raising flour by accident has been known to happen ;). Also make sure you dry your ornaments on low temperatures in the oven – if the suggested temperature didn’t work out, use lower temperature and dry them longer or leave them to air dry.
How do you color salt dough? What do you paint them with?
You can color the dough as soon as it’s hardened / dry. A variety of colors can be use, acrylic are best in my opinion as they are really durable. The more colors the more fun.
You can also use glitter – apply modge podge (or a homemade alternative) or glue on areas you want to glitter up and pour glitter on.
How do you seal salt dough?
Your dough needs to be completely dry / baked before you can seal it.
If you painted them with acrylic paints, they do the job of sealing to some level, if you want to take it a bit further it’s best to use craft sealer. Modge podge works great as a sealer and you can also buy craft varnish (glossy or mat) to seal dough.
On its own will last up for a long time without sealing too, if you handle it properly! Sealing will add a nice look to them though, especially if you want them to be glossy.
How long can you keep salt dough ornaments? Tips to getting them last decades!
Not kidding! Your dough can easily last for decades. The key is to keep it away from getting damp. If you store them in dry areas (you can store them in a box and add silica packets – those small packets you usually get in shoe boxes or in handbags as those keep the dampness at bay).
What can you make out of salt dough? Oh do we have a few ideas for you!
So now you know how to make dough but need ideas on what to make with dough. Worry not we got you covered.
You are ready!
We are sure you will make the best batch now and that the end result will be amazing. Happy crafting.