How to Make Salt Dough
– Step 1: Salt Dough Recipe
– Step 2: Color the salt dough in the mass (optional)
– Step 3: Shape the salt dough
– Step 4: Harden the salt dough
– Step 5: Paint and varnish the salt dough objects
For young children and older artists alike, salt dough is a quick and inexpensive material to make, using elements that belong in every kitchen: flour and salt. Malleable, it hardens by air-drying or baking and allows you to make many creative objects.
Follow our explanations to make the salt dough at home.
1. Recipe for salt dough
You can find the essential ingredients for the salt dough in your kitchen:
– one glass of salt,
– two glasses of flour,
– one glass filled ¾ with water.
Mix the ingredients:
– Pour the flour and salt into a bowl and mix the two ingredients.
– Add the water.
– Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
– If the resulting dough seems crumbly and not smooth enough, add a little water. If the dough sticks to your fingers, add a little flour.
– Knead the dough until it is smooth and shape it into a ball.
– To store the salt dough, put it in an airtight box at room temperature (not in the refrigerator).
2. Color the salt dough in the mass (optional)
Colouring the salt dough in the mass is optional. It is OK to use the salt dough and paint it after it has hardened.
However, if you want to colour the salt dough in the mass:
– Flatten your dough ball and separate it into several “dough pieces”.
– Place each piece of dough on a piece of aluminum foil.
– Carefully add 1 to 3 drops of food colouring and knead the dough until the colour is uniform.
– Add a little more colouring if necessary.
– Mix the dyes to make new colours.
3. Shape the salt dough
The possibilities for using salt dough are endless, from the first modelling projects done by very young children to the masterpieces of true artists. However, if you’re aiming for the finely crafted masterpieces category, cold porcelain may be a better alternative for you.
Tip: If you plan to bake them, shape your salt dough items on a piece of aluminum foil so they’re ready to go in the oven.
Here are some simple suggestions for using salt dough: – Have your kids make little balls with holes in them: these are perfect beads for a necklace.
– Roll out the dough with a rolling pin (or a glass bottle) and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Don’t forget to punch a hole in the dough to hang them on the Christmas tree or Easter tree later.
– Make three strands of dough and braid them. Arrange the braid in a crown, seal the ends with a bit of water and smooth the wet dough with your fingertip. With the base of a thin candle, make four evenly spaced holes in the wreath: this is your future Advent wreath.
– Shape elements to play dinner party: cupcakes, bread, tarts, fruits, vegetables, chops, etc.
Note: If you need to glue elements together, use a little water and press lightly to assemble the elements. If the items to be glued are large, assemble them with a toothpick frame before gluing them.
4. Harden the salt dough
Once you have shaped your salt-dough objects, you must harden the dough.
Air-dry small, smaller, or flat items can be air-dried: let them dry without touching them until they harden completely (about 1 day or more, depending on size).
Bake thick items in the oven
Larger items require baking in the oven.
Before baking, salt dough items should ideally be allowed to air dry for 12 hours to avoid cracking. However, skip this step if your children have made objects that they can’t wait to handle!
To fire in the oven, proceed as follows:
– Transfer your baking items (still arranged on foil) to a baking sheet.
– Only bake subjects of similar size and thickness in the same batch.
– Start baking in a low oven (70°C) and gradually increase the temperature to a maximum of 120°C.
Check the dough’s hardening: the baking can last from 1 hour (small items) to 5 hours and more for the biggest items.
5. Paint and varnish the salt dough objects
Once the salt dough objects have hardened, you can paint them using only gouache and a brush.
Whether painted or stained, it is nicer – and safer – to varnish your objects: use a special salt dough varnish (sold in hobby stores) or a wood varnish.
Materials needed to make salt dough
Liquid food colouring
Acrylic paint for crafts