Last year, I made salt dough for the very first time. I pressed the children’s hands into it, baked it and then packed it into a box and forgot all about it. And then this year, I opened up our Christmas decoration boxes and these tiny, beautiful little hands- that you think you will never forget!- spilled out and I knew I had to make salt dough again! And then I became a little obsessed…
I never realised how FAB salt dough is. We’ve been on a salt dough mission lately and loved every minute of it! I used a recipe from Red Ted Art’s book, Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids.
Basically, it is 2 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water. Add the water gradually as you don’t want it too wet and sticky. Mix the ingredients until you can mix no more, then get your hands in an knead until it’s smooth. We also made a green dough, using quarter of a teaspoon of green gel colouring.
So what did we make? Of course, a hand print. And then, we got creative!
The preschooler has been fascinated with the story of Christmas this year. We are not particularly religious, but I was brought up attending church and Sunday school as a child and things that have gone on this year have led me to church more than once. The preschooler has also been learning about baby Jesus at preschool and so has been asking a lot of questions about it all. There is also the model nativity scene that he loves to play with at Nanna’s. So I thought we’d make our own!
So so so easy to do. We talked about who was in the story and then we made them! Baby Jesus, a manger, Mary, Joseph, 3 shepherds, 3 crooks and 3 very large sheep. Into the oven at 100° for a couple of hours. When cool, we trimmed the bottoms so that they would stand up (salt dough ‘puffs’ out a little as it cooks) , painted them and arranged them in the stable. To make the stable, we used a Livie and Luca shoe box and added some hay. The finishing touch was a salt dough star on the roof of the stable!
These are SO easy to make. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and use a star cutter to cut the stars. Place all on a baking tray (use greaseproof paper so they don’t stick) and bake at 100° until they’re hard. We poked holes through the tops of some of them, with a chopstick, so that we could use them to hang on the Christmas tree. We also painted them and sprinkled glitter and sequins on before the paint dried.
Probably my favourite thing to do with salt dough now! Thanks Red Ted– these have been fantastic and I have SO many ideas for play with them! Here’s what we did:
- break the salt dough into lots of small pieces, of equal size (slightly bigger than a Malteser)
- roll each piece into a ball
- use a chopstick to press a hole through the ball
- bake on a tray in the oven
This was great for the preschooler to do himself and he enjoyed making them. After about 5 minutes you need to pull the beads out of the oven, turn them over and poke the chopstick through again so that the hole doesn’t close up during cooking. Again, these are cooked at 100°
When they were cooked and cooled, we painted them- and this was not as easy as it looked! We used pipe cleaners to hold the beads so that we could paint all over, and then we hooked the pipe cleaners over the edge of a grill pan to dry. We also coated them in fine glitter before the paint dried so that they were nice and sparkly. We also made some beads with the green dough that didn’t need painting at all.
So, what are you going to make with salt dough this Christmas?