Salt Dough Ornaments Recipe: A Fun Holiday Project for Kids of All Ages

salt dough ornaments Christmas tree stars gingerbread man
Photo: Utopia

Salt dough ornaments are a fun family project for kids – especially those who’ve never grown up. With our quick and easy salt dough recipe, you can shape, bake, and decorate unique little pieces of art. Let’s get to work!

Salt Dough Recipe: Three Simple Ingredients

Salt dough recipe: ingredients
Our salt dough recipe calls for flour, salt, and water in a 2:1:1 ratio. (Photo: Utopia)

The first step to creating salt dough ornaments is to combine three simple ingredients that you probably already have at home: Flour, salt, and water are combined at a 2:1:1 ratio. This makes it easy to make larger or smaller batches as desired. You can start by using

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water

Tip: To make the dough even smoother and easier to knead, you can substitute half a cup of cornstarch for the same amount of flour and add 2 tablespoons of oil.

Salt Dough Recipe: Here’s How It’s Done

  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the water.
  2. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until a smooth dough has formed.
  3. Knead the salt dough with your fingers. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a dash of flour. After kneading, the salt dough is ready to be molded into shape.

Tip: While the salt dough can be colored with spices or other natural dyes before being shaped, the colors will lose some of their brilliance when baked. For more vibrant colors, paint the salt dough ornaments after baking instead.

Creating Salt Dough Ornaments: Shaping Your Dough

Salt dough ornaments recipe
The next step in crafting your own salt dough ornaments is rolling out your dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. (Photo: Utopia)

You can get creative shaping dough. The salt dough recipe is great for:

  • Holiday ornaments and figurines
  • Play figures for your child’s play-kitchen or the grocery store
  • Handprint and footprint plates
  • Table decorations
  1. Holiday Salt Dough Ornaments: Lightly cover your table or counter with flour, then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is about a quarter-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out the individual ornaments, then place them onto a baking tray with the lightly-floured side down. Before baking, skewer a hole through the ornament so you can thread and hang it later. Make sure the hole is large enough and far enough from the edge of the salt dough ornament. Once the dough is dry, it is difficult to make changes without damaging your work.
  2. Forms and Figurines: Silicone baking pans with different motifs can be used to shape great table decorations or play figures for children. Carefully press the dough into your mold to fill it. Cut or gently tear away any excess.
  3. Handprints and Footprints: Lightly cover your table or counter with flour. Roll out a large piece of salt dough until it is about ⅜ in. thick and cut whichever shape you like. Have your child press his or her hand/foot into the dough until the impression is clearly visible. Depending on their weight/strength, you may need to help your child press firmly enough. If you want to hang the impression later, drill a hole in it as well.

Drying or Baking Your Salt Dough Ornaments Under Low Heat

Salt dough ornaments recipe stars
Salt dough ornaments can be cut out with cookie cutters. (Photo; Utopia)

After using our salt dough recipe to create your uniquely designed ornaments, they need to dry. Salt dough quickly cracks or blisters under high heat. Instead of baking your dough, you can allow it to air-dry for several days near the radiator or in a similarly warm place. This also saves energy!

However, if you are in a hurry, you can bake half-inch thick salt dough ornaments as follows:

  1. Begin by baking your dough for 30 minutes at 60°C (140°F).
  2. Increase the heat to 100°C (212°F) for 30 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to 120°C (250°F) for 2 hours or until the center of the underside has hardened.

Painting and Decorating Your Ornaments and Figures

salt dough ornaments: Christmas tree stars, gingerbread man
These cute table decorations were made of salt dough, baked in a silicone mold, painted with watercolors, and sealed with a clear water-based lacquer. (Photo: Utopia)

After your salt dough has dried and solidified, you can paint and decorate your ornaments. Various paints are suitable for this. For the figures pictured, we used watercolors with a strong emphasis on the pigment and as little water as possible. To get a really rich color, you will need to do at least two coats. When you have finished painting your salt dough ornaments, they should again be allowed to dry in a warm place.

Since the salt dough absorbs water from the air over time, it must be coated with a clear lacquer (either water-based or vegetable oil-based) to make it more durable. Make sure any paint or lacquer you use is suitable to be used for children’s toys!

If this salt dough ornaments recipe was a hit with your kids, give our other family-friendly recipes and art projects a try:

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This article was translated from German into English. You can view the original here: Salzteig-Rezept: In wenigen Schritten herstellen und backen.

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