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Salt Dough

Salt dough is easy to make and requires just a few ingredients.

Food coloring can be added to salt dough for variety. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Food coloring can be added to salt dough for variety.

Salt Dough

Children and adults alike have been enjoying salt dough for centuries. It has been used to create anything from jewelry and plates to Christmas ornaments. Also, with a short list of ingredients that most people have in their pantry, it is inexpensive and simple to make in a pinch.

Salt Dough Is Easy to Make

Salt dough has several different variations, but the most common one only requires three ingredients. According to FamilyFun.com, this fun craft dough can be made by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of salt and a 1/2 cup of water in a big bowl. The dough is ready for crafting when it is smooth.

Fun Salt Dough Crafts

Salt dough craft ideas are only limited by the imagination and many children will simply enjoy playing with the dough without a specific plan in mind. However, there are many fun and cute crafts that can be made any time of the year, along with some really fun ideas for parents and kids to do for different holidays. Here are a few ideas for great parent and child activities:

  • Halloween ghosts -- This is a really easy project that will work well for younger kids who are still developing their fine motor skills. Simply separate the dough into equal parts (if using the above recipe), probably around six to eight. Then mold the dough into a ghost-like shape, taking care to keep a flat base on it so that it can stand up. Cook a couple at a time, in the microwave, for 1 to 2 minutes. Wait for them to cool and create little ghost faces, on each of them, with a black permanent marker. Be sure and put the child's name and the date on the bottom.
  • Christmas ornaments -- These will take a little more effort than the ghosts, but the results are worth it. In order to make quite a few ornaments, it would be best to increase the amounts in the basic recipe to 2 cups flour, 2 cups salt and 1 cup water. In order to have some dough for embellishing the ornaments, be sure and break off several different pieces that will be used to knead in different food colors. Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin to about a quarter of an inch thickness. Then cut the ornaments out using Christmas cookie cutters. Once the shapes are cut out, they can be embellished with the colored pieces; for example, the red dough could be made into stripes for a candy cane, or maybe a snowman's scarf. To make them really pop, embellish them with several different colors and use toothpicks to give it some designs. Using a straw, poke a hole in the top of the ornament; this is for stringing the ribbon for hanging. Bake at 250F for a minimum of 20 minutes and then check it. If it is not hardened, keep checking it every 10 minutes until it is done. Once they are cooled off, they should be sprayed with varnish to give them some shine. Finally, tie ribbons on them and hang them on the tree.
  • Jewelry -- Children can make jewelry pieces out of no-cook salt dough. To make this type of dough, mix 1 cup of flour, 3/8 cup of salt and 3/8 cup of water. Then take pieces of the dough, shape it and flatten it into a piece formed like a chunky necklace charm. Once it is shaped how they want it, they can press pieces of mirror, colorful beads or rhinestones into the dough. Poke a hole in it to put the necklace through. Then, let it sit out for 1 to 5 days to harden. Once it is hardened, it can be painted with acrylic paints, if desired.

 

Salt Dough Variations

There are some variations parents can use when they are making salt dough. In place of food coloring, natural ingredients such as coffee, curry, paprika or chocolate powder can be added. For a finer dough, add approximately 3.75 ounces of corn starch. Two tablespoons of wallpaper paste will cause the dough to be firmer, which is ideal for making plates or decorative tiles. According to EasyChildCrafts.com, salt dough can be kept in a sealed container for several days in the refrigerator. They also suggest adding a drop of vanilla to the mix, and it will help prevent mold.

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