Dorsi is a freelance writer/researcher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a photographer, art educator, and artist.
Salt Dough Is Fun for Kids
Tired of buying expensive playdough for your kids? Why not make your own cheap alternative at home? Salt dough clay is an easy-to-make recipe that can be used for a variety of craft projects for both kids and adults. I recently used the recipe to make some ornaments for our Sunday School kids, and the craft was an absolute success.
It is not only easy to make, but it is also very durable when baked properly. Once dry, it can be painted with a variety of paints (I use acrylic). If you want further sealing, you can also spray your craft with fixative to preserve it even better.
The salt and flour clay is also a great medium to let your children play with (supervision is recommended for the younger ones). The other day I spent a lovely afternoon with my four-year-old grandson, letting him play with the leftover clay from the Sunday School project.
He was mesmerized for a good hour shaping the dough into balls (I taught him how to roll the dough with the palm of his hand). and he also had fun making holes in the clay with a straw, cutting the clay into sections, and making snowmen.
The ingredients are reasonable to purchase and easy to get (just buy them at your local supermarket) and the results, when done properly, are pretty amazing. As an art teacher and art educator, I highly recommend this craft—it's easy, reasonable, and fun!
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 3 hours
- Ready in: 3 hours 20 min
- Yields: Half of a medium mixing bowl full of dough
Ingredients and Items Needed
- 4 cups all-purpose water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- Roll of parchment paper
- Medium mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Mixing spoon
- Cutting board
- Mix salt and flour together in a mixing bowl, then slowly add the warm water. Mix thoroughly with a mixing spoon.
- Add more water if necessary. The dough should be pliable but not too sticky. I use my hands to finish kneading the dough so I can feel how pliable it is.
- Roll your salt dough clay out on parchment paper, otherwise, it may stick to the surface.
- Leave your salt dough clay on the parchment paper and start your craft. If you have several crafters working at once, lay down a square of parchment paper for them to work on with their dough.
Tips for Working With the Dough
Some tips and tricks when using salt clay dough:
- Powder your fingers with flour when working with the dough. It helps prevent the salt clay dough from sticking to your fingers and makes it easier to work with.
- If you find that your crafts still feel doughy after baking them, harden them in the oven for 5-10 minutes on 350 but be careful not to burn them. Check every few minutes to make sure you are not over-cooking them (better overcooked than under-cooked though)
- You can air-dry your salt craft but it may take several days, depending on the thickness of the craft.
- It's important to make sure your dough crafts are totally dry before painting them. If they are not dry, it's possible that they may start to fall apart over the years because of trapped moisture. I bought some dough ornaments many years ago that I opened one year to find them breaking apart. I don't think they were totally baked, dry, and cured before being painted.
More Fun With Dough!
A recent craft I made with my Sunday School class was a hand-print of each child's hand, which was later painted and made into Christmas holiday ornaments. If you would like step-by-step instructions on how to make this adorable memory keepsake, please read here for the entire article on How to Make a Santa Claus Ornament out of Salt Dough Clay.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 25, 2013:
jlongrc) Thanks jl!
Jacob Long from Memphis, TN on May 25, 2013:
Very cool idea, nice hub!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 18, 2012:
@mpropp) Your welcome m. Glad you enjoyed the hub.
@random) Funny thing random, this was the first time I'd used the dough myself and could not believe I hadn't made it sooner! So easy!
@Virginia) Thanks Virginia. Maybe you can make a hub of those prints when you come up with some new ideas. Thanks for coming by.
Virginia Kearney from United States on December 15, 2012:
I love making salt dough ornaments. Great easy recipe and I adore the cute santa ornament. Now you've got me thinking about other ways to use a kids hand for an ornament. I need to get out the dough and have my kids make some this year. I have found that mine did not last forever, but they used to be stored in our attic where the heat could get 140 degrees. Now we have cooler storage, so maybe I could get them to last longer. Terrific Hub with lots of great pictures and clear directions!
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 14, 2012:
Thanks for the great recipe and tips! Salt dough is so versatile. I can't believe that I haven't tried it yet myself.
Melissa Propp from Minnesota on December 14, 2012:
This sounds like an inexpensive and fun activity to do with your kids or classroom. The possibilities are really quite endless. I am definitely going to be trying this. Thanks!