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How to Make Salt Dough for Crafts

Updated on April 13, 2015
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer has been writing about crafts online for almost 4 years. She is an avid crafter who has been creating for most of her life.

Embossed Salt Dough Ornament Tutorial
Embossed Salt Dough Ornament Tutorial | Source

Looking for an easy and inexpensive homemade craft? Look no further than homemade salt dough. Resembling play dough or modeling clay, salt dough hardens and can be made into many different things, like ornaments or figurines. Color can also be added to the dough for a different look. If desired, once hardened, salt dough projects can be painted and decorated.

Ideal for those rainy days or long summer afternoons, crafting with salt dough is the perfect hobby for all ages. Just remember that while the uncolored raw dough is non-toxic, it should not be eaten because of the incredibly high salt content.

Use this quick and easy recipe and you will have your own salt dough in no time. Then try out one of the fun projects provided. Crafting has never been so simple!

Salt Dough Crafts

Salt Dough Crafts ready to be dried.
Salt Dough Crafts ready to be dried. | Source

Salt Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (makes dough easier to handle, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (makes finished product harder, optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the salt and flour.
  2. Slowly add water to dry ingredients and stir until the texture resembles dough.
  3. Knead mixture for approximately 5 minutes or until smooth. The more you knead the dough, the smoother it gets. The dough should not be too moist or dry. Test it by making a bead. If the bead collapses, add some more flour. If the dough is to crumbly, add some water. It should be the texture of play dough. Once kneaded, let it sit for about 15 - 30 minutes.
  4. Start creating! Salt dough can be rolled out like cookie dough or shaped into figures.
  5. Once finished, leave your creations out to dry for at least 24 - 48 hours. The larger the item, the longer it takes to dry. They can also be dried in a 200° fahrenheit oven. Depending of the size of the craft, it can take between 45 minutes and a few hours to dry in the oven. If the oven temperature is set too high, the pieces will dry more quickly, but they may brown or get air bubbles.

This recipe can be doubled. If not using right away, salt dough will last for up to a week in an airtight container.

Video on making salt dough

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Embossed Salt Dough OrnamentUsing a cookie cutter to cut out an ornament.Using a cup to get a circular ornament.Using a stamp to emboss the salt dough.Results of stamping the salt dough.Salt dough ornament made by braiding lengths of dough and then adding a dough ribbon on the top.Glittered salt dough ornaments made by painting dried pieces with glue and sprinkling with glitter.Embossed salt dough ornament with no color added.
Embossed Salt Dough Ornament
Embossed Salt Dough Ornament | Source
Using a cookie cutter to cut out an ornament.
Using a cookie cutter to cut out an ornament. | Source
Using a cup to get a circular ornament.
Using a cup to get a circular ornament. | Source
Using a stamp to emboss the salt dough.
Using a stamp to emboss the salt dough. | Source
Results of stamping the salt dough.
Results of stamping the salt dough. | Source
Salt dough ornament made by braiding lengths of dough and then adding a dough ribbon on the top.
Salt dough ornament made by braiding lengths of dough and then adding a dough ribbon on the top. | Source
Glittered salt dough ornaments made by painting dried pieces with glue and sprinkling with glitter.
Glittered salt dough ornaments made by painting dried pieces with glue and sprinkling with glitter. | Source
Embossed salt dough ornament with no color added.
Embossed salt dough ornament with no color added. | Source

Easy Salt Dough Ornaments

Perfect for Christmas, homemade ornaments are a heartfelt gift for family and friends.

You'll need:

  • Prepared salt dough
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters
  • Skewer (for making holes)
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Glue (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Acrylic paint (optional)
  • Acrylic sealer (optional)

Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Roll out the dough to the desired thickness and cut out shapes. Using the skewer or another sharp tool, make a hole in the ornament where you want the top to be. Set the ornament on the prepared baking sheet. Once done, follow drying directions in the recipe above.

After the pieces have dried, they are ready to be decorated. Here are a few ideas, but have fun and use your imagination!

  • Cover front of ornament with glue and sprinkle with glitter.
  • Paint the ornament with acrylic paint, then, once paint is dry, spray with acrylic sealer and let dry again. Note: Only use the acrylic sealer in a well ventilated area and away from children.

My daughter's salt dough snow man before being painted.
My daughter's salt dough snow man before being painted. | Source

Fun Salt Dough Figurines

Kids love making figurines.

You'll need:

  • Prepared salt dough
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Acrylic paints (optional)
  • Acrylic sealer (optional)

Start creating! You can make anything you want. Children enjoy making little animals or funny faces. Create a flower garden or your own miniature circus. The most important thing is to have fun.

To join pieces of salt dough to each other, like eyes or a nose, lightly wet down both pieces where they will be joined and gently press together. They will stick easily.

Let the pieces dry, using one of the methods in the recipe above. If desired, paint the figures and, once the paint has dried, seal with acrylic sealer spray (not necessary, but pieces will last longer). Note: Only use the acrylic sealer in a well ventilated area and away from children.

Salt Dough Beads
Salt Dough Beads | Source

Salt Dough Beads

One of the easiest things to do with salt dough is to make beads.

You'll need:

  • Prepared salt dough (In the photo to the right, food coloring was added to the dough and mixed in.)
  • Skewer
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Acrylic Paints (optional)
  • Acrylic Spray Sealer (optional)

Start rolling beads of any size. Just remember that the larger the bead, the heavier it will be on a necklace. Using a skewer or other tool, carefully make a hole through the bead. Set aside on the prepared baking sheet to dry, using one of the methods noted in the recipe above. Once dry, paint beads as desired, dry again, then seal with acrylic spray sealer. Note: Only use the acrylic sealer in a well ventilated area and away from children.

© 2012 Glimmer Twin Fan

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We made a variation of this in my geography classes, and then we made landforms with it and painted them. Great suggestions here; I can see this being a hit for those who do crafts.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I had forgotten all about those maps until you mentioned them here. Ha. That was a great project to make. I might just have to edit this and add that. Thanks for commenting. Hope you and Bev had a lovely Thanksgiving.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This sounds like anyone could do it...even me! Does sound fun and surely food for thought on what all we could do with it. Thank you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      It is definitely something anyone can do! Thanks for commenting!

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      This is a wonderful idea..... My kids always want to play with dough, this would be great for them to try. And for me, lol

      Voting up and useful.....

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks LaThing. This is fun for everyone and I noticed the my dog likes the smell of it so I have to keep the dough away from him or he'll eat it! I really like the homemade touch! I appreciate the votes!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What a great craft in time for Christmas -- we always have flour around the house, so it can form inexpensive holiday decorations. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much alocsin. It is a good one for Christmas. My daughter is painting her things as I type this. I appreciate the visit.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      This one I am saving for when the grandchildren come over. Thank you so mcuh and I wish you a wonderful weekend.

      Eddy.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I love home made ornaments. Thanks for spreading the word about this method for creating Christmas crafts.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This sounds like a unique salt dough recipe. I wonder what the lemon juice does. I especially like the wreath ornament.

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Looks like fun. I will have to try it with my kids and in the classroom. Shared and voted up!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks Eddy! Your grandchildren will love it. Have fun!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Sherry - Thanks so much for commenting. I think homemade ornaments are the best. Of course, this can be done year round too, but the ornaments are the most fun!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi Rebecca - The lemon makes the ornaments harder when they are dry. I usually just add the oil because it makes it easier to handle. Thanks for commenting!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I really appreciate the support jenbeach! Your kids will love it. What is more fun than getting your hands icky with dough!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I think years ago I made salt dough. Very interesting hub enjoyed reading it and good instructions. Voted up and pinned.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Oh, my goodness. I haven't thought of making this dough for years! When my children were small, we made it all the time. Your idea of making Christmas ornaments is a great idea.

      I voted this UP, and will share. Also will Pin.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      When my girls were small we made salt dough creations. They always enjoyed working with the clay. I never thought of using rubber stamps to emboss the clay...guess the stamps came years later. Enjoyed your hub and pix!

    • Written Up profile image

      Written Up 4 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Sounds fun for kids. Thanks for the idea.

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Glimmer! this is great. What a wonderful idea to share with everyone. I am definitely sharing this one for my friends with little ones, this is very special!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks you so much moonlake! I appreciate the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks Mary! Sometimes the "old" traditional crafts are the most fun and the ornaments are the most treasured. I appreciate your support.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      frogyfish - Thanks for commenting. It is fun thinking up different things to emboss the dough with. People could use things from nature too.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate the comments Written up. Kids (and big kids like me) love it!

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      What a neat idea! I'd never heard of salt dough, but I'm pretty sure I've seen some of the finished products. I might need to give this a try!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      eHealer - Thanks so much for the comments. This is one of those fun old fashioned crafts that is so easy to do.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it ESPeck. I bet you've seen stuff made out of this before. Once it's painted it's hard to tell what it is sometimes. Let me know if you try it!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I remember making these with kids for Spanish class. They are so nice and fun to work with. I love your blue ornament - very pretty! Voted up.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it teaches! My daughter and I had fun making these for this hub.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      This was a wonderful activity my mother accomplished with us as children. It is also a craft we have passed on to our next family generations.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      What a great idea! I only ever used flour to make glue or paste, so this is a great way to get the kids to enjoy arts and crafts, wonderful!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      My family and I used to make figurines and such with this dough when I was a child. And I can vouch for the fact that it tastes very salty! I would've never thought to make beads out of it. What a clever idea! Voted up and shared.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you so much shiningirisheyes. It is definitely one of those wonderful family traditions.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Nell - I appreciate the comments! This is super fun for all ages (even big kids like me). I have seen some incredibly fancy work done at craft shows.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi vespawoolf - Many thanks for the support. It definitely does not taste as good as your recipes! Beads are fun and if they break of get lost it is no big deal.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My kids used to make ornaments out of salt dough at school and I did too. .. it was so much fun. I think maybe I'll mix up a batch and see what I can come up with. Thanks for sharing the recipe for making the dough.

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

      Salt dough is such a great Christmas craft idea. My boys and I enjoyed this craft every Christmas. I think I will see if they are interested again, thanks for the reminder.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      This is a great idea for creating something for Christmas with salt dough. I received a salt dough wall decoration before and it was so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this crafts with us. Voted up and useful;-)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Have fun Just Ask Susan! I bet you can come up with all kinds of creations. Thanks for commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi Cathy - I bet your boys will enjoy it again. I love looking at ornaments made over the years. Thanks for commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      There are some really elaborate salt dough decorations our there and they are so beautiful. Mine are much more simple, but easy for everyone to do. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • MohkaUK profile image

      MohkaUK 4 years ago

      Never heard of this before but its pretty interesting, thank you for the great hub!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I love sourdough bread so I love this recipe. Thanks for sharing it...will share this too!! And try it this coming Christmas as well.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Haven't thought about this craft in some time. Maybe now's the time to do it again. Thanks for posting the recipe for us. Well done!

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed your hub! It's a great reminder. Voted up and useful.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much midget. I appreciate the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi RTalloni - This is definitely one of those oldie but goodie crafts that is fun to revisit. Thanks for commenting!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate your support Gail. It's one of my go to crafts at the holidays.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Making things from salt dough is something I used to do as a kid (long, long ago!), and it still looks like a lot of fun for kids of all ages. Voted up and shared!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      I remember making something out of salt dough in Sunday School when I was a kid; ironically we were supposed to make a sculpture of Lot's wife who turned into a pillar of salt. I really like the Christmas ornament you made. It has a really nice rustic quality about it and looks like it would also be a wonderful way to top a Christmas present.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for your support Stephanie. It is still fun for me too.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi ktrapp. What a perfect material to make that sculpture out of! I like that ornament too. Thanks for commenting!

    • slackermom profile image

      Lisa Palmer 4 years ago from Attapulgus GA

      Easy, fast, and cheap...how could it get better. Great hub and too cute crafts.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks slackermom! You hit the nail on the head...easy, fast & cheap and fun too! And who does not like a homemade gift at the holidays. I appreciate the comments.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I haven't done this in many years! This is a very fun and creative craft!

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

      I had forgotten about this creative craft! I may have to give this a try with my nieces and nephews. I really like the idea of creating beads. Very nice hub!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi tammyswallow - Nice to "see" you again. This is definitely and oldie but a goodie when it comes to crafts. Thanks for commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Kris - I hope you give it a try. I think all kids like making fun things with dough and it really brings out their creativity. Thanks for the comments.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      Oh I absolutely love the idea of dough beads, never thought of that before, glad I found your hub, my girls are always looking for fun crafts to do, I am going to incorporate this into our art class, thanks! :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you MargaritaEden. This is definitely a fun one. I appreciate the comments.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning Glimmer Twin Fan

      This was a walk down memory lane. My Mamma used to make this with us when I was a young child. I actually do not remember the exact ingredients but it was very similar to the one you have given. I do not remember the lemon juice but that seems helpful. Every Christmas season we would make new ornaments...it was so much fun and a great way to spend some of our vacation days. This is a great hub with the illustrations and details you have provided. Sending Angels your way. :) ps

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks pstraubie! I'm glad this brought back memories. I have a bunch of salt dough ornaments that I made many years ago and they are still in good condition. We now have some from our daughter too. I appreciate the comments.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      This stuff is so neat.. not to mention easy and pretty cheap to make! This is my kind of stuff. I have always heard of salt dough but have yet to try it. Your tutorial is inspiring and makes me want make up a batch so my son and I can create some new ornaments for the Christmas tree this year. I love the ones you made.. very cute! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much Jamie. I love that it is so cheap. Also, most people already have the ingredients so they don't have to make an extra trip to the store. Hope you give it a try.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      You make this look so easy, Glim! :) Love it and sharing!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much Terrye - I appreciate the support. It is easy to do and there is still time if you need quick holiday gifts!

    • uNicQue profile image

      Nicole Quaste 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I can't wait to do this with my siblings for Christmas :) Thanks so much.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I really appreciate the comments uNicQue! Have fun doing this.

    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Very nice Hub Glimmer Twin Fan! Sigh--reminded me that my mother and sisters used to make these salted dough ornaments glaze and paint them--thanks for sharing. Miss those innocent days...

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you ajwrites57! I still have a couple from many years and my collection gets bigger every time my daughter does one. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      This is such a wonderful hub. It brought back so many memories growing up and using salt dough. Remember the adobe houses made with the tiny milk cartons and salt dough? Thanks for sharing this. Thumbs up and shared! Happy New Year!---Lisa

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much Rusticliving. It is such a fun craft. We did a lot of handprints with our salt dough. I appreciate the support.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      Love this hub! I used to do this 20 years ago and made over £2000 in six months. I never thought of embossing salt dough or making beads with it - I might have to start again! Voted up.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks theraggededge! Boy if I could make that kind of money I would perfect my salt dough technique! Thanks for visiting.

    • Angelique Newman profile image

      Angelique Newman 4 years ago from Canada

      I remember making salt Dough beads and turning them into necklaces in kindergarten! We loved creating them. Great article. Voted it up and marked it useful :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it Angelique! Salt dough is just one of those fun old fashioned crafts that never goes out of style.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very creative. As a child I remember using dough to make crafts but this is a great reminder of how much more creative one can be.

      Voted up, awesome and pinned.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Rajan - Thanks so much. It's always fun to try old crafts a different way.

    • Haley 3 weeks ago

      how durable is the dough once its dried, painted, etc.? Will the crafts last?

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 weeks ago

      The dough is pretty durable once dried thoroughly. I did make one of the things too thick and it didn't dry so it didn't hold up so well.

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