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How to Make Salt Dough for Crafts

Claudia has been writing about crafts online for many 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

Looking for an easy and inexpensive homemade craft? 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, projects can be painted and decorated.

Ideal for those rainy days or long summer afternoons, crafting with this 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 dough in no time. Then try out one of the fun projects provided. Crafting has never been so simple!

Finished crafts ready to be dried.

Finished crafts ready to be dried.

Salt Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (makes the 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 the 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 too 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! It 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 on 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, it will last for up to a week in an airtight container.

Easy 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 snow man before being painted.

My daughter's snow man before being painted.

Fun 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 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

How to Make 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 Claudia Mitchell

Comments

Claudia Mitchell (author) on May 29, 2019:

Thanks Tressia. I do love salt dough crafts and how they can be personalized so much.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 25, 2016:

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.

Haley on December 21, 2016:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 10, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 08, 2013:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 16, 2013:

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

Angelique Newman from Canada on January 16, 2013:

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 :)

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 10, 2013:

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

Bev G from Wales, UK on January 10, 2013:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 03, 2013:

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

Liz Rayen from California on January 03, 2013:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 21, 2012:

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.

AJ Long from Pennsylvania on December 21, 2012:

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...

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 11, 2012:

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

Nicole Quaste from Philadelphia, PA on December 11, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 10, 2012:

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

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on December 10, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 09, 2012:

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.

Jamie Brock from Texas on December 09, 2012:

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 :)

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 06, 2012:

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.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 06, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 03, 2012:

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

MargaritaEden from Oregon on December 02, 2012:

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! :)

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 02, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 02, 2012:

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

Kris Heeter from Indiana on December 01, 2012:

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!

Tammy from North Carolina on December 01, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 01, 2012:

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.

Lisa Palmer from Attapulgus GA on November 30, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 29, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 29, 2012:

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

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

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.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on November 29, 2012:

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!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 29, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 29, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 29, 2012:

Thanks so much midget. I appreciate the comments.

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on November 28, 2012:

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

RTalloni on November 28, 2012:

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!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on November 28, 2012:

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.

MohkaUK on November 28, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 27, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 27, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 27, 2012:

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

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on November 27, 2012:

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;-)

Ms. Immortal from NJ on November 27, 2012:

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.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 27, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 27, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 27, 2012:

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

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 27, 2012:

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.

Nell Rose from England on November 26, 2012:

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!

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on November 26, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

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

Dianna Mendez on November 25, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

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!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

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

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on November 25, 2012:

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!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 25, 2012:

Thanks you so much moonlake! I appreciate the comments.

Deborah from Las Vegas on November 24, 2012:

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!

Written Up from Oklahoma City, OK on November 24, 2012:

Sounds fun for kids. Thanks for the idea.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on November 24, 2012:

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!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on November 24, 2012:

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.

moonlake from America on November 24, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 24, 2012:

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

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 24, 2012:

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!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 24, 2012:

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!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 24, 2012:

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

jenbeach21 from Orlando, FL on November 24, 2012:

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

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on November 24, 2012:

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

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 24, 2012:

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

Eiddwen from Wales on November 24, 2012:

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

Eddy.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 24, 2012:

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.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on November 24, 2012:

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.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 24, 2012:

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!

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on November 23, 2012:

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.....

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 23, 2012:

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

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 23, 2012:

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!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 23, 2012:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 23, 2012:

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.