Salt Dough Decorations
Mum of two, Claire Gillespie from Oglee Poglee shared with us how to make Salt Dough Decorations – a perfect activity to keeps the kids occupied this Christmas.
Simple Salt Dough Recipe
1 Cup of plain flour
½ Cup of Salt
2 tsp of cream of tartar
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
½ Cup of cold water
1. Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil together in a large bowl. Gradually add the cold water and mix with a metal spoon. Do not add all at once. The mixture should not be soggy, you want to get a nice dough consistency. If your dough seems a bit dry or is not sticking together and there is still flour in the bowl add a little bit more water.
2. Using your hands remove the dough from your bowl and knead until smooth as you would cookie/biscuit dough. Make into a ball and press down to flatten slightly. Roll out to the desired thickness (approx 5mm thick) The thicker the dough shapes the longer they take to dry, however if they are too thin they are more likely to break when dry.
3. Use cutters to make the required shapes. We used Christmas cookie cutters but you can use anything. Place your shapes directly onto a non-stick tray. If you plan to hang your shapes as decorations you will need to make a small hole in your shape. This allows you thread ribbon or string though when it’s dry. The end of a straw is perfect for this job and makes a small neat hole.
4. To dry the salt dough shapes place them in your oven on its lowest setting and leave them for a few hours. Turning them at least once during this time will help them dry. Placing them at the bottom of the oven also helps. Basically the trick is to dry them out using the heat of the oven but not cooking them. If the oven is too hot then they start to rise, crack and go brown.
Oglee Poglees Top Tips
• Roll the dough out onto baking paper/sheets as it stops it sticking to your worktop and gives the dough a smoother finish/surface.
• Get creative with your decorations whilst it’s still dough. You can add patterns or textures using stamps or pressing in bits of textured fabric like lace. My kids always like to press their toys in to see what impressions are left.
• Drying the shapes does take a while. I would use the oven to cook dinner and then once the oven was off place the shapes in to dry out whilst the oven cooled down. The shapes can be left to air dry, but this takes days even weeks so can only be done if you’re not in a hurry.
• Don’t try using a microwave to dry them out quickly sadly it doesn’t work. The dough rises and doesn’t dry evenly.
• Salt draws out moisture so make sure after handling the dough you wash your hands thoroughly and you may need to moisturise
• You can colour your salt dough by adding a few drops of food colouring into your water when you make your dough
• Salt dough is best used when fresh. However you can wrap in cling film and refrigerate for up to 3 days. It can become a little ‘wet’ if kept like this and you may need to add flour.
Decorating the Salt Dough Shapes
When dry, the fun really starts and you can decorate your shapes. As ours were for Christmas we went a bit mad for glitter and sparkly bits but anything goes really.
Things to try: Felt pens and stickers, paint, pva glue and glitter, sequins, ribbon and bits of fabric.
Claire Gillespie of Oglee Poglee offers creative workshops and parties for children. Oglee Poglee workshops offer parents a chance to come to a safe environment where everything is set up so that their children can have a go, get messy and let their imaginations run wild. Each session focuses on a different theme and there is a mixture of craft activities and creative things to discover. The children can choose what activities they want to explore and then share their observations or creations with the Oglee Poglees.