Guess who found the remains of a batch of salt dough wrapped up in the fridge a couple of days ago? I was going through the fridge and doing a big clear out, checking expiry dates and salad veg squidginess, and found a mysterious package at the back of the salad drawer. It was well wrapped in cling film and baking foil. It turned out to be the left over salt dough from when I made a kettle ornament (Salt Dough Kettle). It had gone a bit wet and sticky so I added more plain flour until it became more pastry-like and used it up making decorative pears, apples, hearts and stars. Small circles were indented in the dough using straws, holes were pricked using the end of a knitting needle and lines were made using a butter knife. The ones in the picture are baked but not painted. The ones that got painted are not posted… Flupped them up good and proper by painting with water colours and overworking them. The surface became sticky and the details got rubbed and blurred. Meh. Could have kicked myself.
As crafts go, salt dough is very easy. You can cut out shapes with biscuit (cookie) cutters or draw round templates. Cereal boxes make for sturdy templates. Salt dough takes a good while to dry – mine were in the oven for some 16 hours on its lowest temperature. Obviously, the thicker the dough, the longer the baking time.
They can also be microwaved; I’ve tried microwaving and had mixed results but always with some surface puffing, buckling and cracking. (See Salt Dough Hearts and Salt Dough Microwave Method). Sometimes, the cracking suits the project but there are times you might want a smoother surface to work on.
2 cups of flour to 1 of salt. Add a tbs of dry wallpaper paste as well to help prevent mold and make the dough more pliable if you have some.
Mix with water until it becomes pastry-like then roll it out and cut it into shapes.
You can create all sorts of things and hang them up afterwards – just make a hole so you can insert cord or wire to hang them from – or, insert some bent wire into the raw dough (wet the ends of the wire with a thickish flour and water mixture ‘glue’ then insert the wire into the piece) and bake the mount with the dough. If you’re feeling ambitious or imaginative there are numerous hints and tips from the internet mavens – Google and you will get!
- Place on a baking tray in the oven on its lowest setting until the dough is thoroughly dry. Tap the back of the shapes – they should sound ‘hollow’. Try pressing the back – if there’s any yield in the piece it needs further drying in the oven time.
- Paint and let them dry – bone dry!
- Coat with a varnish – floor, ship or spray varnish, whatever is easiest and cheapest to find, to seal the dough. If you don’t seal them moisture will get in and they will eventually crumble or go mouldy.
If you fancy sewing some pears there’s a template and tutorial here for you.