Salt Dough Decorations

Salt dough decorations

Making decorations with salt dough is a fun way to get the kids involved in the Christmas festivities. If your kids are too young to make decorations themselves, like Roman is, then you can press their hands or feet into the dough and cut them out. These make good keepsakes or gifts to give to the grandparents.

This recipe made enough for me to make 8 footprint ornaments and a pile of little Christmas trees. I would guess that you’d get about 11 of the footprint ornaments if that’s all you were making. Mine are 12cm wide.

Salt Dough

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
About 1 cup lukewarm warm water
Salt dough decorations

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the mix and pour in about 1/2 of the water. Use a knife to mix it all together.

Add the remaining water a spoon at a time until the dough comes together and is just pliable enough to knead. It should not be sticky. There may be some dry pieces in the bowl, but you can knead them into the ball.

Now knead the dough on a smooth surface. Dust with a little flour if needed. Knead for about 10 minutes. You really do need to knead it for 10 minutes so that is nice and soft and you remove any air bubbles. 

Use the dough very soon after making and cover with a barely damp tea towel while you’re working with other pieces. 
Roll out the dough about 4mm thick and cut out your shapes. The dough can also be rolled into sausages and shaped. To make the foot print ornaments, I cut out large circles with an old tin can and then pushed Roman’s foot into the dough. For the year and name, I used some metal letter/number punches and just pushed them into the dough, but I think you could etch on them with a toothpick. To make a hole in the dough to loop some ribbon through, I used a plain icing tip, but you could also use a skewer.
For the remaining dough, I used a Christmas Tree cookie cutter.
Dry out the decorations in a preheated 120°C oven for about 2 hours. You don’t want them to get any colour, you just want to dry them out. If it’s too hot to turn your oven on, you can leave them to dry out naturally for about 48 hours.

Any rough edges can be tidied up with some sand paper or a nail file. You can leave them as is, or after they are totally dry, they can be painted with acrylic paints or sealed with some polyurethane or clear spray paint.

The backs on my footprints were a little ugly, so I glued a circle of felt on there to hide any lumps.

Salt dough decorations

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  1. says

    The dough is pretty pliable, so you can shape it with your hands easily if you don’t have cookie cutters. You could roll out three sausages, plait them and make a wreath. Or roll out 2 sausages, twist them together and shape into candy canes. Make some holly leaves and berries. A circle for a snowmans face, with a carrot shaped nose on top. Hope those ideas get your creative juices flowing.

  2. Anonymous says

    my fault for not rolling it super thin, wanted to mold my son saying “i love you” in sign language (for my husband) so i needed it a bit thick to make sure all those little fingers were seen. anyway! it’s a little thicker than what you recommended, is it normal for it to have a little, i guess, “puff” in some places? what should i do about this? put paint on it and hope it dries or is it completely hopeless?

    • says

      They will sometimes get puffy spots. You can’t get rid of them, so I’d say paint it and see. The lumps are just air bubbles, so it should still dry out ok.

  3. Anonymous says

    Do you think it would be safe to put dollar store stones in the dough before baking? For added decoration.

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