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Making salt dough at home

Salt dough piranha

Salt dough decorations have a long tradition in many countries. Traditionally it dates back as far as ancient Egyptian times. Salt and flour were the most common ingredients, and so they began to experiment, making sculptures and trinkets.

It’s a great and easy craft session at home, allowing children to come up with all manner of creations. The ingredients for the salt dough can be bought in every supermarket and they are really cheap. The dough is easy to prepare and the creations last a really long time. Once baked or dried, they can be nicely painted and used in many different ways.

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We organised a hilarious craft session at toucanBox HQ to show you some salt dough ideas for a bit of inspiration. We’ve left out doing salt dough Christmas ornaments, which is a superb use of salt dough as well. Watch out for a second page coming soon containing some amazing salt dough Christmas crafts.

How do I make salt dough?

Bowl of salt dough

To make salt dough you just need a few ingredients, though a fair amount of each one.

You Will Need

1 Mix together salt and flour. You want a ratio of one part salt and two parts flour. For making just a few little objects with your kids, one cup salt and two cups flour should be enough. If you want to prepare more, just increase the number of cups proportionally.

2 Mix the flour and salt together, then add the same number of salt cups of water to the mixture. Depending on the flour you are using, you may need more or less water, but it’s recommended to add the water in smaller amounts.

3 Start kneading the mixture thoroughly and continue adding water until you reach a dough texture that is slightly sticky. If it’s really sticky, add in some more flour.

You can add in liquid food colouring to colour the salt dough. Some extra flour might be needed to get the consistency right.

Monkey salt dough

How long do I cook the salt dough for?

Once you’ve made your salt dough creations, you can bake them in the oven to make them set. Once baked, they will harden and can be painted and decorated!

Baking time depends on the thickness of the dough. In general you need to bake the salt dough creations over two hours on a temperature no higher than 120°C. As you’re baking it keep checking your creations. Overcooking could lead to bubbles or cracks.

After cooling out the salt dough crafts are ready for painting.

If you don’t have an oven (like in a nursery), you can also just wait until it dries out over time. This will definitely take a couple of days until it’s dry enough to apply paint on the crafts.

Cat salt dough

Can I microwave the salt dough?

You can, but you need to be careful and only microwave for about 10 seconds each time to not get bubbles in the dough.

Having fun painting the salt dough crafts

After the salt dough creations have cooled down, you and your little ones can enjoy the fun bit of painting the creations. Poster paint works best. If your kids are younger you may have or want to buy finger paint, which is easy to use for the kids and lots of fun!

Take care of tables and surfaces by covering your working area with enough newspaper before you start the painting adventure!

Top tips for shaping salt dough

To get into the salt dough celebration, members of the toucanBox team sat down to unleash their creativity on an unsuspecting bowl of flour and salt. They drew inspiration from all manner of things, and came up with a list of top tips for making some masterpieces.


Take a chunk of salt dough and roll it against your work surface to create a sausage shape.

rolling salt dough

Roll it in between your fingers to make a ball. Smaller balls can sit on top of larger balls, making 3D features!

rolling dough balls

Finer details

You can use tools to make intents in the dough, creating patterns or grooves. Deeper grooves will show better after baking.

etching into dough

Keep it floured

Make sure to use flour on your work surface so your creation doesn’t get stuck!

Lizard in flour

Cut it

You can use scissors to cut your salt dough, making straight lines or a big gaping mouth!

Cutting salt dough

Have fun!

Don’t forget to share your salt dough creations with us! #touanbox

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