If you’re looking for cheap Christmas decorations, or a more creative way to decorate your tree, then look no further than this great salt dough recipe…
Salt dough decorations are not only extremely easy and fun to make, but they can be decorated to look really dazzling and once you have mastered the basics you can move on to more daring designs like these curlicue ones how to make curlicue salt dough decorations
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- 2 cups of plain flour
- 1 cup of table salt
- 1 cup of water
I’ve put the amounts on cups, but don’t worry if you are used to grammes, as all you need to worry about is getting the ratio right.
Decided on the cup you’re going to use (I find an ordinary coffee mug works well and gives a good amount of dough to work with) and stick to it for all the ingredients.
There are many different recipes for making salt dough, but I find this is the quickest and easiest. However, you can add these optional ingredients for different textures. 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil makes it a little easier to knead. Wallpaper paste gives the mixture more elasticity and lemon juice makes the finished product harder. For more ideas and tips go to our top tips for making successful salt dough
NB Unused dough can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container or cling film, for up to a week.
Avoid using wallpaper paste if making this for children just in case they put it in their mouths. However the rest of the ingredients don’t taste very nice so they are unlikely to do it more than once.
Step 1 – mix the ingredients
Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water, mixing to soft dough.
Remove from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead for 10 minutes (this helps to create a good smooth texture).
Leave the dough stand for approximately twenty minutes before working with it.
Step 2 – rest dough and prepare baking trays
Whilst the dough rests cover 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Place dough on floured work surface and roll out flat (approx ½ – 1cms deep) – roughly the depth of a pound coin!
Step 3 – cutting out shapes
Using cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
Make a hole in the shape while the dough is still pliable to allow ribbon for hanging. Don’t make the whole too small or you won’t be able to get the ribbon through. I find an old chopstick is about the right size
Step 4 – place on trays
Transfer shapes to the baking trays.
Decorate – you can decorate the shapes at this stage if you want to create a relief effect. With these decorations I used a chopstick to create an indented pattern. I also pressed a glass gem and some mirror pieces into some of them. (Because the drying temperature is so low, the gem/mirror can stay in whilst cooking.)
Step 5 – drying
Dry the dough in a very cool oven.
Alternatively you can leave the dough to dry naturally in the air. While it might be environmentally friendlier, the drawback with air drying is that it can take up to 48 hours for the decorations to dry, whereas it will only take about 4 hours in the oven. Oven drying – 200F/Gas Mark ¼
Avoid the temptation to turn up the heat to save time….it won’t. All it will do is cause the dough to bubble and crack!
The drying time needed will vary according to size and thickness. An average time for natural drying is 30-48 hours, whilst oven times are generally reduced to 3-4 hours. These figures are only offered as a rough guide and I turn my pieces over half way through the drying process to make sure that both sides dry out evenly
When your decorations are dry, turn off the oven and leave shapes inside the oven to cool down slowly.
Step 6 – decorate
You are now ready to decorate your salt dough shapes.
Decorating is really easy. I find that acrylic paints work best as they create a nice smooth finish. I also particularly like outlining paints. These paints are designed to be used in glass painting to create a raised outline, but they work beautifully on other surfaces as well. They are really easy to control and you can create lovely raised designs with them.