Salt dough is easy to make, inexpensive, and a whole lot of fun to play with. Plus it can take a few days to finish projects, providing loads of fun! Salt dough can be used for play time, modeled into items, hardened, baked, and even painted for beautiful options that are always fun. Plus once the creations are completed your kids can then spend hours playing with their new found and super inexpensive toys!

Making the Dough.
Dough is very simple to make. Mix one cup of salt and two cups of flour in a bowl using a wooden or plastic spoon. To that add a half cup of warm water. Mix well. continue to add a little water at a time until your dough is a good consistency for working. You may use as much as one cup of water. Kneed on a lightly floured surface until the dough is really easy to work with.

You can also choose a few variations to make your dough more interesting or to offer something a little different to your kids (especially the older ones who are more likely to notice and appreciate).

  1. Add a couple of drops of food coloring to your water to dye your salt dough different colors. Bright colors such as blue, green, red, orange, yellow, and such are lots of fun to play with.
  2. Replace two tablespoons of the flour with two tablespoons of buckwheat flour for a different and often easier to work with option.
  3. Add a teaspoon or two worth of glycerin for a different texture.
  4. Use 1/2 table salt and 1/2 course salt for a textured dough that is lots of fun to work with.
  5. Add a couple of tablespoons worth of vegetable oil and a little more flour and salt for a smoother dough.

Play Time.
Get out the dough and as many fun tools as you can find. Use toys designed for play dough, cookie cutters, rolling pins, tooth picks, chop sticks, wire brushes, and other sorts of toys to add shape and texture to their dough designing time. Make each time a theme time for hours of fun. For example this time we could work on making food and next time we can work on making as many animals as we can. Be creative and come up with lots of themes for your salt dough fun times.

You now have the choice to let it air dry or to bake it. Either way you need to make sure that you are careful with drying it. It needs to be completely dry and hard in order to make sure that it won't mold.
  • Air drying- You will want to make sure that any really thick parts of the dough have a section carefully cut out of them so that they will dry faster. This could include the underbelly of an animal or carving out the inside of a piece of "food". Then lay them out to dry. Doing so on a wire rack will make it go faster. You will want to turn the pieces every now and again. It will take two or three days for the salt dough projects to completely dry.
  • Baking- To bake it you will want to place them on a piece of aluminum foil or a cookie sheet. Place them in an oven at 200 degrees or set at warm. Move them around about once ever hour or so and leave them there for three or more hours. You want them to be thoroughly dry, but taking them out a little early won't hurt because they will continue to dry as they cool.

You and your kids can now have fun painting the pieces. You should get a tempera paint in a wide range of colors. Go with natural animal colors for your animals or have a wild time painting them red and green. Whatever you do, have fun with it. Allow them to have a wide variety of colors. Use paint brushes and maybe a few other tools to make designs and patterns on your projects. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours to make sure that it is all dry and none of it will be trapped inside the cracks to mold after sealed.

It is important that any salt dough project that you plan on keeping is well sealed. To do this use polyurethane, spray sch-lack, or clear varnish. You should seal any cracks, make sure the whole thing is covered, and be willing to put a second layer after the first has dried. This will give your piece a bright shiny finished, but more importantly it will keep your project lasting for years.

Play Time.
You can take the projects that you have made and use them for play time. Mix in other toys or use them on their own. They are cheap and while they aren't likely to last forever, but the price is right for several days of play. Set them up on the table in case they break or crumble. If the pieces are well put together you won't have to worry about it, but poorer crafted pieces can break. Set up a whole world of imagination with the pieces that have been made!

Additional Tips:
  1. Put unused dough in a sealed container or a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate it. You can use it a few days after ward.
  2. You can also prepare the dough one or two days before use to save yourself time the day you use it.
  3. You can use natural items to act as dyes including instant coffee, paprika, curry powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Powdered paint can also be added to the dough for a great brilliant color.
  5. Whether you paint the project or not it must be sealed.

Get Creative.
There are lots of different things you can make and it can be a lot of fun coming up with new themes. Zoo day or animal day can be a ton of fun. You can make dishes for play time or even play food. You can also make ornaments as well. You can also make beads to use in jewelry making or make other types of jewelry for a whole world of great fun. Never have the same salt dough making session again!

Salt dough is a great craft for kids. It offers a huge variety of options and allows you to get creative. It isn't hard and can be fun for kids of all ages Have fun with it and join your kids in making great items!