Salt dough recipe: how to make salt dough, how long to bake it for and design ideas - from easter eggs to handprints

With life under lockdown continuing, parents across the UK might be struggling to find new ways to keep their kids entertained as schools remain closed

This is how to make salt dough (Photo: Shutterstock)
This is how to make salt dough (Photo: Shutterstock)

Using salt dough is a fun way to get creativity flowing, and the best part is that you probably already have the three ingredients needed to make it.

Here’s how to make salt dough and some fun ideas for designing your creations.

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What is salt dough?

Salt dough is a fun play-dough like substance that kids can use to really get their imaginations going.

You can create fun designs and models and when you’re happy, stick it in the oven to dry it out. Then after it’s cooled down, paint whatever design you like.

Be aware that salt dough is not edible and you should take care with younger kids to make sure they’re not tempted to put some in their mouths.

How do I make salt dough?

The best part about salt dough is that is only requires three ingredients:

- One cup of plain flour (about 250g)

- Half a cup of table salt (about 125g)

- Half a cup of water (about 125ml)

Mix the flour and the salt together and then gradually add the water, mixing until you get a doughy consistency. Turn out onto a counter and knead until it’s smooth and everything is combined.

Set your oven to its lowest setting and when you’re ready to bake your creations.

Lay them on a lined baking tray and place it in the oven for a few hours - the BBC says about three hours, or until solid.

The baking time of your creations will depend on the size and thickness, so be sure to keep an eye on them while they’re in the oven.

Once they’re dried out and cooled, they’re ready to paint.

What are some designs my kids can make?

With your salt dough ready to go, now you can get started on your creations.

Here’s a few ideas to get you and your kids started.

Handprints

This is an easy one to get you started - simply have your children make an imprint in the dough with their hands.

Once it’s been dried in the oven, your child can decorate their hand print in any way that they like.

It’s a fun way to commemorate a milestone age or milestone in their life.

Dinosaur bones

Have your kids create fun dinosaur fossils - different bone shapes or even little dinosaur skulls would be fun.

Paint them however they want and then hide them in the garden to have them find, like little paleontologists at the beginning of Jurassic Park. Get them to use little brushes to brush away the dirt and discover the bones.

Candle holder

A little tea candle holder is another easy design to create.

Roll the salt dough into a ball and use a tea light candle to press into the dough, creating the perfect size and shape to hold the candle when it’s dry.

Paint the holder once it’s cooled down.

Easter eggs and decorations

With Easter right around the corner, why not make some Easter themed ornaments?

Shape the dough into little egg shapes and paint like you would real eggs on Easter Sunday.

You can use your painted salt dough eggs in an Easter egg hunt as well to keep kids entertained.

Hide them around the house or the garden and get them searching for their creations.

The great thing about salt dough is that you can use it for whatever holiday is around the corner - you can just as easily make fun Christmas designs like snowflakes and snowmen in the winter, or spooky pumpkins during Halloween.

Coasters

Why not use the salt dough to make fun, personalised coasters for the kids?

Make sure the dough is flat in order to make sure there are no accidental spills when resting a cup on it.

When it’s been baked and cooled, get your children to paint their own designs to make them truly personalised.

Having a personalised coaster might encourage kids to use them, saving your tables from water marks!