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How to make salt dough: Best salt dough recipe

Welcome to the first in our summer kids craft series of video tutorials for children's craft activities – find out how to make easy DIY decorations with our salt dough recipe and video guide

Try our easy salt dough recipe

Looking for summer holiday kids craft ideas? User our really easy salt dough recipe and video walkthrough to learn how to make salt dough decorations to whip up simple ornaments that will keep tiny hands busy shaping, baking and painting for hours. They only take half an hour to make from scratch to decorating, and the best bit? All you need is flour, salt and water, plus paint to decorate. These simple salt dough decorations make lovely gifts and keepsakes to give to family members or decorate your home at Christmas or Easter. A top tip is to pierce a hole in the top of them before you bake to turn them into hanging decorations (simply thread with ribbon to hang, once the dough has cooled). So raid your kitchen cupboards for the supplies, roll up your sleeves and get ready to discover the joy of making your own salt dough.

If you enjoy this DIY recipe, you might also like our sister posts, Easy play dough recipe, How to make a sun catcher, How to make fairy wands or our fun set of Children’s cross stitch patterns.

Easy salt dough recipe


You Will Need

  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Salt (1 cup)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Rolling pin
  • Paint, We used poster paints and squeezy fabric paints
  • Cookie cutters, Optional
  • Paint brush
  • Food colouring, Optional

Total time:

Basic salt dough recipe

Step 1

Measure 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of salt and mix them together in a bowl.

Salt dough recipe step 1

Step 2

Pour out 1 cup of water and mix it into the salt dough mix, a little bit at a time. If it feels wet or sticky to the touch, add a bit more flour until you can form a dough that holds its shape but doesn’t stick to your fingers.

Salt dough recipe for kids

Step 3

Roll out the dough on a floured surface using a rolling pin until it’s 1cm thick.

How to make salt dough step 3

How to make salt dough ornaments

Step 1

Use cookie cutters to cut out a range of shapes from the dough. If you don’t have cookie cutters you can also use play dough cutters or just trace around your hands with a pencil and then cut out the shape with a blunt knife (smaller children may need a grown up to help with this bit). If you’d like to hang your ornaments later, then pierce a hole in the top of each one with a pen or skewer.

Top tip: For a sweet baby keepsake, press your tot's hand or foot into the dough to form an imprint, then cut around it to form a circle (you could use a glass as a cutter).
How do you make salt dough pottery

Step 2

Place the shapes on a shallow baking tray and bake them in a pre-heated oven for 3 hours at 140°C (Gas Mark 1).

Top tip: Set a timer for 2 hours and check on your decorations to make sure they're not cooking too quickly (as the type of oven you're using may vary to ours!. If they're cooking at an uneven rate you can also move them around on the tray at this point before you put them back for a final hour (mind your fingers - they're hot!)
How long do you bake salt dough?

Step 3

Take out the shapes and leave them to cool for about half an hour. Now they’re ready to decorate.

How do you make salt dough for crafts?

Step 4

Use paints to add colour and pattern to your decorations. We’ve used poster paints and some squeezy fabric paints that we had in our stash for ours. You could also use glue and sequins, beads or pom poms from your craft kit to add finishing touches.

How to make salt dough step 10

These finished decorations make lovely thank you gifts or Christmas tree decorations and they are one of our personal absolute favourite ways to introduce children to the joy of crafting! Share our salt dough recipe with all your other parents pals and spread the crafting joy.

How do you make salt dough for crafts?

Salt dough recipe FAQ

How long do you bake salt dough?

Bake your salt dough decorations for 3 hours at 140°C (Gas Mark 1)

What flour do you use for salt dough?

In our salt dough recipe we use plain white flour. We’ve tried making them with wholemeal flour too but it didn’t work as well, so would recommend using white. It’s our tried and tested salt dough recipe and we promise it will deliver the best results!

How long does salt dough last?

In our experience, salt dough decorations will last for years once you’ve baked and decorated them, so they make a lovely keepsake. We’ve had decorations last over 30 years with no deterioration. If you want to preserve them for longer, paint it with a layer of decoupage glue or clear varnish to seal the colours.

How to make salt dough ornaments shiny

Simply paint your finished decorations with a clear varnish layer. We recommend one of the following…

What paint to use on salt dough

For best results, we’re big fans of using acrylic paints or poster paints as you get a really strong colour and they’re really easy for kids to use. You can get a starter set of rainbow colours pretty cheaply. We like these Poster Paint Pots by Baker Ross and their Acrylic Paints range is also a good place to start with painting sourdough.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our salt dough recipe. For more creative projects check out our paper crafts for kids and learn how to make friendship bracelets with our simple video tutorial.