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Christmas & New Year, Lifestyle, Seasonal

Making salt dough decorations: it’s not just for toddlers

The image shows two hands kneading some dough. The image has a green border.

People make all sorts of weird and wonderful things with salt dough and your only limitation with this activity is your imagination. This is a popular toddler craft, but whilst I haven’t tried with my son, I have made salt dough decorations for my Christmas tree. Although you can tell these creations are homemade, I would explore this craft in the future and I don’t think it’s something that should be reserved for toddlers.

What is salt dough?

Making salt dough is easy and there’s a good chance that you already have the ingredients needed for the mixture sat in your cupboard.

To make a ball of salt dough, you need:

  • One cupful of flour
  • Half a cup full of table salt 
  • Half a cup full of water

You mix it all together and a dough will be formed. You can then start creating objects with it. I’d strongly recommend a cookie cutter if you’re a beginner and go for simple, bold shapes. 

Once you have moulded the mixture as you want. You need to pop your creations into the oven, on the lowest possible setting, for three hours. You then leave the baked salt dough to cool and once it’s cool, you can paint it. 

What did I make?

I decided to make my other half a salt dough decoration to go on the Christmas tree. I’d looked at professional ones and I felt they lacked character, I also wasn’t enamoured by the thought of spending £20 on one. 

I decided to make a few salt dough decorations, but only one worked out. My holly and my snowman looked naff, so only my Christmas love heart decoration made the cut.

The image shows a salt dough Christmas decoration hanging on a tree. Over the image, the text reads: 'hacks: a festive craft that isn't just for toddlers - salt dough decorations'.

Was the process difficult?

I didn’t think the process was difficult at all, but if you go for fancy designs, then you may find that they lose their shape during the baking process.

When I made my decoration, I painted my simple heart in a red colour and then, once it was dry, I added a unique message onto the front. I also added some festive string, so I could attach it to the tree.

Is it worth it?

I think salt dough decorations can look pretty amateur, if, like me, you don’t have much of an artistic flare. But does it really matter? I love my salt dough Christmas heart and it’s still going strong, three years after I made it. You also need to remember to add a hole for string before baking (if your decoration requires one). 

I’m not convinced that my salt dough decoration will last forever, as I don’t think it would survive a knock from the tree. But you could say that about any type of decoration.

Salt dough is messy and it’s probably associated with toddlers for a reason. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make decorations or two. Why not? What’s the worst that can happen? You flour, water and salt creation may end up in the bin, but it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world if it did. On the flip side, you may end up with a festive trinket that lasts years and cost pennies. 

Please share your salt dough success and horror stories in the comments section below. 

You might also be interested in my other Christmas hacks.

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