As the title suggests, we did make salt dough at Christmas, and it went so well I was determined to do it again soon. Five months on we got around to it, oops!
Annabelle has been really enjoying using shaped cutters with her playdough recently so I thought we could expand on this by cutting out salt dough shapes for her to decorate. Here’s how we got on:
One reason I love salt dough is that it is an all day (or couple of days!) activity because there are so many enjoyable steps to creating your models. We measured and mixed, squidged and rolled, cut shapes, baked, and painted. We stared out measuring all the ingredients for the salt dough into a large bowl. All you need is
– 2 cups of flour
– 1 cup of salt
-a ‘gloop’ of oil
– 1 cup of water
I tend to add about half of the water to the flour, salt and oil and then gradually add more to stop the mixture becoming too sticky. If it is too sticky, add more flour, if it is too crumbly add more water. There isn’t much that can go wrong with mixing salt dough!
Once the dough was the right consistency we gave it a good squidge, squeeze and pummel – fantastic for strengthening muscles in little fingers.
Annabelle had chosen dog, rabbit, star and butterfly shapes and we just kept on rolling and cutting, rolling and cutting until all the mixture was used up. I used the last blob of mixture to make a hand print keepsake – I just formed a rough circle and Annabelle pressed her hand onto it (it is best to do the hand print when the salt dough is already on the baking tray, trying to pick it up and move it onto a baking tray will stretch the original handprint).
We baked the shapes on a low heat for about 2 hours and then left them in the warm conservatory overnight, just to make sure they were dry. The next day, Annabelle chose some paint and we set about decorating all her shapes. She did really well, and I was impressed that this held her interest for so long (there were an awful lot of shapes to paint!). We do most of our painting in the conservatory as the laminate floor is much easier to clean than carpet! We have a few cheap shower curtains that we rotate round to use as splash mats or crumb catchers and they are really easy to wipe down or just pop in the washing machine afterwards.
Here are our results!
They dried in no time on a sunny windowsill and Annabelle started sorting the shapes by colour. After she finished this I showed her how sort them according to shape which she enjoyed. I didn’t worry about sealing these salt dough shapes, but if we were planning to keep them to use as decorations I would brush them with a coat of PVA.
Annabelle has really enjoyed sorting by shape and colour recently which has given me an idea for a future project. I would like to make a big batch of salt dough shapes (circles, squares, triangles etc) in various sizes, and decorate them in various colours for her to sort. Simple but I am sure she will love it, and we can keep them to use in the future for exploring shape, sorting and making shape pictures. Watch this space!