How to Make Salt Dough Christmas Decorations

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In honour of our Crafty Kids competition we thought we would mix it up a little with some craft related blogs! This blog gives a guide to making salt dough Christmas decorations! Don’t forget to enter our Crafty Kids competition to win art prizes for your local school or nursery!

One of my favourite creative exploits as a child was making salt dough Christmas decorations with my mum, younger sister, and older brother.

We fashioned cherubs and snowmen, Santa and his reindeer, trees, gift boxes and star shapes, all from a very easy–to-make dough mixture. It’’s such a versatile, natural and inexpensive medium which is fun to use and gives fabulous results. Hand crafted by the whole family, which makes them extra special to hang on your own tree or give as little festive tokens.

To make the dough you can use a cup as a measure to save weighing. This is what you’’ll need:

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
1/2 to 1 cup of lukewarm water

Stir the salt into the flour then pour in the water a little at a time mixing together with your hands to form a dough-like consistency.
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Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes – the longer you knead it the smoother it will be. The perfect consistency should be workable, not sticky – just dry enough that none should come off on your fingers.

Now you are ready to model your dough. You can roll out the dough on a floured surface and use cookie cutters to cut some shapes from it or, if you don’’t have cookie cutters, hand craft your own unique creations.

To make a simple star: Roll out a small amount of dough and with the edge of a piece of card or a spatula, cut out two triangles
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Brush a small amount of water onto one of the triangles and press them together as shown below. You can build your stars into a 3D effect by layering more shapes together and can also add decorative patterns.
Remember to make a hole in the top or back of your shapes to attach a string, piece of raffia or a ribbon to hang on your tree
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If you are feeling more adventurous have a go at modelling some figures like the Santa below!

Start with 2 small balls of dough. Using a little water, gently press the pieces together and form the shapes like these, adding in a 3rd small dough ball for Santa’’s hat bobble.

Using a strainer, metal sieve or garlic press, push a small amount of dough through the holes. Use this method to add hair and a beard to your Santa’’s face. Brush a small amount of water to the face to stick the hair in place.
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Once you’’ve finished making your decorations, you can allow the salt dough christmas decorations to air-dry for a few days – or bake on a baking sheet in a preheated oven (150°F) for several hours until done (they will sound light when tapped).

If you choose to bake, remove from oven and allow to cool before handling. The baking temperature is low so that the dough doesn’t brown – though this doesn’t necessarily matter if you are going to paint the cooked dough shapes. Depending on how thick your creations are they should take between 2 and 3 hours in the oven.

Once cool and dry, the decorations can be painted and decorated using ordinary poster paint.

For added ‘bling’ – but only for accompanied or older children – the decorations may be painted with metallic acrylics or even varnished. Use a little PVA glue when the paint has dried to add glitter, sequins, beads and other embellishments.

Now over to you, it’’s time to get crafty in the kitchen and make some really great-looking salt dough Christmas decorations! Share your photos with us on Facebook and Twitter, we’’d love to see your creations!

Sue?George