Salt-dough crafts are a super-easy go-to kids’-craft classic that is also versatile and good simple fun. Playing with salt-dough can be a bit like clay modelling, and a good alternative to clay when you don’t have any to hand. Clay crafts in general can be very soothing and grounding as a craft for children, as it is so tactile and the material is malleable and ‘earthy’. Salt-dough can provide a similar experience. Decorations are often made from salt-dough at Christmas time to adorn Christmas trees, but I think it also lends itself to playful and homely decorations, that can enliven a space at any time of year 😊
1 x Cup of Flour
½ x Cup of Salt
½ x Cup of Water
These simple ingredients are inexpensive and often to hand in the home, and if not, easily found in the supermarket.
I added a little lavender oil to ours just to make it a pleasant sensory experience whilst we were making – it was still possible to smell it, albeit faintly, once cooked.
You can have fun either making something with a clear goal in mind – like this simple project below – or just have some free imaginative fun experimenting and creating whatever comes to mind – animals, creatures, flowers, a play scene – you could even make a little farmyard or favourite holiday scene. One thing to bear in mind is that the bigger/chunkier the creation, the longer it will take to bake.
You can paint your pieces with whatever paint you have to hand – I find acrylic works well at giving a good opaque coverage and of course it’s possible to layer the paint and add more detailed decorations. Acrylic paint pens are a great addition to this craft.
The tutorial below is to make hanging mobiles to decorate your space. I have made my ‘Rainbow Heart Mobile’ in pastel colours because I had these paints & shape cutters to hand, but this would look equally lovely in traditional rainbow colours and if hearts are not your thing, the ‘Sun, Moon and Stars Mobile’ can be made just as easily. Other mobile ideas you could try: ‘Under the Sea’ – jellyfish, star fish, little fish, mermaid, seahorse etc… ‘Spring Garden’ – lots of flowers in bright colours ‘Kawaii’ – make an array of cute Kawaii characters, ‘Space’ – use the bottoms of cups and classes to make circular planet shapes and arrange them in planet order… If you have any alphabet cookie cutters, maybe you could make a word-based mobile saying something simple like ‘Happy’ or ‘Hope’ – make whatever inspires you!
In the tutorial you’ll see how to decorate your basic shapes by printing into them using buttons and beads, or a pencil or skewer – everyday objects you might have to hand at home. Cookie cutters can help, but are not necessary – I used a knife to cut my Sun, Moon and Stars – but do seek help from a grown up or older child if using a knife. When painting – you will use a contrasting colour to fill the indents of your prints – this will bring out the pattern.
Note: there are varying instructions around the internet on how long and what temperature to bake your salt-dough at. I recommend baking small batches at a time to get a feel for how long yours will take, and be open to adjusting the timing. Over the years I have found this does vary a lot, depending on the nature of the shapes being baked. Smaller, thinner shapes should only take between 20-30mins at around 180°C, and more solid shapes can take up to 2 hours!
Sometimes the shape will change slightly in the baking process – but I personally really like the imperfect handmade charm of this and don’t forget that the shapes will come to life in a new way once painted and assembled into a project 😊
Tip: you don’t have to use all your dough in one go – pop it in some beeswax wrap or other food storage device and it can be kept handy for a follow up craft session.
Once you’ve made your mobile be sure to hang it somewhere to inspire you, and…
© Abigail Cole 2021
For more creative ideas visit www.forgetfulfairyartstudio.com
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