Best salt dough recipe and how to make a handprint ornament

Follow this tried and tested recipe to make a batch of salt dough and then use it to make some simple crafts.

Basic dough: use two basic household ingredients and bit of kneading.

  1. Help your kids to put 2 cups of plain flour and 1 cup of table salt in a bowl and stir.
  2. Now they add 1 cup of water and use their hands to bring the mixture into a dough. (It should be quite dry.)

Coloured dough: grab the paints to add some life to your dough.


  1. Ask your kids to divide the dough into balls.
  2. Now they add a spoonful of children’s ready-mixed paint to each ball. (We like washable paint because it doesn’t stain.)
  3. Now your kids fold and squish the dough until the colour rubs in. If it gets too wet, add more flour.

Glitter dough: to give it some added sparkle!

Just let your kids add glitter to the basic dough or coloured dough, and fold and squish to work it in. (We promise, it’s not too messy! As long as they don’t spill the glitter.)

TIME TO GET CREATIVE! Try these 5 fun and easy crafts with your dough.

Top tip: thinner dough dries quicker. (Scroll down for more drying tips.)

1 Bunch of flowers: perfect for gifting to friends or family.

You’ll need: salt dough, a rolling pin, biscuit cutters, paint. Plus pipe cleaners, glue and tissue paper (optional).

  1. Your children roll out the dough and cut a circle with a biscuit cutter. Now they roll from one side to the other and pinch one end.
  2. Dry the dough See tips below.
  3. If you used basic dough, your child can paint the flowers using their usual paints.
  4. When the paint dries, they glue a pipe cleaner around the pinched end of each flower to create a stalk. We wrapped ours in tissue paper to create a bunch.

2 Handprint keepsake: to help you make memories that last.

You’ll need: salt dough, a rolling pin, biscuit cutters (or plastic knife), paint, glue and glitter.

  1. Your child rolls the dough and presses their hand into it (they have to press quite hard!).
  2. You can cut a circle around their print with an extra large biscuit cutter or a knife.
  3. Dry the dough. See tips below.
  4. If you used basic dough, now your kids choose what colour to paint it.
  5. Once the paint’s dry, they can paint glue inside the hand and sprinkle over glitter.

3 Shimmery unicorn: turn your salt dough into this magical masterpiece.

You’ll need: salt dough, a rolling pin, plastic knife, glitter dough, coloured dough, black pen.

  1. Ask your child to draw a unicorn on card and snip it out.
  2. Now they roll out the glitter dough and cut around the unicorn shape using a plastic knife. It’s best to do this directly onto a baking tray covered in baking paper as the dough can stick to the surface (and that way it can go straight in the oven).
  3. Finally, they roll out coloured dough and cut a wavy mane to add to the unicorn.
  4. Dry the unicorn. See tips below.
  5. Finally, draw to give the unicorn an eye and a smile.

4 Dinosaur fossil: this easy idea is great for dino-mad kids!

You’ll need: salt dough, a rolling pin, a small plastic toy.

  1. Your child rolls a thicker piece of dough and presses a toy dinosaur or animal into the dough so that it leaves an imprint.
  2. Dry the mould. See tips below.

You can watch a video of this idea here.

5 Little Monsters: grab some googly eyes to make these fun friends!

You’ll need: salt dough, a rolling pin, biscuit cutters or a plastic knife, googly eyes, black pen.

  1. Your child rolls out the dough and uses the biscuit cutter or a plastic knife to cut monstrous shapes.
  2. Dry the dough. See tips below.
  3. Then they can paint them and add googly eyes and draw on smiles.

Salt dough drying tips

MICROWAVE: The quickest method to dry dough is in the microwave, but the dough will probably rise a bit. If you want a speedy technique and your kids aren’t fussy, it takes about 1 minute – check it every 10 seconds.

* Good for monsters as they can be any shape!*

Alternatively, put the moulds into a cool oven (90F) for about 4 hours. This will split the activity into two – so today’s all about making moulds and tomorrow (or next week) is about painting them.

* Best for handprints as you might lose the shape of the hand in the microwave.*

Find more top tips for crafting with salt dough here.