Best salt dough recipe and how to make a handprint ornament

Easy craft project

This tried-and-tested salt dough recipe includes tips on air drying dough, how to set dough in a microwave, plus a fantastic step-by-step guide to creating 5 moulds, including handprint ornaments and dinosaur fossils.
  • 5-10 minutes
  • 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup table salt, 1 cup water, paints, glitter
  • 2+

Salt dough recipe

  1. Technique
  2. Help your kids to put 2 cups of plain flour and 1 cup of table salt in a bowl and stir.
  3. 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 some paints to add colour to the dough.

What you’ll need: 

Paints or food colouring. We like using washable paints because you have to handle the dough and they won’t stain.

  1. Ask your kids to divide the dough into balls.
  2. Now they add a teaspoon of paint to each ball.
  3. Now your kids fold and squish the dough until the colour rubs in. Add more paint for a stronger colour. If the dough 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!)

Try these 5 fun and easy crafts with your dough.

1. Salt dough dinosaur fossil

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

What to do:

  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. Then simply dry the mould. See tips below.

2. Salt dough flowers

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

What your child does:

  1. To create the rose shape, ask your child to roll out the dough to about 1/2 a cm thick.
  2. Cut a circle with a biscuit cutter. Roll from one side of the circle to the other and pinch one end.
  3. Dry the dough. See tips below.
  4. Paint the flowers.
  5. When the paint dries, glue a pipe cleaner around the pinched end of each flower to create a stalk. We wrapped ours in tissue paper to create a lovely bunch.

3. Salt dough handprint

This handprint makes a cute keepsake – the perfect birthday or Christmas present for a grandparent. 

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

  1. Your child rolls the dough to about 1cm thick and presses their hand into it (they have to press quite hard).
  2. Cut a circle around their print with an extra large biscuit cutter or a knife.
  3. Dry the dough. See tips below.
  4. Let your child choose what colour to paint it.
  5. Once the paint’s dry, they can brush glue inside the hand and sprinkle over glitter.

4. Salt dough unicorn picture

Draw your child’s favourite toy or animal and turn it into a 3D salt dough picture.

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. Next, 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.

5. Salt dough monsters

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

What to do:

  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!*

OVEN: Alternatively, put the moulds into a cool oven (90F) for about 4 hours.

Or leave the moulds in a cool dry place for between 24-48 hours (thinner designs will dry quicker).

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 on BBC Good Food