How to make salt dough

You can make simple salt dough from everyday ingredients in your kitchen cupboards. Save money and keep the kids entertained with this thrifty kitchen craft.

Salt dough being painted

Making salt dough is a really fun and easy activity for kids and the chances are you will have all of the ingredients in the cupboard ready to go on a rainy day. Children will love using their imaginations to create all sorts of exciting objects (although simple shapes do seem to work best) and hours of fun painting their creations, but do take care to remind little ones that the salt dough is not edible.

Makes 1 ball
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 3 hours

  • 1 cupful of plain flour (about 250g)

  • half a cupful of table salt (about 125g)
  • half a cupful of water (about 125ml)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until it comes together into a ball.

3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and shape into your chosen model. You can roll it out and cut out shapes, numbers or letters using biscuit cutters, or make any kind of model you can think of. We made some fruit and veg shapes plus cupcakes for a teddy bear’s picnic.

4. Put your finished items on the lined baking sheet and bake for 3 hrs or until solid.

5. Leave to cool and then paint.

Boy in blue t-shirt painting salt dough

Top tips

• Simple designs work best, as the dough isn’t sturdy until baked. If your child can’t decide between a tall giraffe or a flatter gecko, for example, steer them towards the gecko. Also bear in mind that the bigger/fatter the model, the longer it will take to harden in the oven.

• Try using silicone baking sheets to roll out the shapes without the need for extra flour. This saves on cleaning up your kitchen. Silicone sheets are also a quick way to bake without needing baking parchment.

• If you want to make salt dough 'cupcakes' like we did, pop your shaped dough into cupcake cases before you put it in the oven and bake the pretend cakes in cupcake trays. The dough then sets firmly stuck to the paper cases, ready for painting with pretend icing, cherries or sprinkles.

For inspiration, visit our friends at 5 Minute Fun and discover 5 ideas for using salt dough.

Like this? Try our other activities for kids:

How to make playdough
How to make a bath bomb
Cooking projects for kids
Fun baking projects for kids
Foodie fun for kids, whatever the weather
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