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:

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How to make a pom-pom
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As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.

 

Comments, questions and tips

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majallen
4th Aug, 2020
We tried this yesterday. The mixture was way too wet so added more flour. Its now been in the oven for over 24 hours and its still not properly hard on the bottom. Been on 50c but now turned it up to 70 to try and speed things up
daniellehodge100's picture
daniellehodge100
16th Jul, 2020
What temperature is best as the lowest temperature on my oven is 40degrees so can’t imagine that’s what they mean?
lulu_grimes's picture
lulu_grimes
17th Jul, 2020
Hi, If that's 40C then that is very low, use 100C fan or 110C non fan. I hope that helps. Lulu
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