Last week at Gabriel's Art Kids we dove into and kneaded our way through salt dough. The children helped to mix the parts of salt, flour and water together to create their dough. We divided it into equal parts and flattened them into pancakes and away they went. The took all different types of leaves; maples, pine, hosta, and oak and pressed them into the pancake shaped salt dough. Some of the children choose to trace the outline of their leaf, while others cut their leaf shapes out.
Once the leaves were done I baked them at 200 degrees for a few hours, until they where hard and completely white. A higher temperature would have cooked them faster but would have also browned them. If you are going to completely paint the entire piece of dough the brown doesn't matter, however, I was unsure of what the little artists had in mind so I kept them white just in case.
We used acrylic paint to add color to our baked dough and the children even found some glitter to add on top to give it that extra sparkle. I topped them with a clear acrylic matte varnish to give them a nice shine. I think they turned out fabulous!
1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup luke warm water
1. In a large bowl mix salt and flour.
2. Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency.
3. With your hands form a ball with your dough and kneed it for at least 5 minutes. The longer you kneed your dough the smoother it will be.
Store your salt dough in a air tight container and you will be able to use it for days.
You can paint your creations with acrylic paints and seal with varnish or polyurethane spray.
You can let your salt dough creations air dry, however salt dough can also be dried in the oven. Bake at 200 F until your creation is dry. The amount of time needed to bake your creations depends on size and thickness; thin flat ornaments may only take 45-60 minutes, thicker creations can take 2-3 hours or more. You can increase your oven temperature to 350 F, your dough will dry faster but it may also brown, which won't matter if you are painting your entire creation (you can also cover your dough in the oven before it turns brown).
There are a few options to color your salt dough: 1. Add powdered tempera paint to your flour, 2. add food coloring or paint to the water before you mix it with the salt/flour, or 3. add natural coloring like instant coffee, cocoa, or curry powder.