Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Salt Dough Decorations

                                                              Salt Dough Decorations
Salt Dough Recipe;
1 cup of salt,
2 cups of flour
and 3/4 to 1 cup of lukewarm water.
(The amt of water depends on relative humidity.)
Mix the salt and flour together in a bowl, using spatula. Then add the water until a large ball has formed. Knead ball of dough at length on a lightly floured work surface
(somewhere smooth and easy to clean).
The quality of dough you finish with will depend on the time spent on kneading. If the dough is sticky add a mix in the right proportions of flour and salt, or keep adding flour to your bench.
Salt dough variations;
You can use coarse sea salt to get a rustic effect if you want.
Replace 2 tablespoons measure of flour with buckwheat flour
thus the mixture is easier to work with.
You can add glycerin which makes modelling easier,
or wallpaper paste (glue) to make stronger models.
Salt dough can be coloured prior to baking with natural colour e.g. coffee grounds, tumeric, chocolate powder or with gouache or food colouring.
Any leftovers will keep for a couple of days in a sealed container in the fridge.
Last Christmas Dylan's Preschool made christmas stars to thread & hang
which is where i got the idea.
I used cookie cutters for my shapes. roll out dough with a floured rolling pin to @ 1cm thick.
Cut out shapes required ( I used a tree, star, love heart & teddy bear cookie cutter). Re group leftover dough & repeat until used up.
I did actually put food colouring in my mix of green in half & red in half but it comes out quite a soft colour & for this purpose i wanted bright colour.
Make a hole in your decorations big enough (for the child
to thread) prior to cooking them. {If you forget you could drill holes but they may crack if your cooked dough is thin.}
I used a pointy nozzle from a paint bottle to make my holes.
Bake in a slow oven, so i baked mine at 120oc for a few hours to ensure they were really hard & dry.
Allow to cool, then paint (acrylic paint) & decorate. we painted ours then sprinkled glitter on the wet paint also. Using wrapping ribbon we threaded each decoration & hung some on the ceiling & some on our xmas tree.
Now a wee tip if you live in a humid climate lacquer them also, as the humidity can make them go soft again (like a stale biscuit & drop off their ribbon) Ideally spray can varnish or lacquer if you can get it, if not paint on varnish. You can re-dry them in the oven if they're not varnish'd & have gone soft (i only did this once while waiting to go shopping & grab some varnish, i don't know if you can keep putting them back in the oven, the glitter & paint were not affected.)
We have our decorations stored in the dry hot water cupboard in an airtight container & hopefully theyre not going mouldy!!! As next christmas i want to get them out & show Dylan what he made when he was 2 , he sat for over an hour decorating them i have never seen him sit so still. I did the process over a couple pf days to keep up interest first day we made the dough & cut them & baked them. Then a couple of days later we painted , decorated & threaded them, then next day we hung them.
They make a great pressie wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon too.

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