Making Salt Dough Ornaments

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts
April 23, 2012
A salt dough ornament on a Christmas tree.


  • 4 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • water


Mix together flour and salt with a big wooden spoon. Slowly stir in the water. Keep mixing until the dough follows the spoon around the bowl and then knead with your hands until smooth. Pull out a ball of dough and place on floured surface.

With your rolling pin, thin out the dough to about 1/4 inch. Use cookie cutters, knives or other kitchen utensils to mold the dough in the shape of your wishes.

Bake at 300 degrees F for about 2 hours. Check frequently and turn oven down if project begins to brown. My preferred method is to allow to air dry. This usually takes a good 24 hours.

More uses for flour salt dough include adding them into a greased mold and pressing gently until all of mold is filled. Pop out and allow to dry. If you want to hang them add a hole made by a straw or a ornament hanger to the top of the pieces.

Once dry, paint them. Dough will last up to 2 weeks in sealed bag in refrigerator.

Source: Mother's recipe

By gem from VA

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 166 Posts
December 14, 2010

One of the best ways I get into the holiday spirit is to make something fun with my grand-kids. Get together to make homemade ornaments from baker's clay

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December 22, 2010

Fun with the kids, great for this time of year, but can be used for any holiday or event.

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7 Questions

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November 26, 2009

When I was in elementary school a parent made dough ornaments shaped in our names. Does anyone know how these were made?

By Jeanine from Rush, NY


November 28, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Are you thinking about dough art? If so, use the following:

4 cups flour
2 cups salt
Approx 2 cups water

Mix flour & salt with fork in a large mixing bowl. Then add water. Knead dough with hands until it is fairly stiff. Work directly on cookie sheet.


After shaping, add a loop of wire stuck into the top of the dough then bake at 300 degrees F for at least one hour. After baking, you can paint them and dip or spray them with varnish or polyurethane.

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November 29, 2008

Does anyone have a good recipe for salt dough? I need one that I can brown in the oven as I am making little scented pies, and I don't want them white! Thanks!


November 29, 20080 found this helpful

You can tint the dough using tea instead of water, or adding a little instant coffee to the water before you mix.

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By Karen (Guest Post)
November 30, 20080 found this helpful

I saw a lady on HGTV who appeared to be adding Hershey's cocoa powder to her ornament dough to make the color a little bit deeper.

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December 3, 20080 found this helpful

I think what you are looking for is Baker's clay...I used it often for tree decorations...gingerbread men were the children's favorite and they helped make and paint them too:) :


Baker's Clay:
4 c. unsifted flour
1 c. salt
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 c. slight warm water

Combine salt and water in bowl. Stir to dissolve salt.
Add flour gradually, mixing with hands.
If dough is too stiff, add more water, a little at a time.
Remove dough from bowl and knead 4-6 minutes. Dough should be warm, soft, and elastic, with no grimy feel.
Shape into desired ornaments or mushroom shapes for plaques, etc.
Press dough through strainer or garlic press for strings, grass, hair. To add pieces for eyes, cheeks, hair, moisten with water before putting in place.
Remember to make a holes for hanging ornaments or insert 1/2 paper clips or ornament hangers in soft dough.
Bake in pre-heated oven 350 degrees for 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours or more, depending on thickness of the piece.


It should be hard and brownish when done.
Lift from sheets with spatula and cool on racks.
Options: Brush with evaporated milk before baking to give a glaze and slighter browner color.
Paint with acrylic or water color or poster paints or food coloring.
Spray with a clear polyurethane to prevent softening.
Decorate with sequins, cloth, buttons, etc. if desired.
Hang on tree with string, ribbon or elastic cord.
Use dough within 24 hours (keep in refrigerator) or it becomes to hard or sticky.

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December 6, 20080 found this helpful

This is the receipe for HOMEMADE SALT DOUGH

Salt Dough

2 cups of salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup cornstarch
additional 1/3 cup COLD water
and acrylic paint or food coloring


Place salt and 2/3 cup water in small saucepan and heat until quite warm.
Remove from heat. Mix cornstarch and COLD water together, add to salt
mixture stirring constantly. Return pan to heat and keep stirring until
mixture forms a smooth mass. Turn out on a plate and cover with damp cloth
until cool. work in color as desired or leave natural. Covered (zip bag)
& refrigerated, Salt Dough will keep indefinitely.

Shape on foil covered cookie sheet and let dry (Several hours in a warm
oven or several days at room temperature). You can sand rough edges with an
emery board when dry.

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December 7, 20080 found this helpful

Just a tip. One year I spent several hundred hours making salt dough bowls and plates decorated with raised elephants, lions, etc. I painted them with craft paints and they were really beautiful. However, salt dough will not last unless you seal the finish. It will absorb moisture from the air and become soft, and even mold. I brushed polyurethane on several items, and was shocked when it completely ruined the painted finish.


Spraying items with fast drying clear acrylic, sold along with the craft paints works great every time and the more coats the better (5 is best). Another tip is to paint the baked salt dough with gesso before painting with the craft paints - for a much nicer finish.

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By Roberta in hot Florida (Guest Post)
December 20, 20080 found this helpful

If you brush your salt dough with a little water before you bake them, they will get browner.

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November 24, 20090 found this helpful

Use food dye.

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December 6, 2011

I have made a salt dough "house". It is quite flat, but even on the thinnest part I have noticed that it still seems a little soft on the back even after around 15 hours in a slow oven. The problem is I painted the front of it and varnished the front as well. Is there any way I can "dry out" the back of it because if I varnish straight over it then I would be sealing the moisture in. I presume putting it back in the oven is out since the varnish fumes would not be good for us!

By Jill P

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