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Making Salt Dough Ornaments

Category Ornaments
Salt dough ornaments are a great, kid-friendly Christmas crafts. These simple ornaments can last for many years. This is a page about making salt dough ornaments.


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By 7 found this helpful
April 23, 2012


  • 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

Comment Was this helpful? 7

By 7 found this helpful
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




Roll out the clay, cut it into shapes with cookie cutters and make a small hole through the top for a hanger. Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or more. Let the ornaments cool then decorate them with poster paints or acrylics.

After Christmas, store your ornaments in an airtight cookie tin or gift box, and use them again next year. My girls remember doing this when they were growing up and now my grand-kids are having fun doing their own ornaments.

By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX

Comment Was this helpful? 7

December 22, 2010

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



Knead well until it forms a soft ball. You can add a scent like cinnamon if desired. You can use food coloring to color dough before you bake it, or paint it afterward. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, make the shapes you want (you can roll out and use cookie cutters), put metal paperclip through top of ornament if making hanging type and bake in the oven at 300 degrees F or until hard (about one hour).


Paint or use markers, glitter, etc. to decorate The possibilities are endless. I made these with my grandchildren which they gave as gifts to their parents.

A finishing coat of shellac or clear acrylic will make your salt clay products last longer.

Source: Out of my mother's recipe box

By llpensinger from Ocean City, MD

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
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, 20110 found this helpful

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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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 29, 20080 found this helpful

Making salt dough ornaments can be great fun.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1-1/2 cups hot tap water
  • coloring
  • cookie cutters
  • plastic utensils


  • Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl.

  • Gradually add the water* to the dough as you mix until you have soft dough.

    * If you want colored dough, add a couple drops of food coloring to the water.

  • Add extra water or flour if needed to create the consistency necessary for rolling out the dough.

  • Once the dough is ready, roll it out flat to the desired thickness. 1/4 inch or so seems to work well. You can roll it out thicker but it will take longer to bake.

  • You can use cookie cutters or plastic knives to cut shapes out of the dough. Carve features onto the shapes using plastic utensils and if you are going to use them as a hanging ornament, poke a hole towards the top before baking. Dip your cookie cutter in flower before using, it will make the ornament easier to remove from the cookie cutter.

  • Bake the shapes in the oven at 200F until the dough has hardened completely. The cook time will vary depending on how thick the dough is.

  • Once the shapes have been cooked they can be decorated with paints or markers.

  • Then coat the shapes with varnish or polyurethane spray if you want to preserve them.

The dough can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container but is best if used within 24 hours.

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