9 Neato Things to Make With Salt Dough
Salt dough is so easy to make and satisfying to smush — but did you know you can make super-cool crafts with salt dough, too?
There’s something truly satisfying about playing with salt dough — the way it squishes under your fingers and rolls between your palms. But if your family is like mine, it's hard to know what to do with the dough once you're done smushing it! We fell down the rabbit hole of online crafts for you and returned with 9 salt dough crafts for kids that actually make cute gifts and keepsakes. Rainy day dilemma solved!
1. Salt Dough Beads
Let’s start with the simplest salt dough project there is: making a beaded necklace. Roll the salt dough into small balls, use a pencil to poke a hole all the way through. Then bake, paint and string on a necklace. From start to finish, this activity works fine motor skills and is a good one for your littlest crafters.
2. Salt Dough Pendants
Keeping on the jewelry theme, salt dough pendants take the challenge and the creativity up a notch from beads. You can make any shape you want for the pendant — circle, oval, heart, star, flower — but don’t make it too big, as salt dough can be heavy. I like these easy shell pendants that solve the problem of what to do with all the keepsakes your family brings home from the beach.
3. Dinosaur Fossils
Rope your herd of plastic dinosaurs into helping with craft time and make salt dough dinosaur fossils. Take balls of dough and flatten them, then press your dinosaur into the dough until it leaves an impression. Get creative by making footprints or tail prints, not just heads and bodies. Once your fossils have dried, bury them in the sandbox and host your own archeological dig, or hide them in the backyard for a Jurassic Park-style scavenger hunt.
4. Photo Ornaments
Get the whole family to DIY holiday gifts with a salt dough photo ornament activity. Use a larger and smaller size cookie cutter of the same shape, like a star or heart, to create a shape with a hole in the middle — or use whatever you find in the kitchen (like a spice jar lid) to cut a circular hole out of your design. Once your ornament is dried and decorated, glue a photo to the back with your family member’s face smiling through the gap. Loop some festive colored string for hanging, and wait for the grandparents to ooh and ah.
Any salt dough creation can become fridge decor when you glue a magnet to its back. Just be sure to keep your design small, so it doesn’t pull away from the magnet, fall to the floor, and crack. If you’re looking for inspiration, we love these cute ladybugs (bumblebees would work, too), or do a series of animal faces, letters, or flowers or stars in rainbow colors. Use letter stamps or your best free hand to make message magnets, such as “clean” or “dirty” to stick on the dishwasher.
6. Fingerprint Flowers
Salt dough crafts can be a good way to keep little ones entertained while parents work or do chores. Fingerprint flowers are easy for littles to do on their own. Simply stamp out flowers using a cookie cutter, then press a finger in each petal to form an indent. Decorate the center with perler beads, if you wish, or poke a hole if you’d like to hang your creations. Once baked, paint in bright colors for maximum floweriness.
7. Tea Light Candle Holder
Salt dough candle holders add a cute homemade touch to your dining table or mantelpiece. Take balls of dough and flatten them, leaving them thick, then cut to your preferred shape — maybe a heart for Valentine’s Day or a flower for Mother’s Day. Press a tea light (either a candle or battery-operated) into the dough, so the dough comes nearly all the way up the side of the candle. Take the candle out to bake and decorate, then reinsert into its DIY holder before lighting.
8. Handprint Bowl
If your family likes to make personalized gifts, handprint bowls made out of salt dough are one-of-a-kind creations. Have an adult trace the child’s hand with a sharp knife (or to be extra-cautious, make a handprint and cut the hand shape out). Curve the handprint over an oven-safe bowl, creating a flat section in the palm area, with the fingers and heel of the hand curving around the sides of the bowl. Once dry, the painted handprint bowl is a cute keepsake for holding keys or rings.
With a handful of perler beads or pony beads, these salt-dough suncatchers are a next-level craft (best done with the assistance of a grownup). Use the salt dough to create a circle with a pattern in the middle, transfer to a baking sheet, and then fill with transparent pony beads and bake. The beads will melt to create a stained-glass effect when the sun shines through. Pretty!
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Roll up your sleeves, cause we're about to get clazy!
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