Salt Dough Crafting
By Jill Black
Folk art and in particular the art of making craft objects using
salt dough has become a very popular hobby in recent years.
To get started requires only the minimum of equipment and
materials most of which will already be in your kitchen.
to mix your dough
rolling pin for producing smooth sheets of dough
grater for making decorative imprints on your dough
garlic press for making strands for hair and foliage
pointed knife for cutting and indenting details
assortment of pastry cutters and moulds for decorative shapes found at any
To make your salt dough I have found the following recipe to be
a good all round recipe for most projects:
of Plain Flour (net self-raising)
Fine grained plain salt
water at room temperature
Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl and then add the water.
Knead the mixture for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Cover with cling wrap to stop the dough drying out and let the
dough sit for 30 minutes before using.
Two other recipes that I often use, depending on the project I
am working on, include a Fine dough for filigree work
salt 100g cornstarch
And a Firm Dough for making tiles and plates
tablespoons wallpaper paste
Make these recipes up the same way as the basic recipe.
Fresh dough is best for modeling. However, if you find you have
any leftover dough it can be wrapped in cling wrap or an airtight container and
stored in a cool place for a few days.
To improve the elasticity of the dough add dry wallpaper paste
to the basic mixture.
The addition of 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil improves
suppleness of the dough and make it easier to work with.
Different colored dough's can be made using...
coloring (red, green, blue, or yellow). Two or more food colors can be
combined to make
different colors and shades or for a marbled dough effect.
spices that act as natural dyes e.g. cinnamon, curry powder, saffron or paprika.
cocoa powder or instant coffee for different hues of brown.
Wearing protective gloves add a little paint to the mixture then knead the dough
until the paint
is uniformly distributed through the mix.
The dough is now ready to use and the next step is to shape your
For flat or rolled projects it is best to roll out the dough
straight onto a baking sheet then it can be put straight into the oven.
Models or larger pieces can be assembled on a piece of hardboard
that has been oiled with vegetable oil to prevent it sticking to the board
When finished and happy with your results you have a choice of
Air Drying or baking your project in the oven.
Ensuring your projects are correctly dried ensures they will
last a long time so it is important that this is not hurried.
Air drying is suitable for flat, small pieces or for colored
pieces where baking will alter the color of the finished project.
Oven drying is the most popular method and requires careful
attention to accurate temperature control to avoid burning.
Bake for approx 2 hours using a low temperature setting 50-70C
for the first half hour then increase temperature slowly to 90-100C and cook
until the piece is uniform in color.
While baking if any air bubbles appear pierce the bubbles with a
pin and gently depress the dough.
If the dough starts to darken before cooking is complete cover
with a piece of aluminum foil.
The dough is cooked when it hard and sounds hollow when tapped.
Turn the oven off and leave in oven until cool.
Any burns can be sandpapered off with fine- medium grade
sandpaper. An Emery board or small file can be used for delicate or intricate
sanding on objects.
Your finished project Projects can be left unpainted but they
must be sealed on all sides with varnish, gloss or matt for protection otherwise
they will not last long when exposed to air.
When thoroughly dry sand any imperfections.
At this stage you can paint your projects then seal with a final
coat of varnish.
Brightly colored pieces will look more vibrant painted with a
glossy finish and neutral muted colors are suited to a matt finish.
Using a polyurethane varnish on food colored models instead of
water-based varnish helps to intensify the color.
That's it! Happy modeling
Copyright J Black. For more
articles and craft ideas visit Jill online at http://www.netwrite-publish.com