Easy Homemade Salt Dough Recipe

This is such an easy salt dough recipe and your toddler or preschooler will love helping you to make it...

...and they will love playing with it even more!

This recipe for salt dough requires common and cheap household ingredients and very little time and effort.

Salt Dough can be used for a variety of easy crafts for kids, including making fun ornaments for Christmas.

Once cooked, it can easily be painted or decorated and will last for years.

Basic Recipe

Note: Depending on the amount of you need - increase or decrease the quantities of this recipe.

What You Need:

  • 3 cups plain flour - plus extra for kneading
  • 1/2 cup of fine salt (table salt)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups water
  • bowl
  • wooden spoon
What To Do:
  1. Put the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon until crumbly.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic - 5 to 10 minutes (kids love this part).
  4. Start making fun things.

Note: If the dough is too sticky - add more flour, or if it's too crumbly - add more water.

salt dough recipe

salt dough recipe

salt dough recipe

Variations to make your own dough

You can add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. The oil will make the dough a little easier to knead and work with.

Once your child has created ornaments, figurines or whatever else, it's time to dry.

If you would like your child's creations to last for years, the salt dough needs to be dried out properly.

It can either be air dried - but that takes way too long...or it can be dried (baked) in a slow oven.

Baking Salt Dough

It's important that your oven temperature does not exceed 150C / 300F otherwise the ornament may not dry out in the middle.

What To Do:
  1. Have your child place their little creations onto a baking paper lined tray.
  2. You can then place the tray in the oven.
  3. Depending on the thickness and size of the Christmas ornaments, drying times will vary from 1/2 hour to 3 hours.
  4. Check the items regularly, and once they feel rock hard they're ready.
  5. Allow to cool completely before painting and decorating.

Air Drying Salt Dough

If you have the time, and your child has the patience, you can leave their little creations to dry naturally. Depending on the thickness and size, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days to dry.

Note: In some climates, the salt dough can go mouldy before drying out completely.

Colouring Salt Dough

Coloring is a fun way to add a bit of colour to your kid's crafts. It's also much easier to add colour to the dough before making things - than what it is to paint dried creations.

It's really easy - and here's how to do it:

Using Food Coloring

Simply add about a tablespoon of food coloring to the water in Step 2 of the basic recipe above. Then continue with the recipe.

Depending on how much food colouring you use - and you don't need to use much - you can get some pretty vivid colours. Although, it can stain your hands when kneading the dough - if you use too much.

recipe for salt dough

recipe for salt dough

recipe for salt dough

Using Paint

Another way to color salt dough is by using paint, however this can get very messy and takes ages to work the paint into the dough. If you need a long activity to keep the kids busy - this is the way to go.

You can use acrylic paint - very messy and you need about 1/2 cup of paint to get a decent color - but fun for kids...

...or, you can use Tempera Paint Powder - not too messy, but caution must be taken to prevent kids breathing in the powdered paint dust. It can also take a bit of time to work the colour through the dough - and you'll need about 3 tablespoons or more for a vivid colour.

recipe for salt dough

recipe for salt dough

recipe for salt dough

Tips for Playing with and Storing Salt Dough


Salt dough can be treated just like play dough. Cookie cutters, rolling pins, shaped stamps, blocks, jar lids and other fun gadgets, bit and bobs can be used to make fun things out of the dough.

Here's a recipe for play dough.

If you need more ideas what kind of ornaments you can make, these books will be of great help.

Storing Dough

Salt dough can be stored in the fridge - wrapped in plastic - for up to a couple of days.

When not in use - cover it with plastic or put in a large plastic zip lock bag, or store in an airtight container.

Click here to find more fun kids craft ideas.

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