Thursday, December 15, 2011

Salt Dough Ornament or Bowl Filler Recipe

Michael, the kids, and I have been making Salt Dough ornaments and bowl fillers for a few years now. Just about every holiday we mix up a batch of salt dough, drag out the cookie cutters, paint, brushes and get creative. It is always so much fun and you get in family time. Which to me, is very important. 

Making salt dough really isn't hard. You only need 3 simple ingredients. Flour, Salt, and Water. That is it.

This is the recipe that I use:

2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Salt
1/2 Cup Water

I mix it all together in a bowl and if it is too dry I just add a drip of water at a time until I get it into a dough that I can knead. I believe the recipe I originally followed called for a whole cup of water, but then it was super sticky and I couldn't knead the dough. It just ended up in globs all over my hands. I had to keep adding in flour. The next time I went with 1/2 the water and it worked out a lot better. It is just easier and less messy for me to add a 1/2 cup of water to begin with and add in a few drips of water at a time if I need it.

The type of flour you use really doesn't matter. I just use whatever I have. I've used both plain and self-rising. Both work well. When I use plain, the ornaments are usually flatter than if I use self-rising. The ornaments shown in this post were made with self-rising which I prefer. I like the puffier {is that a word?} look.

Once I have the dough the way I want it, I cover the bowl with a plate, or put the dough in a Ziploc bag until I am ready to use it. This way it doesn't dry out.

Then, I lay out a big piece of wax paper, sprinkle some flour on it, get myself a rolling pin or a metal cup, put some flour on it too, and get started. I just pinch off a small amount at a time to work with, keeping the rest covered while it isn't being used.

Now is a good time to preheat the oven. Set it to 300 degrees.

Next, roll out the dough {about 1/4 thick}, cut it with a cookie cutter, and place your salt dough cookie on a cookie sheet. Once you have a sheet filled up you can place them in the oven if you are going to make bowl fillers, but if you are going to make ornaments, you need a hole to put your string through. I've tried about every way possible to make the holes, and what works best for me is a Capri-Sun straw. I just take the straw and push through it. The dough goes into the straw and leaves a hole. If the hole doesn't seem big enough, I just wiggle the straw around a little.

Now, put your cookie sheets into the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You want them to be hard but you don't want to burn them. Once they have finished baking, just let them cool a couple minutes and decorate! We usually just paint ours, but in the past we have added glitter too. Don't worry about getting them perfect. We have orange snow men and 1/2 painted stockings all over tree. It is so fun to look back the next year at what our kids have made. Be sure to put your initials and the year on the back.

I have had no issues at all with my ornaments getting soft, breaking, or molding. I know that is a worry for some people. We don't store them a special way. We just put them in a Ziploc bag and drop them down in the tote with the other ornaments to be stored in a closet. Generally we just paint our ornaments or bowl fillers, but if you are concerned you could spray a clear coat on them or dip them in wax. I wouldn't allow children to dip them in wax, but it is OK for adults as long as you are careful.

When I dip mine, I just use an old can of some sort, drop in some paraffin wax, and put it down inside a cooker that has a couple inches of water in the bottom. To act like a double boiler. I boil the water and let the wax melt. Then, use tongs to dip the ornaments into the wax. Instead of paraffin you could use bits of old candles too. Whatever you want is fine. 

Just have FUN! 

I am sharing this post at Farmgirl Friday and Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday!