How To Make Salt Dough Christmas Decorations


I went to Hillcrest Primary school in Bristol to teach the kids how to make salt dough Christmas decorations. Here's how to do it.

By Kirstie Allsopp

  • Salt
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Olive oil
  • A rolling pin
  • Pastry cutters in various shapes
  • Some paint - you can use anything from acrylics to metallic sprays and glitter glue
  • A pinny - it's a messy business, especially when the kids get involved




Minimal; hardly anything for the salt dough itself. Pastry cutters cost under a pound each and you can use pretty much any type of paint you like.


A couple of hours.


Step One: Make the Dough

The recipe for salt dough is half, half, whole. Half a cup of salt and half a cup of water to a whole cup of flour. Put the salt and flour into a bowl, then add the water slowly to the dry mix. After about ten minutes of kneading, it should form a soft, pliant ball.

If it's slightly too sticky, add more flour and if it's slightly too dry, add more water. If the dough still doesn't form a ball that you can mould into shapes, don't worry - the ingredients are so cheap, you can just throw it away and start again!


Step Two: Cut the Dough Into Shapes

Once you've got your ball, roll it out and cut it into shapes using pastry cutters. If it starts to dry out while you're moulding shapes, use a little bit of olive oil to moisturise the dough. If you're making hanging ornaments, don't forget to make a little hole for hanging.


Step Three: Harden the Shapes in the Microwave

Once the shapes are ready, they need two or three minutes in the microwave to harden them up. Put them onto a layer of greaseproof paper, on a plate.

If you don't have a microwave, you can leave them to air-dry for a day or two, or you can put them into a very low oven until they're hard. You might need to cover them with foil if they start to go brown before they're done!


Step Four: Paint the Decorations

Once the shapes are out of the oven, give them a while to cool down before starting to decorate them.

You can paint salt dough with pretty much any paint, from acrylics to metallic sprays. There’s even glitter glue, which I love! Finish by coating with a clear varnish if you'd like to use the decorations next year.


Step Five: Appreciate the Result

I was bowled over by how creative the kids of Hillcrest were with their designs. Salt dough is such a simple and cheap way of sculpting whatever takes your fancy - if you don’t mind a bit of mess, everyone should give it a go.


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