Salt dough crafts have been around quite a while. The art of modeling with salt dough dates back to ancient Egypt and other European cultures. You can compare it to commercial Play Doh.
The great thing about salt dough is that is inexpensive and all ingredients needed can be found around the house. There’s no need to run to the store, and it is kid-friendly. The materials are not toxic, but it is not edible. It won’t hurt you, but the salty taste may make you feel sick. Salt dough crafts are not just for the kids. Many adults find it an artistic outlet and create many decorative items.
The basis recipe consists of three items: 2 cups of plain flour (do not use self-rising flour), 1 cup of table salt and 1 cup of water. If you need a larger amount the formula is 2 parts flour, 1 part salt, and 1 part water. Place the flour, salt and water in a large bowl. The mixture will be stiff. Use a wooden spoon and mix until well blended. Remove from the bowl and knead for about 10 minutes. A few teaspoons of vegetable oil will help in kneading the dough. A tablespoon of lemon juice will make the final product harder. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then smooth or roll out to a ¼ or ½ inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, you can cut figures out of the salt dough. Household items like pizza cutters, garlic presses, and jar lids can be used to create ornaments or sculptures. Or simply model with your hands.
Your creations will dry out naturally in three to four days. You can also bake them in the oven at 125 to 175 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Salt dough can be painted with acrylic or watercolor. Coloring can also be added to the dough when first mixing. For long term use, the items should be varnished. Magnets can be made by attaching magnetic tape or gluing magnets on the back of the figures.