Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Crafts

 Salt Dough Decorations

List of Materials
Cookie Cutters
Rolling Pin
Paint Brush
I have come across a number of salt dough recipes in my time but the simplest is the best. Combine for ingredients in a large bowl. the ratio should be half a cup of salt and water for every one cup of flour. I begin mixing with a fork or spoon and finish with my hands. The best advice I have found with salt dough was to knead until the ingredients are full combined and the dough is smooth. Then leave to prove for about twenty minutes. Keep your surface floured when kneading and add flour if the dough is still to wet.
After the proving time you should be left with a nice smooth dough that you can roll out and start cutting shapes from. The thinner the dough the less tie they will take to dry. For this activity I chose Christmas cookie cutters but you can cut any shapes you like.
Maybe, experiment with different templates you could cut out of card. I have in the past used autumn leafs and cut around them. They leave a lovely pattern in the dough if you roll them gently over the top. I went one step further and dried them over a bowl. If you want to dry in an oven make sure you use an oven proof dish.

If you are going to hand your decorations, use a cocktail stick or a pencil to pierce wholes in the shapes. Remember the whole will shrink when you dry them in the oven. I personally set my oven to 50-100 degrees and leave to dry for 2-3 hours. Turn halt way through cooking time. It is possible to air dry but I find this can take many days. I have tried using suggested methods for the microwave but the dough does tend to bulk and sometimes crack. The suggested drying time in a microwave on full power is three minutes. Again turning half way through cooking time.
Once your shapes are dried, your free to decorate your shapes a you please. For this activity I chose to use metallic paint and add glitter before the paint dried. I finished with threading some ribbon through the whole, completing the decoration. Leaving it ready to hang upon any Christmas tree. These decorations are great for children to make for a Christmas Fayre or as a family activity at home.