18th December 2013 Helen 3Comment

There are precious few things that guarantee the parent’s of toddlers a few minutes silence, a solo trip to the loo – and maybe even a cup of tea. One toddler playing hairdresser to the other does it.  The rummaging of those little hands in a handbag and the discovery of mascara does it. Thankfully, in our house, painting has similar magical powers and – thankfully, causes less lasting damage.  Last week, on the strength of these little salt dough wonders I got a dinner made – and all for the price of washing the crafty table cloth and bunging the dirty protesters in the shower.


If you’re looking for a crafty, cheap and easy hour-long distraction, these are a winner!  It couldn’t be easier. You make the dough – thankfully it tastes awful so not even my kids were tempted to try eating it. Roll it and cut out shapes using cookie cutters – we had some Christmassy ones from Ikea. Bake and cool and unleash the beasts to paint. It’s that simple.


Salt Dough

1 cup salt

2 cups plain flour

1 cup lukewarm water 


1. In a large bowl mix the salt and flour.
2. Gradually adding the water, mix the dough until it comes together.  This takes about one minute using a mixer with dough hook attachment or a bit longer by hand.
3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively hand knead for about 5 minutes.

At this point you can store the dough in an airtight container – where it will last a few days, or use straight away.
4.  Preheat oven to about 120C.
5. Roll the dough flat on a floured surface to about 0.5cm thick and cut out shapes using a knife or cookie cutter. Before transferring to a baking sheet, use a small straw to cut out a little hole that you can use later to threading twine / ribbon through.
6. Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake for about 3 hours.  This makes sure they are well dried out and very firm but unlikely to colour.
7. Remove and allow to cool before unleashing the kids to do the decorating with acrylic paints, glitter glues or any other garish delight that captures their fancy.
In the meantime put the kettle on, go to the loo and don’t think about the inevitable cleaning up that follows.

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