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Salt Dough Recipe

Posted by  ·  March 14, 2019  ·  Last Updated: March 16, 2019

Learn how to make salt dough with step by step pictures. The best part about making this salt dough recipe is it’s easy! You probably already have all the ingredients right in your cabinet– salt, flour, and water.

If you love squishy crafts at your house! Learn how to make slime (this recipe really works)  or whip up my playdough recipe. Making kinetic sand  (aka moonsand) is also another fun activity. My kid’s favorite gooey fun activity is to make oobleck.

child wearing salt dough bead necklace

This salt dough recipe is not just great for beads,  try your hand at making salt dough ornaments.  It also works great to make keepsake salt dough handprint ornaments.

Do remember to allow time for making salt dough ornaments and beads. It takes an hour to bake and then it is a good idea to let them air dry for a few days before decorating.

Salt Dough Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil (optional – however, I think it gives the dough a nice consistency)
  • 3/4  to 1 cup water

How to Make Salt Dough

Combine flour, salt, oil and water in a bowl.  Mix well. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead dough for about 5 – 10 minutes on a floured surface. If the dough is too dry, add a little bit more water. If too sticky, add a little bit of flour. Be sure to adjust with tiny amounts of flour or water. You can always add more. 

How to Make Salt  Dough Ornaments and Beads

Begin making beads by rolling small pieces of dough between hands.

child rolling salt dough between hands

Use a skewer to make a hole in the middle of the bead. Make the holes really large. The dough will shrink during baking.

child forming salt dough bead

To make  Christmas ornaments and pendants for a necklace use cookie cutters to cut out the dough into various shapes. If making an ornament and want to use something wider than string for hanging use a straw to make the hole at the top of the ornament.  Roll or press dough about 1/4  – 1/2 inch thick.

Drying time depends on size and thickness. The thicker the dough the longer it takes to try.  It can also be heavy so for pendants and Christmas tree ornaments so you might want to make those thinner.

cutting salt dough with heart cookie cutter

How do you dry out salt dough?

Once all the beads are made they need to be baked. Bake beads,  pendants or ornaments on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for about an hour (turning once). Once the dough is completely dried it will be super hard and ready to paint. If you have time allowing them to dry a day or so after baking will ensure they are ready to paint.

salt dough before painting

What kind of paint do you use on salt dough?

Yes, you can paint the salt dough after it is dry!  After the beads have been baked, cooled and completely dried they are ready to paint. Acrylic paint works great for painting. If painting isn’t your thing consider tinting the dough with food coloring. The colors do become a bit dull after baking but it really is good a mess-free option.

painted salt dough

How do you seal salt dough ornaments?

Preserve the salt dough with a sealer.  Once the paint has dried, give the beads a coat of clear spray paint. You can also use a thin layer of Mod Podge.  I recommend at least two coats of the sealer. Allow each coat to dry before reapplying more.

painted salt dough beads with can of clear spray paint

Use a yarn needle to thread the beads onto crochet thread (what we used), embroidery floss or yarn. Placing a clip on the end will keep the beads from slipping off the end while stringing.

threaded needle with binder clip on end of string

Carefully thread the beads onto the thread. We used this opportunity to talk about pattern and symmetry.

hands stringing salt dough beads child putting salt dough beads on string

Place necklace around neck and tie in the back. Now you have some bling!

girls wearing salt dough necklaces

Salt Dough Recipe

This easy salt dough recipe is lots of fun to make on a rainy day or any day!

cutting salt dough with heart cookie cutter
5 from 1 vote

Salt Dough

Easy recipe for making the best salt dough!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Author Cindy Hopper


  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil optional
  • 3/4  to 1 cup water


  1. Mix well and knead with hands.

All of your questions answered….

Can you use kosher salt for salt dough?

Yes, but regular table salt will produce a smoother dough.

Is salt dough poisonous to dogs?

Homemade salt dough and also playdough contain large amounts of salt which can be toxic to pets when ingested. If you make salt dough Christmas ornaments hang them high on your tree out of your dog’s reach.

How many years do salt dough ornaments last?

I have an ornament that was made 25 years ago. As long as they were allowed to dry completely and were sealed with a protective coat they should last years.

Why is my salt dough puffing up?

Try rolling out the dough a bit thinner. Also, make sure you use all purpose flour and not self-rising flour.

Filed Under: Crafts for kids

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