Salt Dough Experiment for the Best Recipe

Welcome to 11th edition of 12 Months of Sensory Dough where 12 KBN Bloggers will bring you their special spin on a popular sensory dough. This month’s feature… Salt DoughOur hope is to provide a resource where you can find all things Sensory Dough in one place. This month had a lot of fun testing and experimenting with thickness and temperature to find the perfect Salt Dough Recipe!

Best Salt Dough Experiment

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WHAT IS SALT DOUGH?

 Simply put, SALT DOUGH is…  a dough that is primarily used for crafting and creating when hardened.

According to popular recipes and pictures found on Pinterest, you might describe Salt Dough as:

Moldable

Hardening

Versatile

Almost all of the recipes are the same, with a few changes for color, texture or scents (which we will explore next month).

As you will read from my co-hosts, there are a few variations and differing opinions as to the proportions, temperatures and how to make it. Let’s find out more about it!

WHAT SHOULD SALT DOUGH LOOK LIKE?

What is Salt Dough

According to my good friends at Imagination Tree, Red Ted Art, and Tinkerlab,  Salt Dough should be moldable and pliable, allowing you to create anything your heart desires. It should harden if left out  in the air or baked in the oven, creating a long lasting keepsake.

If you click through you will read the ingredients vary, as do the methods to accomplish the preservation. But one thing is consistent across all the recipes…

The Hardness and Versatility

 So we set out to figure out the best SALT DOUGH RECIPE and learn the science behind it!

WHAT EXPERIMENT DID WE DO WITH SALT DOUGH?

When we first realized we had Salt Dough for this month, we were pretty excited. In fact, it is the reason I came up with this series a year ago. We were making salt dough, experimenting with textures and trying new things, when I thought it would be really fun to see what others do with their sensory dough recipes.

How do you make Salt Dough

We first had to begin by making our salt dough recipe. It was simple enough that my 7 year old was able to make it himself and did a great job at it.

Universal Salt Dough Recipe

Equal Parts Flour and Salt, 1/2 part warm water
Mix all the ingredients

See, simple….

Once we had our dough just right, it was time to make sure it was moldable and feeling perfect. So, of course we made a gigantic ball out of it. (Bones especially loved this part.)

the perfect salt dough recipe

Salt dough can be a tricky dough. The recipe itself is super simple! 3 Ingredients… Flour, Salt, and Water. The instructions are simple… Mix, knead, roll, mold and dry. So why is salt dough so tricky?

The trick to salt dough come in the drying process. Many sites mention that the thickness of their dough made for the perfect ornaments, but how thick is perfect? Other sites mention letting the dough air dry, some mention cooking at 150 degrees F, while others mention 200 degrees F. We set out to find the answers.

how thick should salt dough be

Our first test was to test the thickness of the dough to see if it effected the rate of drying. We rolled out the dough, measured it, and then cut it with a lid (any shape will work).  We repeated this with 1/4 cm, 1/2 cm, 1 cm, and 2 cm. We marked our dough and waited. It was 10:38am.

Making the Perfect Salt Dough

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. When we hit 10:38 THE NEXT DAY, we realized we needed to also test temperature. So we made another batch, this time making 2 more sets of circles. We put them on a tray and placed them in two ovens. We tried one at 100 degrees F, but our oven wouldn’t go that low so we had to use 150 degrees. The other tray went in the oven at 200 degrees F.

Now, we waited some more! It was 10:57am. In the meantime we made some beads with the left over dough (we can’t wait to share these).

Best Salt Dough Directions

We learned some pretty interesting things. Not only did the thickness and temperature affect the hardness of the dough, it changed the color and texture as well. This is not something we were expecting. Without scrolling down.. which one do you like the most? Which one do you think was air dry method, which one was in the oven the longest? Fun, right?

WERE WE SUCCESSFUL AT MAKING SALT DOUGH?

The coolest part about this experiment is knowing that we were “successful” at making 3 variations of the same dough. We didn’t make anything fancy, cute or fun (yet) but we did learn a lot about what we will do next time we have a salt dough project.

We found that air dying the dough kept the dough in its most natural state. It didn’t change the color, it kept the same texture and it seemed to remain exactly the same size. However it took DAYS, not 1 day, but DAYS to fully harden. Not a lot of children have that patience.

Oddly the dough that was cooked at just a slightly lower temperature changed the most. It turned yellowish and became brittle to the touch. It took a very long time to cook fully and still seemed to have a soft inside after 4 hours of cooking.

Finally, the dough in the warmest temperature seemed to be the most durable method. It seemed to keep a nice color tone, harden evenly in just under 4 hours for the thinnest piece and well over 6 for the thickest.

Drying Salt Dough

So if you have ever made salt dough and weren’t quite sure why yours didn’t turn out just like the pictures… this might be why! Try a different thickness, a different drying method… or better yet, do your own experiment and try a different ratio of salt and flour (that’s what we want to try next).

NOW FOR THE FUN PART…

Would you call this recipe a success or a fail? Do you have a favorite SALT DOUGH recipe or activity that you consider a success or do you have a fail you want to share? We want to see! Link up your posts or post pictures to FacebookInstagramTwitter orGoogle+. Tag your pictures with#ilovesensorydough.

Be sure to check out each blogger, as we will each provide a different take on the dough, some of us with have the BEST recipe ever, while others (probably me) will show you our attempts (both failed and successful)

You can read more about each Co-hosts and more about the Series  or follow along below:

LEMON LIME ADVENTURE~LOOK! WE’RE LEARNING!~GLITTERING MUFFINS~STILL PLAYING SCHOOL~
LITTLE BINS FOR LITTLE HANDS!~NATURAL BEACH LIVING~THE EYES OF A BOY~POWERFUL MOTHERING~
WILDFLOWER RAMBLINGS!~I HEART CRAFTY THINGS~DELIGHTFUL LEARNING ~THE LIFE OF JENNIFER DAWN

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES BEFORE LINKING UP.

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the month’s theme. Feel free to link old or new posts that highlight your favorite recipes for sensory dough. Failures and unsuccessful attempts are welcome.
  • We ask that no posts are linked with copy/paste recipes from other sources. If you use a recipe from another source, please link back to the original recipe.
  • By linking up, you give permission to share your post and one photograph in future posts and through social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that others have shared. Discover new ideas and meet new friends!

The linky will remain open all year. On the 12th of each month, all co-hosts will post a new dough with their spin, highlighting at least one post from the month before and pin each post to the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Board.

HAVE YOU MISSED ALL THE OTHER DOUGHS?

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GET READY FOR NEXT MONTH: SCENTED SALT SOUGH

December Scented Salt Dough

 


 

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15 thoughts on “Salt Dough Experiment for the Best Recipe”

  1. What thorough research you did here! It’s funny, salt dough isn’t my favorite dough but it is so versatile that I find myself making it at least once a month! Will be referring to these tips often 🙂 Pinning!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you so much! So glad you like it!

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  5. I just discovered your post through Google and Pinterest. What an interesting experiment! I’ve experimented with salt dough, mostly with baking temperatures and times, and have had wildly varying results. I’m glad to read about your success with baking at 200 F. I guess part of my problem, too, was my impatience; I baked my pieces for far too little time, so my pieces were never fully dried. I will need to try your suggestions and see if the results are consistent.

  6. Cindy Fordyce

    Hi Can I add some essential oil to it. I want them to be scented. Thanks Cindy

  7. Misty Albaugh

    What do you think would happen if you painted the uncooked ornaments before letting them dry? If we are going to let them air dry, could we paint them before setting them out to dry, or would it seal the moisture inside?

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      That would be a great experiment. Maybe we should try it. If I were you, I would save some salt dough in case it didn’t work 😉

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  9. Deborah Allen

    I’ve been using salt dough for years; making paw print ornaments for our furbabies. The salt dough recipe you shared here is my go-to! The best method I have found is to air dry for 24 hours, then bake at 170° (lowest setting on my oven) for 4 hours, then air dry for an additional 24 hours after that and then they’re ready for acrylic paint! 🙂

    1. carrie

      If I decided to do the 200 degree method at any thickness- how do i know when it is done and ready to paint???

  10. Penny G

    I use 2 cups flour, 1 cup of salt, and whatever amount of water holds the dough together. I’ve found that air drying and also using a dehydrator keeps the best color and shape. I love this stuff.

  11. Becky Belstad

    As someone who has worked with salt dough for years, and even made beautiful wall hangings out of it, here is what I learned.
    1. Equal parts salt and flour, and just enough water to make a dough that is easy to handle. 2. Dry the dough in a dehydrator, it speeds up the process, and keeps it in it’s original shape texture and color. 3. Use course nail files to sand the edges to give it a super finished look. 4. Spray 2 to 3 thin coating of clear spray paint on after any sanding and painting to make your creations last for years.

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