Dough Art Craft

This is a wonderful easy craft. A little flour, a little water and your imagination, and craft pieces are born. Find Dough Art recipes, ideas and basic do's and don'ts. Your Dough Art Craft pieces will last forever.



Some History

The art of salt dough originated from ancient goddess worshipping civilizations of Crete. Other cultures including Egyptians, Greeks and Romans who paid homage to their gods by making offerings of dough figures.

In Germany during the 19th century, the Christmas tree became a focal point in the festive season, and the peasants made their ornaments from bread dough. But due to the ingredients being bread based they were eaten by mice and other vermin, so to protect them from this they added large amounts of salt to the dough - hence the beginning of saltdough.

This ancient craft was nearly lost during the first world war due to no salt being available, but around thirty years ago this old folk art was rediscovered and has since won a considerable following.

These Facts courtesy of "The Dough Kitchen"


  • How do I join dough pieces?

    When you are using fresh dough, it is usually sufficient to moisten the parts that you want connected at the seams and press them together. However, some objects are the result of several working steps and you are sometimes modeling over already dried parts. It is recommended that you connect these pieces with a special gluing material. Instead of water, use fresh dough paste. You make the dough paste by using small amounts of dough and mix with tap water.
  • Can I use a food processor?

    Yes you may use a food processor but make sure you use the kneading attachment. Be careful not to overheat your machine. Work only small amounts of dough. )
  • How long can I keep saltdough?

    You must use your dough within 24 hours. It is ideal to prepare only as much dough as you can work at one time, since fresh dough is best for modeling. Leftover dough can be stored in airtight plastic containers or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Do not refrigerate saltdough!!
  • Should I make my creations directly onto the cookie sheet?

    Yes, it is easier to shape dough directly on a cookie sheet. The back of your model will become smooth, and you will avoid the risk of damaging while transferring. Lightly oil or butter the cookie sheet. Please be aware that there is a differences in using a light or dark cookie sheet since they reach temperature at different temperatures setting of the oven. A light colored cookie sheet is recommended.
  • How do I know whether a dough piece is completely dry?

    You can tap your finger on the surface. If it sounds dull, the model is still moist inside and should stay in the oven. If it sounds like hardened clay, the model is dry. If a modeled part has come off the cookie sheet, you can pick it up with a pot-holder and tap it on the back to check the drying.
  • How do I put a hook in the back of a dough piece?

    The best way, is to wait for the piece to harden but not fully cooked. You must be able to pick up the piece and enter the hook. The piece will require much more cooking afterwards. If you think you waited too late to enter the hook and find that once the piece is dried that the hook slides out, you will have to wait till it is fully cooled down and then drop some glue in the hook holes. Use "Crazy glue" when this happens.

    If the piece is too cooked and you are unable to enter any hooks, you will have to think of a creative way to display your model. You could always glue it to a wooden plaque. If you find this too challenging, you can always enter a hook while you’re making the dough creation. This will mean that the hook will show.
  • How do I get that nice brown look on the saltdough creation?

    As soon as you are sure that the piece is dry, turn the oven to about 400F but stay close by and watch. Keep in mind that the brown tones will deepen once varnished.
  • What kind of glazes should I use?

    Yes, you can alter the surface of saltdough with many different types of homemade glazes.

    "Salt Glaze"- This glaze is created by crystals dissolving on the surface. The glazed parts will need little varnish . Brush the parts several times with salt water during the last hour in a 300 F oven. If a deeper brown is desired, turn the temperature up to 400F and then apply the glaze.

    "The Alkaline effect"- Brush the models during the last hour in the 300 F oven with a mixture of equal amounts of corn syrup and water.

    "Pastry look"- First put a salt glaze on the models during the last hour in the 300F oven. Then brush the models, either with a milk and water, or egg yolk and water mixture. Then turn the oven to 400F
  • I had an air bubble on one of my pieces and it broke, what can I do to prevent this?

    If you see a bubble on your model, you should use something to press it down. Try rocks.
  • How do I color the dough?

    There are so many different ways to color your dough. You can paint your piece after it is baked with watercolors but you should first apply a primer on your piece. Do not paint until the primer is dry.

    You can also add some food coloring in your dough recipe. Simply add the drops to your required amount of water. Adding Tempera Paint instead of water is recommended. Use water of course but this depends on the color you wish to achieve. For example, the color red is mostly all paint that is put in my recipe versus the water amount.
  • What is the best vanish?

    There are different kinds of clear varnish, thinner ones and thicker ones. Thin varnish in cans or sprays are not recommended. They give the model little protection. It soaks into the dough and the models have to be coated several times and that still won’t last.

    Two coats of varnish with a thick consistency offers excellent protection against time and humidity. This does require that the models be varnished on all sides. If you don’t like high gloss, you can use matte finish varnish instead. After many years, you may need to apply another coat. I recommend clear varnish like polyurethane, particularly the type used for boats or wooden floors.


Useful Equipment

  • Rolling pin
  • Wooden skewers
  • Toothpicks
  • Small kitchen knife
  • Forks
  • Pocket comb
  • Cookie cutters
  • Small sieve
  • Garlic press
  • Bottle caps
  • Pastry cutter
  • Drinking straw
  • Buttons
  • Peppercorns
  • Cloves

Dough Recipe for Dough Art Pieces

2 c All purpose flour
1 c Salt
1 c Water

Mix flour and salt well, then slowly add the water mixing with a spoon to form a ball if you add too much water the dough becomes too sticky. Knead 7-10 min until dough is smooth and firm. {keep dough in a plastic bag to keep moist}

Then roll out and shape as you would cookies. You can air dry, but if you want the puffier look, preheat the oven at 325-350F NEVER HIGHER,bake on foil covered cookie sheet for 30 min for 1/4" of dough thickness, or until light brown. If ornament puffs up too much, lower heat. Poke hole in any bubble with toothpick.

Project Ideas

You are only limited by your imagination. Find a few simple ones, below, to try.


Christmas Decorations

Use cookie cutters or make shapes by hand. Bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Test with a toothpick for doneness, cool and paint.

Braided Wreath

Divide your dough into 3 pieces. Roll out into equal lengths. Roll each length, and braid. Join the two braid ends together. Bake. Cool. Decorate as desired and varnish.

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