You will need
- Mixing bowls
- Access to water
- Pens or pencils
- Scrap paper
- Paint brushes
- Plain flour
- Bio-degradable glitter (optional)
- Biscuit cutters or butter knives
- Rolling pins
- Additional decorations (optional)
- Sharp pencil or knitting needle
- Thin ribbon
- Baking sheets
Before you begin
- The person running the activity may want to prepare the salt dough before running the session.
- Make sure you've risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here.
- This is a great activity to run during an online session. Check out the advice on using Zoom and other popular digital platforms and the guidance on being safe online.
Prepare the salt dough
- Mix together two parts plain flour to one part salt (table salt works great).
- To make a plain dough slowly add one part water until it’s the right consistency (not too crumbly, not too sticky).
- To make coloured dough, cut the amount of water in half and replace with paint. Add this slowly to your dry mix of salt and flour until it reaches the correct consistency. If you’re running this activity near the winter holidays, green, red and white dough are good choices. Bio-degradable glitter can also be added to make the dough sparkly.
- Remind everyone taking part that the dough is not edible.
- The person running the activity should show everyone what is available for making ornaments from the salt dough. You may have different coloured doughs, biscuit cutters in various shapes, knives for cutting details in the designs, and additional decorations such as cloves to add a festive touch.
- It might be useful to provide pens and paper, so everyone can plan their designs for their ornaments.
- Everyone should take some dough and roll it out onto a floured surface until it’s around 5mm thick.
- Everyone can now cut out their shapes. Some ideas for ornaments include: candy canes, Christmas trees, snowflakes, snowmen, presents, or anything that represents the winter holidays to the people taking part.
- Once everyone is happy with their designs, use a sharp pencil or a knitting needle to create a hole at the top. This will how the decoration will hang up. Be careful not to make it too close to the edge as it could break after baking.
Bake and decorate
- Place the finished decorations on a baking sheet. Bake in an oven at its lowest temperature for three hours. Leave to cool completely.
- Once cool, the decorations can be painted or coloured using marker pens.
- Thread a ribbon through the hole in the top and tie a knot.
- Choose somewhere to hang up your decoration and enjoy!
This activity was about trying new things by learning to make salt dough and making your own decoration. During the winter season there are lots of celebrations and traditions. How do you celebrate at home? Do you have any traditions? Lots of people like to decorate their homes with special objects during winter. Discuss where you would like to hang your decorations.
- Sharp objects
Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.