How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

Salt dough ornaments are quick and easy to make and they last forever! I'm pretty sure my mom still has some of my salt dough creations from elementary school. :D

Best of all, you can make salt dough ornaments just from things you've got around the house, so they're a fantastic snow day project.

I've left my ornaments plain, but you can paint them, add glitter to the dough, add essential oils for scenting it, etc. They're super customizable!

Step 1: Ingredients + Tools


  • 3/4 - 1 cup room temp water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour + more for dusting the dough and your workstation

A note about flour - if you want whiter ornaments, buy bleached flour. I almost always buy unbleached flour, which is why mine are a cream color.


  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin
  • straw or something to poke holes
  • string/wire for hanging
  • paint, glitter, sticks and leaves, etc for decoration
  • cookie cutter or other objects to make your shapes

Step 2: Make the Dough

Mix together the water, flour and salt. Start with 3/4 cup water and work your way up - you don't want to add the whole cup at once - it may be too much! You want a fairly stiff dough - not too wet! Mix with a spoon or spatula until everything comes together.

Now you'll want to lightly flour your work surface and plop the dough out on it. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough and start kneading. When it gets sticky, add more flour. Keep kneading and adding more flour (if you need it) until it's nice and smooth and only slightly sticky. I kneaded mine for about five minutes.

You'll know it's done with it's firm and you can press it down and leave smooth imprint like the third photo.

If you're having issues with it being sticky, let it sit for 15-20 minutes and try again. That will allow it to dry out a little bit. :)

Step 3: Roll Out the Dough

Flour a sheet of wax paper and lay the dough on top. Flour the top of the dough and place another sheet of wax paper on top.

Roll the dough out until it's 1/4 inch thick. :)

Step 4: Cut Your Shapes + Decorate

I pressed leaves and berries into my dough before cutting - this makes simple and pretty ornaments. :)

I used things around the house to cut out shapes - large pill bottle, tupperware, jar lids, cookie cutters.

If you're having problems getting nice shapes out of your dough, cut the shapes, pull away the excess dough and let the shapes dry for a few minutes. It will make it easier to get them off the paper if the flour didn't work!

Step 5: Poke Holes and Dry!

As I finished the ornaments, I transferred them to parchment paper on a baking sheet and poked holes in them.

You can either air dry the ornaments or put them in the oven at 200 F for 2-3 hours. Keep in mind that how long your ornaments take to dry will depend on the humidity in and around your home, so it could take much longer!

I decided to do my drying the oven, but it's been so rainy here lately I had to dry them FOREVER. I ended up pulling them out and putting them on baking racks to dry out more.

Be patient and it'll happen!

Once they're dry, you can paint and/or seal them, whatever you like. Enjoy! :D

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13 Discussions

always curious

3 years ago

Years ago I purchased small clay type tablets with strings attached. They were used as "mothballs" - a couple of drops of essential oil and they were hung in my wardrobe. The smell lasted a long time. Your recipe will serve the same purpose. Certainly an easy recipe and I will try various plants or beads (or anything!) to make indentations. thanks.


3 years ago

Just read a story today about a family whose dog ate one of these and died from salt poisoning. Maybe you could add a warning.


4 years ago on Introduction

Fun project to do with the kids. Also made the cinnamon ornaments.


4 years ago

These are so kid-friendly! I remember doing the cinnamon cookie ornaments in first grade, but I've never seen these! These are so creative!

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago

My grandkids make these and put cinnamon in with the salt and flour. Caution, I'd wear gloves if you don't want your hands stained. They smell fantastic forevermore.


4 years ago

You can bake on the wax paper and save on buying parchment paper. Wax paper works quite well in the oven for many foods. Just keep the temperature under 400 F.

I still have one of the ornaments I made many, many, many years ago. I made them with a friend at her grandma's house, but I think it was my mom's homemade play dough (aka salt dough) we were using.


4 years ago

Thank You!!! I also remember these from my childhood, and coincidently had spent time looking for recipe just last week! Glad I got yours in my mail, as I had forgotten they were SALT dough; I looked for plain "dough ornaments". I'm THRILLED to be able to make them now-the right way ;-)


4 years ago

I like the leaves and berrys idea! ill have to try that next time!


4 years ago on Introduction

Classic. I totally made these when I was a kid. The plant imprints are a fun idea!

This would be a great activity to do with kids. :)