Sunday, 25 March 2012

Salt dough sculpting

We had some friends in Sydney for the weekend visiting from Port Macquarie which provided a good excuse for a catch up with a bunch of us, including eight little people (five boys and three girls all under six years old). Just before our guests arrived, Jasmine and Alex helped me make three batches of salt dough - pink, green and yellow. Our usual play-dough technique is to follow the directions on the cream of tartar container ie. add salt, flour, water, oil and cream of tartar in a saucepan on the stove. However, this time we wanted to make a dough that we could sculpt and then bake in the oven and decorate our garden pots. So, we used the following ingredients in a mixing bowl (x3 bowls):
  • 2 cups plain flour,
  • 1 cup salt,
  • 1 cup tepid water,
  • food colouring.
Once our guests arrived we brought out some animal cut-out shapes and some skewers and all started making shapes. We poked holes in the bottom of each dough shape with a skewer as we planned to insert them on a skewer after baking them so they would sit nicely in a flower pot.

Alex and Jasmine often have fun with play-dough. They love using the rolling pin, making shapes with their animal cut-outs, moulding, creating or just squishing their fingers in the soft dough. The thought of baking their creations in the oven, however, seemed to add to everyone's excitement. I waited until after everyone had left and my kids had gone to bed to bake the cut-outs. It took about 2 hours in a low oven - 120 degrees for them to harden and completely dry out.

First thing the next morning after breakfast, Alex and Jasmine inspected their shapes. They were quite pleased with them, though I must say I would have preferred more vibrant colours. For a change, I thought we should have added more food colouring to the mixture. Usually I am begging the children to use the food colouring sparingly and not coat themselves in the stuff. We stuck skewers into the holes that we had made before baking, adding a little craft glue to secure them.

We then gave each animal a coat of different shades of glitter glue to add an extra sparkle. We could have used paint, varnish or gems but decided that a simple bit of glitter was enough this time.

With the left over dough, the kids took much delight in baking a cake with decorations from the garden!

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