Monday, 17 October 2011

Salt Dough Tags and Decorations - Christmas Tutorial no 9

 love to make things which can be re-used and these salt dough decorations are going to start their lives as labels on your Christmas gifts but they will end up hanging on your tree each year.  I made my original salt dough decorations over 15 years ago and they still come out every year!
You will need the following:

8 oz (200g) Plain Flour
4oz (100g) Table Salt
2 tspns of vegetable oil
4 - 6 fl ozs of water
Christmas cutters
Garlic Press
Rolling Pin
Pastry brush
Baking tray
Ribbon, wool or Embroidery Thread
Luggage Labels
A potato
Vegetable knife
Poster Paints and Paint Brushes

Mix the flour and salt together, make a well in the middle and stir in 4fl oz of water and the two tspns of vegetable oil.  
Knead the mixture together, add more water if it is too dry. You will need to knead it for a good 10 minutes... any less than this and mixture will split and crack.
Flour your surface and roll the mixture out just as you would roll out pastry to about 1/4" thickness and cut out your shapes with your Christmas cutters.
At the top of each shape, use your straw to make the hole.

If you are making a Christmas stocking, pop some salt dough into the garlic press.  Use your pastry brush to brush some water onto the stocking and apply the dough hair from the press onto the stocking.
You might also like to make Christmas sheep - make an oval shape for the body and roll out four sausages for the legs and use a little water to adhere the legs to the body, don't worry if it looks a bit rough because it will be covered up.  
Now push more dough through the press, brush the body all over with water and then apply your sheep hair all over the body.  
Cut out a small triangle and round the corners, this will be the face, wet the back and apply to the body, use the peppercorns for eyes, add some seasonal holly as a hair decoration and two ears.
I use an old, knackered baking sheet for my salt dough projects... you know that sort that you cannot clean and you would be ashamed if your friends or mother-in-law could see!  Oil it up and place all of your shapes onto the tray, you need to bake these for at least 2 - 4 hours at Gas Mark 1.5, 290' F or 145' C, it will depend on how thick and big your items are.  Check every half hour and if you see air bubble appearing, prick them with a pin and press down.  You will be able to tell when it is cooked because when your turn it over the back will be totally dry.  The salt dough will not go brown but will remain an insipid pastry colour... so no help there then! 

Let the items dry on a wire tray.

Whilst this is happening, we are going back to primary school and making potato stamps.  Cut your potato in half and either use your cutters or your innate artistic skill to design a shape... stars, holly leaves, polka dots...  cut around the shape so that it stands proud.  Put a little of the poster paint onto a saucer, dip the potato into the paint and stamp onto the luggage tag and leave to dry.  You can use felt tips to add to the patterns or even put some glitter on for that festive frenzy feeling.
Now the fun starts, paint your salt dough items... you can even paint the name of the recipient on there... you know that if you put Gran or Grandad on them, they will come out every year.

Allow the paints 24 hours to dry and then cover with a clear varnish which means your salt dough will last for ages.
Slip the ribbon into the hole and tie it to your tag.

Now you have a personally designed tag and decoration for your friends.

And I nearly forgot, to see what everyone else has been up to this week, go over to Wendy's Handmade Monday and read her thought provoking post.


Wendy said...

Oh, what a brilliant idea Ros! This would be a great project to do with kids too. I had some salt dough tree decorations for years but sadly stored them in a damp loft after moving house and they crumbled. Dry storage is definitely key to a long life!!

Little Harriet said...

This idea is ace, I will be making some to go with my presents this year :)


Caroline Lovis (Redneedle) said...

Is "knackered baking tray" a technical term :D ? As ever another super very timely tutorial and I love the idea of using them as gift tags. Thanks for your hard work on sharing this one.

Helen said...

Thats a fantastic tutorial Ros :) and something that I can do with the eldest. Thanks for that!

lovetartan said...

Great tutorial as usual Ros. Absolutely love the sheep! Mich :)

Martha said...

salt dough tags - fabulous idea! love them all! the hearts are so gorgeous!
they make truly unusual tags, i wouldnt dare to put them in the bin after xmas :)

Handcrafted by Picto said...

These are great, I love my salt dough items, as Wendy says, dry storage is so important. I too have had some of mine for years. A great idea for labels.

Jan x

Carol said...

I am going to have a go too. I would do it tonight but the battery has gone in my scales Grrr.
But tomorrow.....promise.

Stephen said...

Brilliant tutorial. I remember making salt dough decorations when I was a kid at my local youth centre. Everyone loved making them, even the grown ups working there :-D

Sarah - The Lilac Dragonfly said...

Brilliant idea Ros.....thanks for sharing!! xx

Anonymous said...

I remember making salt dough as a child and eating a bit of it, needless to say it was very salty!! Fab tutorial thanks :-) x

Dawn Wynters said...

I have always fancied having a go with salt dough, now my little on is nearly three i think it would be a fabulous project for us to do

Annie and Lyn said...

It's wonderful to have something like this to do with children in the run up to Christmas!

Sarah said...

Love your scales. But then I saw your sheep and realised that I loved him even more.

itsamistry said...

What a fantastic idea. I've never made anything with salt dough - might have to put it on my never ending to do list - love the sheep:)

Crafty Intrigue said...

I really want to try this. A Friend of mine just bought a house. I think this might be a nice present for her.

Jenny said...

I love this idea so much!

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this blog and its wonderful tutorials. You are one talented lady!

Dr Sonia S V said...

I have been planning to make them for some time now with my daughter. Thank You for inspiring

Cheers from Bangalore ,India
Dr Sonia S V