Monday, July 29, 2013

Salt dough keepsakes, attempt #1

When it comes to presents, I like the home made kind. Well, I also like the shiny kind if you happen to be reading this Mr Fork! But... home made are great too. There is something about a home made gift that says, I took the time to think of you and make this specially. With that in mind, Ellie and I have started thinking about Father's day. Yes, I know it's early, but I like to be prepared in case things don't work out. Lucky, as this idea didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped.

I already used my matching daddy/daughter pyjama pants idea. I then thought that making imprints of Ellie's hands and feet might be fun.  I looked around the Internet for some home made mixtures, and what kept coming up was salt dough. 3 ingredients, what could be easier?

This is how my first attempt turned out
Pink salt dough hand and foot
It's not bad, but I definitely thought it would be easier. The mix above was made with equal parts flour and salt and half the amount of water. I used 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt and 1/4 cup water, plus a few drops of pink food colouring. Kneaded together, then rolled smooth, I pressed Ellie's hand and foot in then used a small plate to cut the edges for a clean border, before baking at 100C for 3 hours.

I found the mixture dry and crumbly, as evidenced by the rough edges. It never got to the smooth consistency called for when kneading. After baking it the salt crystals are really obvious and make the finished product look grainy on close inspection. That's what happens when you blindly follow a random recipe without further research!

Puppy paw tester
Verdict

  • Further searching has shown me that my dough measurements were a bit off. Apparently the best results come from equal parts salt and water, double the flour. So I think my second attempt will be 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup flour. That makes sense and it should provide a smoother textured end result
  • The next time I do this, I'll be sure to wear gloves. I had some small cuts on my hands from gardening earlier, and kneading the salt dough was NOT kind to them. Also, it was very drying, so if you try it at home, be sure to moisturise after.
  • I guess it should be obvious, but this mixture is decorative only - the high salt content makes it not for consumption
  • Apparently you can air dry these babies over a few days instead of using a slow oven. I might try that technique too and see how it works out
  • I'm not sure about the longevity of the dough, so when I'm happy with the final baked product, I'm going to spray with a clear sealant. In the meantime, I think some grandparents might be getting these first attempts for their own Ellie keepsake
Watch this space for the next attempt!  Have you done anything crafty lately? 

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