Salt dough is a fabulous, quick and easy clay-type material to make at home or in the classroom with kids, but one of the big drawbacks is the time that it takes to dry especially if you dry in the oven or air dry the clay. If you’re working with a time-limit like a class schedule or with impatient toddlers and preschoolers then that wait time can be unbearable. Good news! With a slight adaption to the typical salt dough recipe, you can dry it in the microwave which means instead of hours to create your salt dough decorations or some dinosaur fossil they can be done within a matter of minutes. Follow these instructions carefully and in 3 – 4 minutes you will have solid salt dough ready to decorate as you wish.
When I first published this quickest ever salt dough recipe (November 2012) our microwave was 10 years old. We’ve since replaced the microwave, and I’ve adapted this recipe so that it works in our new “FAST” microwave. Instead of taking 3 minutes, some of the decorations we’ve made this year have taken all of 90 seconds to bake and be ready to decorate.
Salt Dough Recipe Ingredients
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1/2 cup of salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup of water
1 cup of flour
How to make the salt dough
- Add the 1/2 cup of salt and 1 cup of flour to a bowl, and stir in the water adding it slowly. You want the dough to be dry. If it gets sticky add more flour.
- Knead the dough and then roll out and use as you want.
Once you have made the shapes you want then you need to dry them so you can paint them. Traditionally salt dough is dried in the oven which takes about 3 hours at a low heat so they don’t burn. But instead, you can swap your oven for a microwave and zap them!
How to Microwave Salt Dough
When you zap the salt dough in the microwave take it 10 seconds at a time.
- Place the salt dough on a microwaveable plate.
- Put in the microwave and heat for 10 seconds
- Keep doing 10 seconds at a time until the salt dough is dried.
Because each microwave is different and even your salt dough will be slightly different than mine. Water softness, as well as the brands of salt and flour that we use, can make a difference. Also, the thickness of our ornaments will be different. Microwaving for 10 seconds and checking means that you can avoid over-cooking, which can cause the salt dough to bubble or smoke to fill your kitchen!
If, after 3 minutes, they are still a little wet then just put them back in for 10-second increments until they’re done. Let them cool, and then paint.
What we Use When Making Salt Dough
Did you know that you can colour salt dough – why not use some food colouring to quickly colour without getting out the paints. These Wilton Gels work really well and unlike liquid food colours which dilute the mix and you have to end up adding more flour.
If you don’t colour the salt dough prior to drying then the ONLY paint that lasts, protects the salt dough and doesn’t sink into the salt dough are Acrylic Paints. These are great to mix and paint with (but don’t forget to stock up on Paint Brushes because if your kids are anything like mine they will forget to wash the brushes out and acrylic doesn’t remove easily).
Use this recipe to make these great ideas:
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