Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Salt Dough Gift Toppers...

I'll let you in on a little secret. These were meant to go on our tree. But I liked them so much atop brown parcel paper and tied with bright red ribbon, that they're going to decorate our Christmas gifts this year instead! (Although I might still whip up a few for the tree as they're super quick to do) I had originally planned to paint and glaze them too. But the natural texture and colour was telling me to leave them be. "We're perfectly fine as we are thankyou". That's what they told me after 2 snowballs and a mini bottle of Rose wine gifted to me by one of my Avon customers...What? It was my birthday at the weekend. I'm allowed! Yep, 38 years and still not feeling remotely "grown up"!
I made some of these a couple of years ago but never finished decorating them. A couple of weeks ago I dug them out, painted them white and then set about decorating them with a folk art design with a red sharpie. They didn't work out how I would have liked them so I decided to have another stab at them this year...

Anyhow, onto the scintillating subject of salt dough or "store cupboard fimo" as I like to call it ;)

Below: As I mentioned, I made some salt dough shapes last year so you can find the full low down on how to make the dough in this post. But essentially it's a ratio of 2 parts flour + 1 part salt + 1 part water (tepid not cold). Blend the salt and flour first, then add the water and work into a dough. Following that formula you can make any amount of dough that you like. If you want a really smooth finish then make sure you knead it thoroughly. But I quite like the texture result of a slightly less smooth dough...
Above: I used a variety of cookie cutters to experiment with, and found these sugarcraft snowflake stampers/punches. They can be used to press out actual shapes from the dough, just like a cookie cutter; or simply to emboss the surface of the dough.

Below: For these star shaped gift toppers, I cut the main shape using a larger star cutter. Then with the next size down I "embossed" a border; then using my sugarcraft stamp I added an embossed snowflake to the centre. I also cut some smaller stars with just the embossed snowflake in the centre....
Above: The humble drinking straw makes a perfect hole punch for your hanging loop hole..

Below: There are a number of ways to dry out salt dough shapes. You can let them air dry for several days. Erm, no thanks. Our house is too tiny to have trays of these hanging around for days on end. You can bake them in the oven on a very low heat. Well yes. But firstly, our oven has conked out just in time for Christmas (!) and secondly; in my experience they don't stay flat and have a tendency to catch and scorch in the blink of an eye. My weapon of choice in these matters is definitely the microwave. I left my shapes to air dry a bit overnight. Then, place them in batches, face down on baking parchment, on a microwaveable plate. Weight down with another FLAT plate. (I used a spare glass microwave plate). This will ensure they stay nice and flat and don't bubble up during the drying out process. Then microwave on full power in 1 minute bursts, checking them as you go and wiping away any accumulated moisture from the plate. It usually takes 1-4 minutes depending on the overall size and thickness of the dough...

Below: They can still scorch in the microwave, which is why it's important to check them between 1 minute bursts. But in this case I like the way a bit of added colour has enhanced the embossed details. I tried out a few different shapes and designs. The little round ones were cut using the little metal case that a tealight comes in. The "stylised garland" design on the heart shape was a bit of an experiment. I made the line indentations using the the edge of a ruler and added the "baubles" with a very narrow drinking straw...

And while all this was going on, Elliott was happy creating his own take on gingerbread men....

Hope all your Christmas preparations are going smoothly!





7 comments :

  1. Brilliant idea!
    And I really like all of them! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are just beautiful! I have pinned it to my Christmas inspiration board :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. A quick note only to let you know that I wrote a bit about you in my post:
    http://madamerenard.blogspot.it/2012/12/perfect-projects-for-christmas-time.html
    Bye,
    Silvia

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cara senhora,
    que bela aula...
    não conhecia esta técnica....
    Muito bom...

    abraços de MF

    Dear lady,
    What a beautiful lesson ...
    did not know this technique ....
    Very good ...

    Hugs MF

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've just turned 62 and still don't feel grown up!! I like these salt dough toppers. My son (39) says he remembers playing with home made play dough . I've been knitting and sewing up haven't posted about them yet.
    Brenda in the Boro
    www.cyclinginthesixthdecade.Wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for posting this on your blog. My two boys loved making shapes out of the salt dough. With Halloween coming up, we used Halloween cookie cutters to make pumpkins, ghosts and other spooky characters. I'm going to try to just let it air dry. Hopefully it doesn't take too long.

    ReplyDelete

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