Just a heads up, by completing this activity, Girl Scout Juniors have finished number three of the Outdoor Art Explorer badge.
- 1 cup of flour
- ½ cup of salt
- 1 cup of water
- Measuring cups
- Large mixing bowl
- Large spoon for mixing
- Gather your ingredients, consider putting some newspaper down on top of your craft space. Things are about to get messy!
- Measure 1 cup of flour. Don’t forget to level the top off; you can use a butter knife to do so!
- Measure ½ cup of salt. Level this off, too.
- Pour the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix with your spoon.
- Slowly add the water and stir everything together. When it gets too hard to mix with the spoon, use your hands! It’s more fun that way, anyway.
- After kneading it (squishing it with your hands) for a few minutes, your dough ball should now feel like Play-Doh. If it’s too dry, add more water. Too wet? Add more flour. Be careful, though! Add small amounts at a time until you reach the Play-Doh consistency.
Now is the super fun part. You can use this salt dough to make all sorts of things like holiday ornaments, small bowls and jewelry (a quick Internet search will get you instructions for these). Still, my favorite thing to do with salt dough is to use it to investigate patterns and make prints, especially using items from nature.
I use items I’ve found from around my home, like a seashell from a beach vacation I took last summer, a buckeye from a nature hike, and I also grabbed a few leaves from my houseplants. Go on a little scavenger hunt around your house to find things that you think might make some good prints or patterns.
Don’t forget to look around outside if you can, too! Nothing nature-related? No problem! Other things around your living space will work if you use your imagination (if you would like to use items that don’t belong to you, be sure to ask permission, and to tell the person that the item might get a little messy).
After you’ve assembled your items, make some predictions about the patterns and prints that your items might make with a friend or family member.
- What item do you think will work the best?
- What item do you think won’t work well at all?
- What item(s) can you use as a stamp to make prints?
- What item(s) can you use to make patterns?
- You can choose to leave your dough pieces out to air dry and harden, or you can bake your dough in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes to several hours until dry. I’ve always found that it takes a long time to dry them in the oven, so I try to plan for this activity and let mine air dry.
- Once your dough is dry, you can paint it too, making this a longer or multi-day activity. If you have a can of gloss finish sealing spray on hand, it makes your project shiny!
- Add food coloring to your dough while kneading it for a pop of color.
- You can use a rolling pin to get the dough flatter if you want your dough to dry out faster.
- You can use a cookie cutter to get your circle perfect if you’d like. I enjoyed hand-making dough circles.
Follow up activity:
Go outside and look for the same patterns in nature. How many other patterns can you find?