A Fun Craft for Kids and a Great Gift for Parents
We made this project as a birthday present for the girls' grandma, but it works great for birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Mother's, and Father's Days too!
It's easy to make, and easy for little hands to help. So it's a great project for babies, toddlers, preschoolers or even older kids. You could also make smaller versions to hang as ornaments.
I've posted step-by-step photos so you can easily follow along!
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup water
First, dump them all in a bowl and mix well. (Little hands are great helpers with this!)
We used a fork to mix it until it came together in a ball (see below). You can judge if you think you need a little more water. It should be a similar consistency to play dough.
Now shape it into whatever you want, like this heart above. We did one large shape so it would be more like a plaque or stepping stone, but you can make multiple smaller ones as well.
(I decided not to add any holes for hanging because I was afraid it would be too heavy. But if you'd like to hang yours, use a straw to add one or two holes near the top.)
Then, I put the dough directly on the pan and parchment paper that I was going to bake it on.
Next, we put the heart on the floor and each of my daughters stepped on the one side of the heart as I gently pressed down on their foot to make an impression.
Then, I used the thin handle of a fork to carve their names above their footprints and the year in the center. (See below.)
Now, it's time to bake! Bake at about 200F (or 100C) for 3 hours.
Check to see if it's dry. If you did multiple little ones, they'll probably be done. But if you did one big one like us, then it may need a little longer. The bottom of ours was still a little moist in the center, so I turned it upside down and baked it for another hour.
Take out your baked heart and let it cool. Once it's fully cooled, you can paint it.
We used a metallic purple, which dried with a nice sheen. Foam brushes are best for this part, and to get paint in all the letters, you have to dab them a bit. I had to help make sure we got all around the edge, too. You could paint the bottom as well, if you wanted.
Let it dry completely, then display it or wrap it up as a very special gift!
I liked how it looked against the leaves, but Grandma decided to keep hers indoors.
We never got around to sealing the heart, but since it was kept in the house that wasn't a problem. If you intend to keep yours outdoors you should apply a sealant, like a craft spray sealer.
Let us know what you think!
Sakeena on June 18, 2020:
Going to try soon with my babies
Diversificando on June 14, 2020:
E muito legal essas massinhas
Marcy on May 06, 2020:
Our's are in the oven right now, I hope they come out as good as your's, but either way I'm sure the mother's will love them.
Amber on September 02, 2019:
Can i use epsom salt i dont have regular salt
Emma Ermes on July 26, 2019:
Love this will try it with my little one thanks!
Sherr on February 04, 2019:
I make ornaments with salt dough and when dried and painted i put a coat of mod podge over it all and it seals it and stays hard, i do not keep ornaments in sealed container as one lady suggested. They stay hard. Plus mod podge gives it shiny surface. I also have found the recipe that uses creme of tartar in it, is the best. I dont have recipe but you can look it up.
JenBdorf on September 20, 2018:
Turned out great! I did have to flip it over and bake it for a 4th hour, I sprayed it with a clear glaze when it was done and it looks adorable
JenBdorf on September 19, 2018:
I just made this and it is currently in the oven on hour 2..I used Himalayan pink salt since I have a large bag of it, it has a pink tint to it, but so far so good!
Joni Fletcher on August 26, 2018:
Going to try this!
Mommy World from Philippines on July 13, 2018:
Ann on May 20, 2018:
Sounds like such fun! I'm totally going to try it. Thanks!
Mia on May 06, 2018:
Did anyone make a.big one and hang it? Is it pretty sturdy?
Lisa Hedglin on February 10, 2018:
Love ideas for my grandkids and my clients
heather on February 01, 2018:
great idea, trying today at work!
M Scott on December 05, 2017:
Do you have any hints to make this food-safe (including the right paint to use)? I wanted to do a little bigger version to make spoon rests to give out as gifts. Thank you!
Stephanie Purser from Australia on August 27, 2017:
I adore this idea. I can't wait to use it myself. Thank you for sharing!
Lidia on August 12, 2017:
If the end result of salt dought its to be similar to playdough. Then why not add food colouring to it. Thus avoiding painting and mushing the finish result and also let it air dry over the weekend or bake it for an hour for thin deep of ornament. And instead of feed and hands how about letting child use their imagination and model shapes, dino, truck, person figure. Utilising shape cutter and adding child name and date. You can also add glitter and sequence for a cool finish.
Sierrasqueen on July 26, 2017:
Why does it puff up? Will it go down once cooled?
Zimmah Glowaiye on June 14, 2017:
Mrs. L on June 01, 2017:
So if we make these on a Monday and just let them dry ... we should be able to paint them on friday?and they would take need to be baked at all?
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 31, 2017:
Simple ingredients and instructions and lots of fun...this is definitely a wonderful activity for kids. Every step has fun written all over it. This is a must try activity for kids.
The Writer from Earth on May 16, 2017:
So cute! Thank you for writing this and sharing. Will try this with our Dear Son.
Pam Leonard on April 21, 2017:
Thank you for all the great ideas. You Rock.
Shannon on February 21, 2017:
What am I doing wrong I try doing it twice and the print is rising and I using plain flour
Jennifer on January 13, 2017:
Hi can I use the kids hand prints instead if feet, I think it would make nice mother's day gifts for my students to give their mons
Top Gifts on January 02, 2017:
This is the sweetest gift idea. I wish I had made this gift for my husband when my child was little. So sorry I didn't.
Lennox on December 19, 2016:
Very hard to paint.. brushes remove it! Anyone try spray paint?? And if it's too big it puffs like dough and doesn't become hard. Smaller is better !
Sandra Ruffen on December 07, 2016:
I think is an excellent idea since you get to keep it for ever. I find that now people don keep too many things for their children in the future. Maybe because of space issue, or because they are not as sentimental as before, who knows? But to me is something that we should always try to keep for our kids so they don't get lost from their real roots.
B on September 28, 2016:
Just made this today with my 14/mo old daughter and it came out great! We didn't paint it yet though because I wasn't sure what type of paint to use, but I've read through the comments and saw someone else asked that same question. It's a very simple and cute craft idea! Thank you!
Debby on July 15, 2016:
If you put it outside it will disintegrate, I made one for my daughter in law and it turned to mush. We even had it painted. My grandchildren were so disappointed
Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on May 28, 2016:
This is such a clever idea. Thanks for sharing !
Mary807 on May 05, 2016:
Salt dough must be kept indoors! Even ornaments needs to be in an air tight container or they will get soft. I would use a concrete stepping stone kit for outside. But it's very cute!
Paloma Guillo on April 26, 2016:
I have made this several times, but the problem I have encounter is that it cracks in time. What can I do?
elatea on April 21, 2016:
What temp do you cook it on and for how long? pleas answer
T on April 21, 2016:
Does it matter what kind of flour to use?
S on February 11, 2016:
It says 200 for 3 hours but do you preheat or no?
email@example.com on January 29, 2016:
What temp do you cook it on and for how long?
Nicole K on January 23, 2016:
I love this! I think I'll make this with my son soon. Thanks for sharing about how to make it! Crafts make me happy and especially keepsakes like this one.
Bsor on December 22, 2015:
Cooked mine for 6 hours, turned it over halfway. It's still plyable on bottom and a little on top. Not sure if I can go ahead and paint it or wait until it's completely dry. Please advise!
littlesnoo on November 30, 2015:
She used parchment paper! Not wax...FYI :)
Danielle on September 25, 2015:
mune definately doesn't look like this. I think I should've made it a little more thick than what I did. But mine was sticky and I realized I added to much extra water so I added some flour but it was sticking to her feet. So I rubbed flour on her feet. It turned out ok for a first time try but trying to write her name in was a little difficult
Joy on June 22, 2015:
I loved this and so did the kiddos!! Great idea... Thanks for sharing! My hubby an I will cherish them
raelynn delacruz on June 21, 2015:
I berly put mine in the over so let's see how it comes out where doing it for my dad for fathers day and my sons dad hope they come out good
LaToya on June 19, 2015:
Ladies are we using self rising or plain flour? Going to make these with my kids for their dad for father's day
Lj on June 17, 2015:
No wax paper....can i still do on a nonstick pan?
Jess on June 17, 2015:
this may sound like a stupid question but what exactly did you bake it on and did you use any coating to make sure it didn't stick to it while baking?
Barb on June 12, 2015:
I stuck some food coloring in the dough because I don't want to mess with paint. It's out drying right now, but the results seem pretty good so far!
ASHITHA on May 14, 2015:
How long will they last ?! Planning to do this for my moms bdy.. will dey turn moldy in a year ? Expiry date please?!! :)
Mariann on May 09, 2015:
I did this for my mother in law who considers our little dogs her grand pups. It was a little harder to push their pay prints in the dough but it worked great. We did two smaller hearts with their names and year. It made a great mothers day gift. She LOVES it! Ty for the awesome idea!! It was very easy to make.
Shaina Braun on May 09, 2015:
This is the cutest idea! I am going to do this for fathers day!
Cinthia on May 09, 2015:
Is it supposed to puff up?
Lisa on May 08, 2015:
if its sticky, just add flour.. Mine was a little sticky but once it bakes it was harden up. Also, put flour on kids feet before doing so. I have five boys, just finished this project. 14 years down to 5 months. I obviously did several hearts. Lol if your dough is thinner it will take less time. Just keep an eye on it, mine only baked for an hour and 15 minutes
Shelina on May 06, 2015:
is it supposed to rise while in the oven? And will it go down once it cools? I still have another hour before its done baking.
nae on April 28, 2015:
Great idea! What did u use to bake it on
Erin on April 23, 2015:
Interested in making this for grandmas garden. How would you seal it and do you think it would be ok outside in the elements?
vicky on April 17, 2015:
mines in the oven as we speak only been in there for 50 mins and its already rose and brown what am i doing wrong?
Simply Kierste on March 31, 2015:
I'm featuring this on Babycenter this week--one picture and link--please let me know if that's not okay!!
confused aunt on March 27, 2015:
I folowed the very simple recipe with my nieces today. Trying to make something for there mom for mothers day. I tried it twice but mine was coming out more sticky then dough. Where did I go wrong?
ML on February 10, 2015:
I did this for my kids but I did a handprint. I just found them the other day. I did them in 1974. My son was 3 and my daughter was 1. I should have had a piece of "dough" that was thicker (it would have taken longer to oven dry) and if I had known, I would have also put an acrylic coating (or something like it) on them after they cooled. I STILL LOVE THEM and so glad I had done it.
Dianne on February 10, 2015:
Ours came out burnt after just an hour :(
The Little Tourist Crafts on February 04, 2015:
This is such a sweet idea... one that's great for dads and grandparents, too!
Thank you for sharing!
KG on January 25, 2015:
What size heart does this recipe make? TIA
Stargrrl on January 13, 2015:
This is really cool. I had one done for my cat before she passed away. So I have an impression of her paw.
The Schreibfeder on January 12, 2015:
This is pretty cool! Thanks for sharing
Tina Pulliam on January 08, 2015:
What kind of Flour? Plain flour or self-rising? Love the Idea, I going to make this with my dog, Lola for her Grandma
Women Articles on January 07, 2015:
Love this project!! Now I cannot wait to try it!!
Jamey on December 22, 2014:
Hi. I had to add a few things to this tutorial. I trial and errored a few ingredients. Use regular table salt not kosher or course salt. The texture won't be smooth unless you use the finer iodized table salt. Also, use only all purpose flour. All I had was whole wheat flour. That's a no no! Haha. It's way too sticky. So cheapest of ingredients is best. I had an issue when I painted mine with the acrylic paint. The paint would start coming off the salt dough after I would smooth out the paint with the foam brush a couple times. In turn, I had to paint over that spot again. It made the paint look chunky. Do you have any tips for me on this? Loved the project though. Thank you!
CD on December 22, 2014:
Can you use Gluten free flour for this instead?
MSGolden51 on December 20, 2014:
That seem fun to make and is a great idea for any occasion.
Courtney on December 18, 2014:
I just put two in the oven for Christmas for grandparents! I can't wait to see how they turn out. This was really easy.
Carrie on December 16, 2014:
Split the dough and made a hand and footprint of my granddaughter as ornaments. Took about 5 hours in oven cause I had to turn over. But they came out perfect. Will attempt to paint today.
Courtney on December 13, 2014:
I did the same thing and mine was all puffy as well...pretty disappointed :(
Brittany on December 08, 2014:
I did this and baked it everything like you said and it is all puffy, did I do something wrong?? Please help
Christine on December 05, 2014:
I followed exactly and it dried perfectly (it was hard as a rock) I then painted with acrylic paint and it seems to have softened up since I added the paint. Will it harden again? Did your soften after you painted it?
autumn on December 05, 2014:
I've done two batches of these last night and each time the wax paper stuck to it. What am I doing wrong?
Raquel on November 30, 2014:
Can I pre-make the dough and store it? If so, how would I store it?
Raquel on November 30, 2014:
Can you pre-make the dough?
Rebecca on November 24, 2014:
loved doing these:) I used rock salt and it still worked and had a great look to it
MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on November 22, 2014:
Such a fun project. I really like all the pictures showing how to do it. One year we made a bunch for tree decorations when we were kids. Now I want to try some to put outside, fun, fun.
Carrie on November 18, 2014:
Do you have to use parchment paper?
Mia on November 16, 2014:
Will it last forever? in a humid place like i stay...will fungus came on it?
roamingrosie (author) on April 05, 2014:
@sarahdellavecchio: Probably too much water. If it's sticky, try adding more flour.
marla-eckert-1994 on April 04, 2014:
@roamingrosie: What stops them from burning in the oven..? 3 hours is an awful long time for a dough.
sarahdellavecchio on March 29, 2014:
Mine was too sticky couldn't make a footprint. What did I do wrong?
roamingrosie (author) on March 17, 2014:
@naimahanif: I did this when my daughter was almost 3, but even now, at 4, I think a heart would still work. Since you can mold the dough into any shape, just try making a heart large enough for her feet. Or try something smaller, like when I made magnets with just the girls' fingerprints: http://roamingrosie.com/2014/02/01/heart-shaped-sa...
loyalcatgirl on March 07, 2014:
This is so cool!
moksha-muksha on March 06, 2014:
am impressed. definitely going to try it out for my li'l grand 3m now
lrmalloch on February 01, 2014:
naimahanif on January 31, 2014:
Step : Harden the Shapes in the Microwave
Once the shapes are ready, they need two or three minutes in the microwave to harden them up. Put them onto a layer of greaseproof paper, on a plate.
If you don't have a microwave, you can leave them to air-dry for a day or two, or you can put them into a very low oven until they're hard. You might need to cover them with foil if they start to go brown before they're done!
Copied from channel 4 website. I thought useful for us.
naimahanif on January 31, 2014:
My elder one is 4 nearly. Feet is big for heart. Any other Possible shape for big feet. I love this idea
roamingrosie (author) on October 01, 2013:
@CharMarie: Thank you! I'm sure they'll love it! :)
CharMarie on September 30, 2013:
I love this idea! I can't wait to do this with my little grand-daughters! Thanks so much!
roamingrosie (author) on September 08, 2013:
@anonymous: I used acrylic. I actually didn't seal ours because my mom keeps it on display inside. But if you're going to put them outdoors, or store them (like ornaments), then I would seal it after you paint it.
anonymous on September 07, 2013:
What kind of paint did you use? Did you need to seal it first?
roamingrosie (author) on September 06, 2013:
@anonymous: That is amazing!!! Love it! :)
anonymous on September 05, 2013:
my daughter Kiera was born on Aug 20 of this year and her big sister's name is Fiona. you have great taste in names!!
roamingrosie (author) on September 02, 2013:
@anonymous: Normal table salt. Whatever we had in the pantry.
roamingrosie (author) on September 02, 2013:
@anonymous: Parchment paper won't stick to it, since it's made for baking.
roamingrosie (author) on September 02, 2013:
@anonymous: Me, too! It's just a little too humid here for that. :)
anonymous on August 31, 2013:
What kind of salt did you use