For Valentine’s day, I wanted to do something a little different with my Lukeosaurus. As well as the usual heart shaped baked goods, I wanted something a little bit special – something that would last! I came up with this idea of making a salt dough family! It was really easy and fun to make, Luke is 17 months old at the moment and his favourite part of the process was the painting!

How to make Salt Dough Valentines Gifts by @gloryiscalling #valentines #valentinesgifts #howto #pbloggers

Before this Valentines day craft, I had never used or experimented with Salt Dough before. I suppose I probably worried about having the oven on for 3 hours – I was worried about money (being a very frugal parent!) and also about keeping Luke away from the hot oven (I live in a flat so my kitchen and living room is just one big open space), but then I found a really lovely recipe from Rainy Day Mum that enables you to ‘cook’ the salt dough in the microwave as opposed to the oven. That sounded perfect, so that’s what we did!

I prepared then salt dough and ‘baked’ it during Luke’s nap. I don’t think it was something that Luke would have been able to mix at this age, as the mixture was quite thick, but he would have been able to make the shapes using the cutters himself and would have enjoyed rolling out the dough.

The microwave method does require you to stand at the microwave and count for a few seconds, open the microwave, check and then repeat. For three minutes. For each salt dough ornament.

Don’t forget to make a hole at the top of your ornament (we used a straw)!

{I baked mine in 5 second intervals. The recipe suggests 10 second intervals, as the dough tends to rise and bubble – but this timing does depend on your microwave’s wattage.}

This, I suppose, is a draw back from the conventional oven way, where you can just leave things be and carry on with your day. When these little guys are baking, they come out hot, and I mean HOT. So that’s another good reason to prepare the shapes while your little one is otherwise occupied. After they have cooled down (probably about ten to fifteen minutes each), the fun, messy, creative part can begin!

How to make Salt Dough Valentines Gifts by @gloryiscalling #valentines #valentinesgifts #howto #pbloggers

We used poster paint, but I wish I had thought ahead a bit more and got some glitter or sequins or something else, just to add a little shimmer and excitement.

Luke will always mix the colours since he’s recently figured out that mixing everything together is both awesome fun and he likes watching it all the paint change colour.

He mixes them all together, ends up making brown and gasps and points at the paint, then giggles hysterically. Everything we have painted in the last two weeks has been brown.

Painting started off with a paintbrush, but Luke got bored of that pretty quickly and moved onto finger painting. I had originally put a selection of paints into a Tupperware container as I (correctly) anticipated that the salt dough people would inevitably find their way into the tub being swirled around in the paint. Somehow, we managed to avoid all the figures turning brown. I’m still unsure how we managed it.

How to make Salt Dough Valentines Gifts by @gloryiscalling #valentines #valentinesgifts #howto #pbloggers

The drying process from there took all night. Using paint to decorate had added moisture back into the dough, so it was a bit squishy again – We just left them up on a shelf out of harms way over night and by morning they were solid once more. The paint cracked a little, giving them a mosaic effect which I actually really like, but I think it’s down to the type of paint we used and also because the salt dough had bubbled a bit in the microwave.

How to make Salt Dough Valentines Gifts by @gloryiscalling #valentines #valentinesgifts #howto #pbloggers
How to make Salt Dough Valentines Gifts by @gloryiscalling #valentines #valentinesgifts #howto #pbloggers

When all the decorating is done and the salt dough figures are completely dry, thread ribbon or string through the holes and hey-presto, one Salt Dough Valentine’s Gift! What gifts have you and your toddler made for loved ones this year? Let me know in the comments.

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