Thursday, September 26, 2013

We made something...

Salt dough prints! A super fun, easy, slightly messy way to preserve your little one's hand or foot prints forever!
We made Bug's handprint and two letters - one for the first letter of his name and one for the first letter of Sparrow's name. We even painted them, and they came out really cute!

These are your materials. One cup of salt, one cup of flour, and half a cup of water. Don't ask why our flour is in a coffee can, it's a long, uninteresting story. I will say, however, that it stores better this way! This recipe isn't quite fool proof, it wouldn't mix correctly and hold together the way it should have so we added more water. That made it too sticky, so we added more flour. Just mess with it a bit and you'll find the perfect recipe.

Bug had a great time helping me. He was so excited to add more flour for me (toddlers have this thing for scooping and pouring, haha) and then he was way excited to mix it all together again.
He did good, too! He added just the right amount of flour and without any help!

Once you get your dough mixture perfect - you'll know when it is - play with it! Knead it for a bit, make little snowmen or people, just work it for a little while. Have fun with it! Then roll it into a ball about the size of your fist.
*Remember: Flour the table before rolling out your dough to prevent it from sticking!*
Now's a good time to preheat the oven to 200 degrees, so it'll be ready by the time you roll out your dough and make your prints!
We don't have a rolling pin, so we improvised. We used our salt container to roll out the dough and it worked really well. Roll it out to whatever size you'd like, but try to keep the thickness between 1/4in and 1/2in thick for a good handprint.
If it doesn't come out in a perfect oval - or whatever shape it is you want, it cuts easily with a butterknife. Just like play-doh! I had to trim the edges of ours to make it more oval-shaped.

While I was rolling out our dough, Bug decided he wanted to taste it.
It's perfectly safe because it's just salt, flour and water - but it doesn't taste great!
He licked the side of the little creation he was making, made some silly faces and told me "Ew, mommy, that was yucky!" I can imagine! That's a lot of salt and there's no way it tastes good haha!

So after you roll out your dough, make your prints, and write whatever you want (if anything) in the dough, your oven should be done preheating.
*Use a straw to poke two holes near the top if you want to thread string or ribbon through to hang*
Lay a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet (not absolutely necessary - ours came out wonderfully without it because we were out - but it still helps).
Place your creations on the wax paper, put the cookie sheet in the oven, and now you wait - 2-4 hours. Roughly 2 hours for dough that's 1/4in thick and 4 hours for dough that's 1/2in thick.
When your time is up, turn off the oven, and let cool in the oven for 8 hours for the dough to properly harden. If you need your oven within that time, just set the cookie sheet on top of the oven and let cool there.

Eight hours later...

We're all cooled and ready to paint!
We just used dollar store paints, six came in a pack for a buck. Black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue.
My plaque with his hand print has a small crack above his name, if you can see it. That's from not smoothing my dough before baking... it covered alright with paint, though.
The baby bottle just has water in it to rinse the paintbrush.
Speaking of paintbrushes, we only had one - so I used that and let Bug use his fingers. What little boy doesn't love getting messy anyway?
I let him pick his colors and he chose green, red and yellow. I used white, blue and black for the plaque.

Bug was so proud of his fingerpainting and he made more than just one masterpiece! He painted his N and his brother's... oh, I can't tell you guys - that'll give away the first letter of his name and that might lead to some educated guesses... ;)
We had paper bags laid on the table to protect it from the paint.
Bug decided it was a great canvas to paint on, and painted a beautiful masterpiece on it.
But alas, I'm biased, and pretty much everything my kid makes that isn't a normal bodily function is beautiful to me.

He also made this:

It's kind of heart shaped, and even unintentional, it's pretty neat!

The dollar store paint took a couple of coats to cover well, but that's to be expected using dollar store paint and a crappy watercolor paintbrush haha!
Here's our finished project:

I want to add a few more layers of paint, and a sparkly clear coat... if I ever do, I'll update the post!

*Note: Any leftover dough can be stored in a zip-loc baggy in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. It makes great play-dough, too!*
I hope you guys have as much fun with this project as we did! :)

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