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Salt Dough Question
December 2, 2012
8:20 am
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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My niece and I experimented making salt dough Christmas ornaments last night.  Since we have never done them before I think they turned out okay.  My question is has anyone made them and dried them in a dehydrator?  If so, how long did you leave them in.  My instructions called for them to bake in a oven and the degrees varied from 200 to 350.  Time also varied from a couple of hours to an hour.  I think I can do the temperature okay just not sure enough about the time.  Any advice/suggestions/tips would be helpful.

December 2, 2012
8:27 am
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tsmith
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I did them in my old cheepie dehydrator.  I don’t remember how long it took, but they stayed white and didn’t brown at all like they do in the oven.

December 2, 2012
6:02 pm
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bonita
north east IL
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It’s the thickness that accounts for the time difference in drying. Why not include one or two test pieces. When they feel really light, compared to when they were just made, {careful, they’ll be darn hot} break them and make certain the inside is dry as well. Whether you paint or not, I’d recommend sealing with clear acrylic (like ModPodge). I’ve some sentimental salt dough ornaments that are more than 30 years old!!!

Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

December 2, 2012
6:28 pm
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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Thanks tsmith and bonita for the help.

I did a test batch in the dehydrator.  I did them for about 3 hours and they are still a little spongy but from what I have read they will continue to dry.   

I, now, have to have 25 snowflake ornaments ready for painting by next Sat. and 18 star ornament ready by the following Sat.  

This all started because I saw the salt dough Santa Claus hand ornament (not doable for the birthday parties) on facebook and it just went from there.

The issue that I am still working out is getting them from the cutting board and onto the dehydrator trays and still having them look like snowflakes.  But practice makes perfect and I am keeping in mind that no 2 snowflakes look alike.

I gotta go start those ornaments now.whip

December 2, 2012
8:20 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Hey mamajhk, how about putting some parchment paper on the cutting board and working/cutting the snowflakes out right there on the paper, then cutting a circle or square around the ‘flake’ and putting them on the dehydrator trays on the paper to start them drying, then, after an hour or three, removing the paper and letting them finish drying… or not.  they may be fine on the paper!   just a thought! 

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 2, 2012
8:45 pm
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Ruthmarie
Northern CA
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Why don’t you treat the salt dough like gingerbread roll-out dough … my molasses-heavy recipe is determinedly elastic.  NO touch, NO lift while room temp and refrigerator cold isn’t enough.  So I’ve always rolled them out between sheets of waxed paper, stamped my cutouts and carefully removed the dough from around the cookies.  Then pull the sheet of freshly cut cookies onto a cookie sheet and slip ’em into the freezer.  In about 15 to 20 minutes … depending on freezer … you can peel the rigid cookies off the waxed paper and set them on the greased pan for baking or put ’em into a storage container to freeze for later.  In your case, snowflakes formed on parchment paper could be slid onto same cookie sheet, frozen partially then set into the dehydrator to dry.

Brilliant idea to dry in a dehydrator … I used to bake dough charms for earrings about 40 years ago when salt dough was a trend for the first time. No matter how low the oven, the darn things always browned slightly.  There should be less warping or puffing in a sloooow dry as well.

December 2, 2012
10:23 pm
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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It crossed my mind to use parchment paper on the trays but didn’t and lines are a result.  Lesson learned listen to your instinct.

Cold dough certainly is easier to work with.  A little extra flour helps also.  I think I will try rolling out the dough and chilling it before cutting.

I am considering rolling the dough a little thicker than I have been.  I have been rolling it the same thickness as I would for sugar cookies.

I knew I could rely on you guys to help me with this project.  I have learned that someone has been down the road before and is willing to help the next one navigate it.  This is why this site is becoming my go to site for answers.

December 2, 2012
10:56 pm
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bonita
north east IL
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Don’t forget that if you need to add ribbon or string to hang the ornaments, you’ll need to put the hole in the ornament before baking. . . and make it a bit larger than you’ll need. The hole will shrink during baking/drying. Someone’s gonna have a boatload of fun ornaments.

Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

December 2, 2012
11:10 pm
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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Yeah, bonita that became evident with the first batch.  

I am always on the look out for fun craft projects to do with the granddaughters even when some of them don’t work out.  We have fun trying new things.

December 3, 2012
7:46 am
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tsmith
Arizona
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I’ve made salt dough ornaments for the kids to decorate and give as their Christmas gifts to family.  We use markers to color them right now.  Paint is just a little too messy for little hands and the markers are easier for mommy to clean up.  The kids love doing it and have so much fun creating their masterpieces!  We’ve even used salt dough to create school projects.

December 3, 2012
8:10 am
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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Markers sound like  the way to go with 7-9 year olds at birthday parties.

December 3, 2012
9:05 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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You guys have me curious about this now!  It also looks like a great fun thing for kids who will soon be “Boooooooooorrrrrrred” because they’ll be home from school on holiday break over Christmas/New Years. 

I’ve been working with polymer clay to wrap around a crochet hook to make a larger handle on it, I made one fairly ‘ugly’ one but it’s great to crochet with because I rolled/wrapped it, then grasped it like I would when crocheting, and squoze it a bit to form it to my hand, and flattened a ‘thumb print’ in just the right spot.  I know salt clay would never work for this, but it’s just fun to work with any clay I think. 

I’d love to see some photos of the snowflakes if you get a chance mamajhk!

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 3, 2012
9:47 am
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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I will try to get some pics.  Let’s just say that the journey has been a creative one and I am having fun with all sorts of possibilities/ideas/experiments/why not and let’s try this.  The first batch I did I tried a snowman and used the end of a small crochet hook to make indentions for eyes, mouth, nose and buttons.  Well, after baking his appearance is some demonic caused by overbaking.

December 3, 2012
11:43 am
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Ruthmarie
Northern CA
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mamajhk, demonic snowman? … very “Night Before Christmas”, lol!  Wonder what Halloween pumpkin ornaments might look like ….

This idea has hooked my head as well.  Went looking for recipes via internet and discovered a cornstarch recipe I’m now hot to give a shot.  This recipe looks like porcelain and certainly takes markers very well.  Thinking I’ll chill those and clean up the edges to look like porcelain.  And I have sooooo many Christmas stamps to play with ……. and, ooo, snowflake cutters with tiny canape shapes to work with.  Aw, I’m in trouble now ….

December 3, 2012
12:09 pm
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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I think we are all, Ruthmarie.  I like the idea of a porcelain look so I will check out the cornstarch recipe.  Oh what fun we are having.

I can see making all sort of things with salt dough.  I tried some letters.  Right now I have some in the dehydrator that I cut a little bit thicker and one that I pushed some clear beads into.  I didn’t use large enough beads and they can’t be seen from either side.

December 3, 2012
1:27 pm
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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Ruthmarie, I just looked (and printed off) at the cornstarch recipe.  Oh, my the creative juices are flowing now.  I wonder if candy molds could be used to make these ornaments.  Oh, I am in so much trouble here.  LOL.

December 3, 2012
2:02 pm
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Ruthmarie
Northern CA
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Noooooo, I bet candy molds would be gangbusters … would probably need to lightly oil/spray the cavity or maybe dust with extra cornstarch so one could get it out.  Not sure about thick sculptural molds like seashells or hearts as varied thickness would muck with drying but could hollow it out a bit before drying.  Then again, plastic molds might not work as wouldn’t one have to bake it partially IN the mold so it didn’t mush/collapse on removal? Madeline pans would be ideal … think of the things that could be embedded, saving on thickness and drying.  Ah, must stop, my head is hurting from instant creative constipation.  No, no, flat stuff FIRST, then run amuck.  And I have so many other things to do today ….

December 3, 2012
3:43 pm
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mamajhk
South Central Kansas
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I, too, have other things that I SHOULD be doing but am having too much fun playing.  I made a batch of cornstarch dough and I had to laugh when it started coming together because it reminded me of some of my past gravy attempts.  I used a nonstick pan  which helps a lot with clean up.  I think the heat may have been a little high because it started to scorch.  I think she must have been using an electric stove (mine is gas) when she did hers.  

So far I like the feel of this dough.  I used a doughnut cutter to make some wreaths.  I just put them in the dehydrator so we will see what happens.

December 3, 2012
7:07 pm
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CD
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This looks like the perfect project for my daughter & I over break.  I like to have her make an ornament each year to give as a gift & I think we have a winner.  I’m going to try the cornstarch recipe.  Can’t wait to see how they turn out! Thanks for the great ideas!

December 4, 2012
8:01 am
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tsmith
Arizona
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I’ve been seeing those cornstarch recipes.  I’ve been toying with the idea of trying them.  I don’t know if we will be able to get ornaments done before Christmas, since the last day of school before Christmas break is the 23rd.  Weekends are getting crazy with everything going on.  We will have to see about squeezing in some craft time!

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