Saturday, April 23, 2011

Salt Dough Critters (aka 'Crackle my NaCl' according to Dave)

I recently bought a book at Goodwill called Creative Dough Crafts, by Brigitte Casagranda.  It has this recipe for salt dough.  I've wanted to try making stuff out of salt dough since the 80s when I saw Christmas ornaments a friend and her mom made.  I like how it is made out of three cheap ingredients:  Flour, salt and water. 

Salt dough
2 cups flour
1 cup salt (non-iodized is easier to work with, according to my book)
1 cup cold water (or less)
I put in 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and mixed it together.
Make a hollow in the middle and added almost one cup of water.
Mixed it up and added a little more water.
Squeezed it.  It seemed like the right consistency to me.  If you make pie dough I think this will be really easy for you.
Here's when i took out the dough, squeezed it together and kneaded it.  The book says this:

Sift flour over a working surface and work the dough ball until it's a smooth ball with no lumps.  If the dough crumbles, add water.  If it's sticky, add flour. 

(I hadn't read that part yet, so that's why there's no flour on my table.)
Dough ball.  It's all ready to mold!
It's best to make stuff with it the same day.  If you're not gonna work with it right away, wrap it up and store it somewhere kinda cool, but not the fridge.
V made a huge Agent P head.
Dave made a Angry Birds pig. 
I made Perry the Platypus.  I took paperclips, cut them with a wire cutter, and stuck them in the top of the "sculpture" to make a little hanger.  V could hang them up on her wall after they're done.

Form the dough right on some foil so you can move it to the baking tray with ease.  I baked these in a 225 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for an hour with the door slightly open.  This is to let the humidity escape.  Then I closed the door and baked another hour at the same temp. 

To test if they're done, tap with your finger.  It should sound like hardened clay, rather than a dull thud. I thought the huge Perry head was baked all the way,  but unfortunately when we pulled off the foil the next day, I found out it wasn't all the way done.  I think we need to keep them to a smaller size.

We made these things last week, and we were able to paint them after dinner tonight.
We used watercolor paint on um.  I used a Sharpie for the eyes, nostrils and ears.
I took them outside and sprayed them real good with the only varnish I had.  I think they need a different varnish and I'm going to have to experiment with that.  Anyway, after that's all dry they're ready to hang up.

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