Salt Dough Footprint Keepsakes

These little footprints were very easy and very cheap to make and will make perfect keepsake gifts for daddy this Father’s day!
Salt dough recipe:
1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour
Half a cup of warm water
Mix together into a large bowl and knead it until smooth and stretchy. This last part is important otherwise the dough remains sticky and quite granular from the salt. If it is still too sticky add a bit more flour, if too dry and crumbly then add a tiny touch more water. A little bit of trial and error is all that is needed and it really is so easy!
Cakie loves the making and mixing part of creating play dough and salt dough and it is a fabulous messy, sensory play experience in its own right, as well as being great for measuring, counting and strengthening those all important hand muscles too!
Once the dough was kneaded I divided it into equal parts and found a shallow bowl that was big enough to accommodate the full length of both girls’ feet. I then squished one part into the bowl and flattened it around to the edges.
I then teased it away from the edges slightly and flipped it out onto a plate. The underside was very smooth with a lovely finish, perfect as a canvas for the footprints!
I then got the girls to tread one foot into the middle of their dough plaques, one at a time (and I had a lovely friend help me too as I took this photo!) With baby Pop we had to make sure she didn’t wriggle or turn her foot to the side as that warps the shape of the print. A firm straight down impression and then lift straight off again works really well. If it gets messed up, the great thing is that you can reform it and try again!
The plaques then went into the oven for 3 hours at  100 degrees C (around 200 degrees F). They need to be placed on baking parchment or greaseproof paper so that they don’t stick. It needs to be on a very low heat for a length of time to thoroughly dry out and harden. If the oven is too hot they will rise and “cook”. The thinner the dough and the lower the temperature, the better these will turn out! If they are still doughy in the centre after 3 hours then turn them over and put them back in for another 2 hours.
If you want to hang yours on the wall then you need to add a hole with a straw before it goes in the oven. I didn’t do that with ours this time as I thought they may be a bit too heavy for hanging.

The next day the girls then painted them using pearlised acrylic paints (we get ours super cheap in The Works) and we left them to dry for a couple of hours.

They love the painting process!

That’s it! Truly very quick and easy!

And here are the finished gifts for Daddy! I have written their names, ages and dates on the back with a Sharpie permanent marker. I intend for these to simply be displayed rather than have a practical purpose, but you could of course use them as paper weights, or thread ribbon through to hang them on the wall.  I hope ours will last a very long time. They will be treasured alongside the salt dough handprintswe made last year, which now look so tiny in comparison!

This activity is good for:

    • Sensory: messy and tactile exploration
    • Motor skills: kneading/ squishing/ rolling/ flattening/ poking/ squeezing/ treading
    • Maths: weighing quantities/ counting/ capacity (full, empty)
    • PHSE: working independently
    • Creativity: painting/ modelling/ sculpting


  1. says

    Fantastic! I was wondering what to do for my hubby’s first father’s day! P.s. I love the bowl you used to make a smooth surface. Calves are cute cows! =)

  2. says

    Anna, I’d like to do this for both grandad and daddy. I was scratching my head wondering what to give them from the children (we women are soo much easier to buy for, aren’t we!) and these will be perfect! I’m going to do my best to keep it a surprise from their dad til Sunday!

  3. says

    Thats a brilliant idea! We have made the salt dough before, but I would never have thought of doing footprints. We will be making them too.

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog, I am very happy to have found you too. x

  4. says

    Love this! Wish a saw this post when my daughter was a newborn. (I could never manage a hand print with a baby, but maybe this would have worked?) Maybe for her 1st year birthday….

    Thanks for the always-great ideas!

  5. says

    Thanks for the recipe!
    I will be doing this and making a small pendent for a necklace with my daughter’s fingerprint also!

    • Anonymous says

      HELP! i did this project, and the center back is still a little soft! we have had them in there forever! should we turn up the heat?!?\

  6. says

    Found this on Pinterest and SO excited to use this recipe! (just in time for Christmas gifts for Grandparents and Aunts/Uncles) and I like not having the hole in it – I will use an idea I have seen to hot glue the tab from a soda can on the back of it so it can be hung on on the wall (might make one for Daddy for his office now that I think about it!) Hope you don’t mind a new follower/addict 😉

  7. says

    i found this on pinterest too we just put ours in the oven, i was so excited to find somehting home made that i could do w my 2 yr old nephew to give his grandmas and mama ;] most of wat i found just involved me doing everything it was nice that he could participate and we could do it secretly too!! he hates** getting sticky or dirty so i had to do the mixing lol, wich took no time! but he loved measuring, making hand print and i know he’ll love painting..

  8. Anonymous says

    Omg! Thank you for this I do not like what the stores have to offer and this is just what I’ve been looking for to capture my little ones childhood.

  9. Anonymous says

    Omg! Thank you for this I do not like what the stores have to offer and this is just what I’ve been looking for to capture my little ones childhood.

  10. Anonymous says

    Is there a way to seal it w/a clear product so it won’t dissolve in a flower bed outside?

  11. says

    These are very sweet keepsakes! I suggest sealing them with a clear acrylic spray. I made several ornaments using this type of clay and lost them due to humidity. They disintegrated

  12. Mandie says

    This sounds like a great and simply recipe for doing foot/handprints. I work in Neonatal Intensive Care and would love a simply recipe like this. Do you think that the made up dough would keep for a while in a tupperware container? Also, do you think it would work without baking them? (no access to ovens!)

  13. says

    I totally loved, This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much!

    One question, can i used my crock pot instead of the oven?

  14. Anonymous says

    hi there, i love this idea and was so excited to make them with my little girls for Father’s Day…so we bought the stuff, we made the dough, struggled with getting their footprints right (it helped to wet their little foot with a wet paper towel before doing the print so it wouldn’t stick) and finally got perfect little footprints of my 1-year-old and 3-year-old, then I put them in the oven on oven-safe plates for 3 hours on 200, just as you said. But when I took them out, the dough had sort of “risen” a bit which made the footprints less visible, but the saddest part was they were so stuck to the plates that they cracked when i tried to remove them and are now basically a mess with cracks on the top and all torn apart on the bottom so i won’t be able to paint them or write anything. :( I’m so sad and i’m trying to figure out what went wrong. any help or more specific instructions would be most helpful. thank you!

    • says

      Hi! I used plain all purpose flour and have used both COARSE kosher salt and table salt. Mine aren’t rising at all, but because I am working with VERY young children their feet get wiggly and I can’t stamp them hard so I use my finger to kind of make them look a little deeper. I put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, flour it LIGHTLY, press the dough into a thick circle, then flip it over so it had flour on both sides. It keeps the dough from sticking to the parchment paper and the kiddo’s feet/hands. I hope this helps! I haven’t personally been able to paint any of them yet, but I am trying to get some of the families to send me finished products!

    • Anonymous says

      Cook at 100, not 200. Or, to make at really fast do them in the microwave! Cook for just one minute at a time, mine took about 5 minutes, and then i left them overnight just to harden a little more. :-)

  15. says

    Add a few drops of Food color to the dough and it eliminates the painting— and if you add some flour to the bowl & plate that you press in- it comes out a lot easier so you don’t mess up the prints!

  16. Anonymous says

    I love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m gonna try this this weekend!

  17. Anonymous says

    I put mine on a cookie sheet and after 3 hours the bottom was soft. I took it off the cookie sheet and put it directly on the rack now I’m going on 4 hours and it’s still not hard. Oops! Was I not supposed to put it on a sheet? Just so I know for next time

    • says

      Yes i put mine on greaseproof paper (so probably the same thing?) and they dry out fine. If it’s “oily” at all then probably not. Sorry it was soft. Should still dry over time- you can put it back in for coupler more hours

  18. Anonymous says

    I think this is a beautiful idea. I do have a concern though. I don’t know for sure but that babys leg appears to be bruised. I really hope that I am wrong.

  19. says

    This is such a sweet craft and will make the greatest gift for granny. Thank you for the inspiration. I think my boys will love making these prints.

  20. Anonymous says

    Made this craft this morning! I had my 17 month old need the dough in a ziplock because it was crumbly and the I had him press it out into a shallow oval dish. It was fantastic!

  21. Candi says

    I just did this today with my 2 younger boys. Everything was perfect until I took it out of the oven and tried to get them off of the cookie sheet. They were stuck! So i took a spatula and knife and gently pried them off of the sheet. The bottoms were still wet and sticky and torn up. so i flipped them over and baked them again upside down on the cookie sheet which worked but the backs are an ugly mess…really rough and beat up looking. What are the secrets to having the back of these stones to stay nice and smooth.

  22. says

    Parchment paper!!! I shaped my kids in a heart with hand prints and baked on parchment paper and they came out beaitiful

  23. says

    for those of you having problems try putting them on something called a silpat from demarle or on a piece of foil. that way when they are done drying you can just peel off the backs. it helps a lot. also try not to make them super thick. if they are too thick then they will take longer to dry out. just a few thoughts! :-) and BTW this is a great idea i did this today for fathers day with my Little one! she LOVED playing with the dough i made the mistake of doing it JUST before nap time and so she didnt want to stop to take a nap…

  24. Katie says

    My mom and I just finished making this for fathers day. We also made two little ones for each of our dogs paws.

    Tip!!! We used wheat flour and it turned out so pretty because it looks just like stone and you dont have to paint it.
    Also I live in Arizona and its over 100 today so I just stuck them out on the sun on a cookie sheet to dry. Hopefully that works just the same! haha

  25. Anonymous says

    Great idea but mine didn’t turn out when I was bakin it it had risen????? And was Hollow in middle? What did I do wrong???? Please help I want to do this so bad!!!

  26. Anonymous says

    I made three today!! I put wax paper down on a cookie sheet and a baking stone and baked them as instructed. The wax paper stuck a little on the back but you can’t tell because its basically clear. Great idea! Worked perfectly! thanks for the idea!!

  27. Ginger Lang says

    If I want to put them outside in my garden, what would I need to keep them weather safe, or will they be ok as is??????? Please let me know!!!!

    • Anonymous says

      I would guess not; I would think the right amount of rain would mush them. To be safe I bought an acrylic sealant from a craft shop (I’m sure you can get it anywhere that sells spray paint.) I made sure it said it repelled water. :) Hope this helps!

  28. says

    I found this on Pinterest… And I put a little spin on it. :) I used it as a gift from my daughter to my dad ( granddaughter to grandpa), and instead of foot prints I used my dad’s boot to make a print then used my daughter’s sandal to make a print inside the boot print… I had some baking issues but I think if I had poked some holes into the bottom first it would have been okay. Despite that, it turned out okay and I spray painted it then used stickers to write “I’ll follow you anywhere Grandpa” and she added a few butterflies and flowers. To finish it I used an acrylic sealant to keep it from mushing in the rain. He loved it!! :)

  29. says

    I am a babysitter and I have been doing this with all the kids I babysit for the past month (about 5 families). All the parents LOVE it! I just have had trouble with the bottom not getting hard like the top. Any suggestions? The last 2 times I have been baking them for 6 hours at 250 degrees F, but I haven’t been able to see how it’s turning out. Also, do you think it will work okay with COARSE Kosher Salt instead of just table salt? Thanks for the great idea!

  30. Anonymous says

    I followed this exactly. And it turned out wonderful. But it never hardened. What did I do wrong?

  31. Anonymous says

    Will it last as a keeps sake? I want to do this every summer until she is older so I want to keep them but kind of worried about them cracking and not holding up for a long time with just flour and salt vs plaster? How long do you think they will last? Brilliant idea though and thanks:)

    • says

      Our first lot is 2 years old now and showing no sign of breaking. You need to keep them somewhere safe and varnishing or coating in acrylics does help preserve them I think. Also, keep away from moisture/ humidity as I’ve heard salt dough can go soggy again. Ours is fine though! Hope it works- doing one each year is SUCH a great idea!

  32. Anonymous says

    I think I will do these for a grandmothers gift! Wonderful idea!! My son will be one next week so we will do it this weekend!

  33. Anonymous says

    Do u need a special oven for this arts and craft. Please let me knw asap I want to do this at my daycare tomorrow. Thanks.

  34. says

    I didn’t see this answered, but if it was I’m sorry for the redundancy – can you tell me about how long with the salt dough last? If I prep it will it still be functional in 24hrs? THANKS so much for the recipe and tutorial!!

  35. Anonymous says

    Just a question. I want to do this for 13 children how much salt, flour and water should I put in. And after doing the dough can I do some one day and some other days like for a week keep the dough wrapped and continue it the next day. Will the dough get wrecked in a weeks time.

  36. Trish says

    I put food colouring in the water and it turned out great. I also used wholemeal plain flour (that was all that was in the cupboard) and the effect was really cool – it looks a bit like stone with the flecks in it.

  37. Anonymous says

    So doing this:) Would the dough still be ok if I were I prep it the night before?

  38. Anonymous says

    I have salt dough ornaments from when I was little (30+ years ago) and they are crumbling. What did you use to protect these, so they last longer? If nothing does anyone have a suggestion?

    • says

      Hi Savanah! Yes you can choose any picture which has a watermark and a description of the craft with a link back to find the rest of the instructions (not the whole tutorial please!) thanks so much for asking!

  39. says

    I love this little keepsake! I pinned it on my baby craft board so more people would find your instructions.

    If you would rather I didn’t, just contact me via the addy posted on the footer of my website and I’ll take the pin right down.

    Baby Nursery Ideas

  40. says

    Anna- My baby sister just had her baby- and I am making this salt dough tonight. I think this will be the best gift we could leave her as we leave on our road trip. Thank you!!!

  41. Anonymous says

    I don’t have kids, so I just used this for my dog! I used less ingredients since it is for tiny paw prints and it turned out great! Now I have a little keepsake of my best friend!

  42. Anonymous says

    Great recipe and easy to do!! I cheated and put food coloring in the water before mixing. I let my daughter decorate with toothpick drawings around her hand print instead! Will be making Christmas decorations as gifts this way!!!

  43. JessLNaumann says

    My 2 year olds dah, her gpa as she calls him, just had back surgery, hers are in the oven right now as a get well soon gift, I think he’s going to love them thanks for the idea, I remember doin this as a kid myself and my mom still has mine :) I’m thinking of adding a layer of modge podge to gloss it up and hopefully help make it more sturdy, good idea?

  44. Stephanie S. says

    I just made 5 of these and they turned out GREAT! I used all purpose flour and kosher salt. They did not rise at all! After kneading the dough I spreaded it out on a piece of aluminum foil that was sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and lightly floured. Did the handprints/footprints/paw prints….Before putting them in the oven (on warm) I trimmed the edge with a pizza cutter! After 4 hours, Voila! Perfect! Didn’t stick at all! :)

  45. says

    My daughter and I just made these today for Nana’s birthday present. Having trouble getting them to dry out on the bottom so have put them back in the oven. Such a great idea. Can’t wait to make one for ME next. =)

  46. says

    I’m doing this right now with my twins, I’m just wondering, what happens if my oven won’t go that far down? It only goes to 170 degrees. Please help! Thank you!

    • says

      sorry Ashley! I’m a bit slow at keeping up as you can tell! How did it go? It’s 200 degrees F, so that is fine! It is 100 degrees in Celcius (the UK metric). Hope your oven wasn’t too cold!!

    • says

      Hi, Usually, AP flour and plain flour are the same. I’ve noticed that people from the UK and Canada refer to it as plain flour and in the US usually it is referred to as AP flour. I used AP flour on mine that are now in the oven. Hope this isn’t too late and that it is helpful! :)

  47. says

    I just finished making these with my 2 year old twin boys! We had so much fun!! They are in the oven and I’m excited to see how they come out! Thank you so much for posting this! :)

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  49. Anonymous says

    I’m doing this with all four of our kids (11,10,9,2)in just a little while and I can’t wait. I love the fact that all of the questions have already answered the ones I had. :) Keep up the good work and I will be back for more fun things for the kids to do.

  50. says

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial. These came together well, and I’m so thankful that the dough is so forgiving to allow you to re-roll it as needed. It was quite the challenge to get my two-year-old niece to hold still and not squish the dough between her fingers and toes. It made for some hilarious memories, but if you’re wanting a perfect print, you might consider doing it when they are asleep! She enjoyed the entire process – measuring, mixing, rolling, pressing, drying, and painting. When it came time to paint them, we were having a big family dinner so each person had a chance to sit down with her for a few minutes and help her paint, which was really special.

    I made a double-batch and from that we got 4 handprints and 2 footprints. Here is one of our finished sets:

    Thanks again for the nice instructions and great idea!

  51. Anonymous says

    Thank you for this great idea! I found it on pinterest and made everything with my 3 year old son and my 11 week old daughter loved squishing her toes in it!! It was so fun! They’re in the oven now!

  52. says

    i was looking for something to do for my mom and i came across this! im happy because its a good idea and ive wanted to know the recipe for something like this! i have no children so i just made one for my mom from me and one with my cats paw prints for her too! my cat is basically my daughter so a great gift for my mom and her grandma! :) although it was hell trying to get my cats prints..took me 5 :)

  53. Anonymous says

    How long will it last without baking it? I’m 31 weeks along and I want to get my babys foot print the day he’s born (then do it on every birthday for a few years) but I would have to be able to keep it for a couple of weeks (then remembering to take it to the hospital of course…)

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  56. says

    Love it!!! I did it yesterday with my 3 months old baby girl… I did both of her Feet in one circle and one of her hands in another!! It is so great! We will give it to daddy… I only need to paint it now.. Thanks for the idea!!!

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  59. Anonymous says

    Loved this idea and it turned out great. I live in a humid area and now the footprints have become tacky feeling again. I want to use them in my flower bed. What would prevent them from melting?