Shell Imprints in Salt Dough
Create some beautiful, nature print keepsakes using shells and easy homemade salt dough!
If you read this blog often you will already know how much we love salt dough
and use it often for capturing baby handprints
and child footprints
for display on the wall! It is ridiculously cheap and easy to make, is extremely versatile and, if done right, can last years on display!
To make these we made a batch of salt dough using this simple recipe:
- 1 cup plain (all purpose) flour (NOT self-raising!)
- 1 cup salt
- 3/4 cup warm water
Stir the flour and salt together then mix in the water gradually until it forms a slightly sticky dough. Knead it until the stickiness disappears and then it’s ready to model with! If it remains too sticky add some more flour, if too dry add a few drops of water at a time. It can take a little bit of experimentation but is really very simple.
The girls are now able to make this nearly independently and love the mixing and measuring of ingredients! Great also for maths skills and early science thinking and questioning about how materials combine and change during cooking.
Once they had kneaded the dough we rolled small amounts into balls, then flattened them with the palm of the hand. Then they pushed shells with patterned ridges into the top of the discs and carefully pulled them out the reveal the imprint left in the dough. So pretty and delicate!
When they had made a few we put them on baking parchment and on a baking tray in the oven for 3 hours at 100 degrees C (approx 200 degrees F). In the oven they are hardening rather than cooking, so they may need to be turned over once during that period, or even go back in for another hour or two if still doughy after the time is up.
We decided not to paint or varnish these this time as they look so beautiful in their natural state, but salt dough does take paint and gloss very well!
These are now for examining with magnifying glasses and are being kept with the real shells and other natural items we have collected on nature walks!
physical development: strengthening small hand muscles by kneading, rolling, forming, squishing, flattening dough, hand-eye coordination
maths: recognising and matching numerals, understanding the concept of ordinal numbers (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd) and their practical relevance, recognising and naming 2D shapes
knowledge & understanding of the world: history and explanation of the Olympic games, exploring change of materials from dry (ingredients) to stretchy (dough) to hard (finished models)
creativity: combining media, working in 3D, creating relief prints
Bean 19 weeks
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