Sunday, September 16, 2012

Salt Dough, My Play Dough Years Revisted

I have been reading up a lot on salt dough.  I saw the keywords that I like, such as "cheap".  I like things that are cheap.  Let's face it, jewelry stuff is expensive and any way that you can skirt around having to buy something, or any opportunity have to reduce your cost of making something if you are in to selling it is a big o feather in your hat.

In this case, maybe a salt dough feather.

What I noticed while I was reading the many recipes I read was that they were all over the place.  This one had a lot of flour, this one used hot water, this one used warm water, that one used cold, this random one used oil, etc.  You know what that told me? This stuff is versatile.  And I like versatile, because versatile means you don't have to be overly concerned with a recipe...

Huh, it's like it was made for me. 

For the dough I used 2 CUPS FLOUR (store brand), 1 CUP SALT (super cheap off brand at that), and about 1 CUP OF WATER (the cheap non filtered tap kind, teehee).  I mixed it up, and then added just a dusting more of flour to knead the stuff into something I could work with.  I think the general consensus is higher proportion of flour, more smooth dough, but I was perfectly content with how this turned out, so I rolled with it.  Make your shapes and air dry, or bake at 200 for a couple of hours.  I did a combo, and some of them aren't fully dry.  Big/thick shapes will naturally take longer.  Paint when they are dry.

The real beauty in all this is I used no cookie cutters...ok fine I HAVE NO COOKIE CUTTERS IN MY APARTMENT.  I admit it.  I am hoping I can sweet talk my mom out of a few of her million of them.  But, what I did determine is that if you ever had any play dough skills, you can work with salt dough with limited tools.

Here are a few of my favorites, and the rough idea on how I made them (as I would say 40% is luck):

 These were remarkably simple, and my second favorite results.  For snakes I just grabbed off a chunk, rolled it on my table to come out with a pretty even log of salt dough, and determined the size I wanted and tore off that long of a piece.  Sometimes I even guessed just right when I tore it off.

Grab both sides of the log and let the middle touch your wax papered surface.  As you start to lay both sides down slowly, determine where you want them to cross and do so. 

I like to use my fingers and pinch one side to a point for the tail, and flatten the top part out a bit for the head.

I am not 100% convinced these are fully dry yet, so I have not painted them.  Everything will look so much cooler with metallic paint (or LOOKING GLASS PAINT!)
 These are my FAVORITES.  These are a big case of a lucky accident, I was making a leaf and I ended up with the one in the bottom right...not a leaf at all.

To make the inner ridges I used a cake pop stick to poke the dough down, which made successive tiny ridges in there.  For the sides I used a steak knife and made gouges in them...

I know, really complex.

The cake pop stick is also what I used on the left side snake, because I will be putting rhinestones on it later.

Now, imagine these leaves with a turquoise and bronze paint on them...Oh yes.
 I'll be the first to admit this guy could have been better.  Again though, with the right coat of paint he has some serious potential. 

With a lot of the animals, I had to break it down into basic shapes.  As you can see with his tail they are teardrop-esque shapes with holes punched down for rhinestones later.

Mess around and build up your layers to get dimension on these things.  Anything in life can be broken down into basic shapes, and you can use paint and embellishments to add your textures.
 To make this circle without having any tools, I rolled a small chunk into a ball in my hands...AND THEN GAVE IT A GOOD OL MOOOOSH.  I flattened it out, laid it on my surface, and eyeballed it to as best of a circle as I could manage. 

You could be fancy and print you out some templates.

I cannot, because I am still out of ink.

And if you want to cut a wedge out of your circle, you can make a pretty awesome PACMAN PENDANT!! And yes, I will be stringing him on a necklace with some yellow beads to finish the look.  And no, I do not think pacman has an eye, that is where I will be attaching my jump ring.

Punch the holes before you bake btw.

Here are my owls, agian I broke them down into basic shapes.

I have an owl drying right now (air) that I went ahead and put beads in while it was wet dough.

I don't know how well that will work, but I figured it was worth a shot.

My best advice for stuff like this is pull up some google images on owl jewelry to use as a reference while you work.
 Here are some gears, again just made by flattening balls of dough out and cutting out shapes in them.

Salt dough is so super simple to manipulate you are really only limited by what you can think of making.

Well, and how long you can sit in one place if you are me.  The whole 3 hours on the floor indian style idea...not gonna suggest that one.  I was not sure I could make it to my bed after that haha!
Here is a sideways (always forget to turn them) shot of everything I made out of my dough so far.  That is right, I am not all the way through my dough.  I have a piece in a ziploc bag that is easily the size of a roll.  And not even like a pansy dinner roll either, I am talking a ciabatta roll or something.

So basically, if you mess up, you have wasted very little money, just the time that you have invested.  And, if even half of the stuff you make ends up working out, imagine the money you save buying it.  You can make beads, ornaments, decorations, jewelry pendants, anything you want.

For instance, wouldn't those little octopi make the CUTEST picture frame decorations in a themed room?

Of course they would.

After you paint these cuties, seal them with something.  Or if you leave them bare, seal them with something.  Whatever your preference is.  Just make sure you get a good coat or multiple coats on there to maximize their lastability. 

Again, I am not 100% convinced all of my pieces are dry since some are still very dark, so I will be giving them some more time to air dry before I start painting.  Which works well, because I really don't have any paint except for red and gray...

Go make that dough! Pin It Now!

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