Fall is a wonderful time of year with the leaves changing and the days getting cooler.
We love this salt dough nature craft because it's a way to enjoy the season ... and make a beautiful keepsake that you can hang in a window, use as an ornament, or even give as a gift (it makes a perfect homemade holiday gift to Grandma and Grandpa from the kids!)
This craft is easy to do — just follow the steps below!
What you will need to create your salt dough nature craft:
- A simple salt dough (see recipe below)
- Leaves from plants or trees*
- Food coloring, optional
- A paintbrush
- A rolling pin
- A spray bottle filled with water
Simple Salt Dough recipe
• 1 cup flour
• 1/2 cup salt
• 1/2 cup water
Directions to make simple salt dough:
1. Stir flour and salt until well combined.
2. Add water a little bit at a time and mix well until water is well incorporated.
3. Knead dough for 5-10 minutes. The longer you knead, the smoother your dough.
How to make your keepsake:
- Search for leaves that you will use to make an impression in your dough. As you search, talk to your children about the patterns the item may make. Ask questions like "If we try this leaf, what pattern or texture do you think we will get?" or "How do you think this pine stem would look if we used it as a stamp?" Let creativity take over as you search for items. (*Note: Please be mindful of picking flowers and plants that are still growing. If you choose to pick a flower, only pick a few and leave the rest for our birds, bees, and butterflies!)
- Make your dough, then shape it into small balls, matching the size needed to make a good impression with your leaf.
- Place dough on a flat surface, (a cutting board works well). Gently flatten your ball using the palm of your hand.
- Lightly mist the top of your dough and one side of your leaf with water. (The water helps the dough take on the shape of the impression)
- Place the leaf on top of your dough then gently roll to flatten the dough to about 1/4" thickness. This will create your impression.
- Carefully pull the leaf off of your dough.
- If they are old enough, have your children write their names or a message on the back with a toothpick.
- You can also use a toothpick to put a hole in the top (to thread a string to hang your keepsake after baking)
- Dry your art by placing them in a 250 F degree oven until firm, about two hours.
Want to add color? Add 1 drop of water to 1 drop of food coloring in a small bowl. Using a paintbrush, gently dab the food coloring onto one side of your leaf. Proceed from step four to complete the impression.