Salt Dough Recipe - Great for Bead Making : Red Ted Art's Blog

Salt Dough Recipe – Bead Necklaces

| July 27, 2011 | 38 Comments

Salt Dough Beads
Welcome back to Kids Get Crafty and today’s Salt Dough Recipe, with which we had a go at Bead Necklaces! We absolutely adored every single stage of this craft and where so chuffed when it was all finished! I do hope you enjoy it too! The best thing about it is, is that it is perfect for these long summer holidays, as there are several stages to the craft that draw it out over several days!

If you want to avoid a brown goo at the end, I often recommend that you use “two colours” only with over enthusiastic toddlers and preschoolers. So today we focussed on Yellow and Blue – you can then add a little bit of basic colour theory and explore Green!

The Book

There is simply one perfect book for this:

Little Blue and Little Yellow Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. I love Leo Lionni and all his little mice books and this is just another wonderful story from him! I confess to having mislaid our copy (tsk tsk), but the basic story goes: Little Blue and Little Yellow are best of friends. One day they give each other such a big hug that they merge and become Green.. oh no! Especially since both their parents now don’t recognise them and send them away. So off they go to figure out how to separate again.. will they do it? A lovely story about friendship with some cheeky colour theory thrown in.

The Craft  & Salt Dough Recipe

Well.. as you may have guessed by now we LOVE salt dough, even more than playdough – it is quicker and easier to make AND you can let it harden and keep your creations for (almost) ever… we decided to go back to our basic salt dough recipe and make our own beads.. When we made our Dinosaurs I discovered that you can add paint “really well” to salt dough and thus turning it into fabulous play dough substance (better than if you use food colouring). So today we did two batches: one coloured set (Yellow and Blue) and one plain set for painting later.

Salt Dough Recipe:

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • UPTO one cup of water
  • Paint of choice – I have noticed that different brands of poster paints dry differently well… so you have to experiment a little over time.. but to be honest any paint works, but you may have to add more according to brand and only trial will let you know! OR of course just use FOOD COLOURING, which works really well too.
  • Chopstick for making holes
  • Paint for painting plain beads (we had some fabulous metallic colours.. but I think you could do this with felt tips too)
  • Elastic/ bakers twine/ string

There are many stages to this craft that are pleasing to children:

making salt dough

1- The Mixing of the salt dough recipe and colour! I let the kids play with the flour and salt, before adding the water and paint myself (it is rather sticky at first). Pour in the water bit by bit. You don’t want the salt dough to be too wet. I kept ours quite dry – and added the last bit of water with the paint.

making salt dough beads saltdough beads

2. Shaping Beads! Red Ted loved making the beads – well he loved making about 4 and then wanted to make dinosaurs again.. Pip Squeak managed about 2… I made the rest. I don’t think it is a problem – afterall they got to have a  go AND do their own thing.. and they loved the next stages too… Basically – form a ball and then use the chopstick to make a hole. This means the bead will end up more oval – as the chopstick squashes the bead a little. The first picture shows Red Ted mixing blue and yellow to get Green! Daddy didn’t think it would work, but it did!

salt dough beads

4. Drying/ baking your beads. Now salt dough has a tendency to “spread” a bit like cookies do in the oven 0n especially if it is a little on the wet side. So whilst drying them you will have to repoke them with your chopstick to make sure the holes don’t close up. In theory you can air dry salt dough, but it takes a good week or two, so we place them in the oven at around 70-100C. After 5 min I turned them and open the holes again. and repeated this another 2-3 times. It isn’t strictly necessary, but better! Even when dried – the beads are a little soft – i.e. I think it takes a little longer for them to fully dry (e.g. maybe a week). But it is ok – only 2 of ours broke (we made 35-40??). The rest are fine!

painting salt dough beads painting salt dough beads

3. Paint your plain beads. We made two types – as I wanted to see what they would look like. I love the natural look that the coloured salt dough has, whilst the also loving the snazziness of the metallic colours. Both fab for different reasons! Red Ted loved painting the beads, as he saw me doing some “adult beads” a few days earlier (see this week’s special how to!). He loved “using the skewer” to “hold” the beads with. It made it rather awkward for him, but fun! I love how he painted the beads all himself and I love the unevenness of the paint!

bead threading for kids bead threading for kids

4. Do your threading! I had some elastic and bakers twine. The elastic got a bit stretchy as the beads are a little heavier. Using the twine was better, but I added some sello tape for easier threading to the end – i.e. it became a little like a shoelace end. Red Ted beaded all of his and Pip Squeak managed two beads! Fabulous!


salt dough beads

Snazzy Painted or

salt dough beads

Whimsical Earthiness!

For more Kid’s Craft ideas, click here for a full list. If you have been crafty with your kid’s be it at home, in the kitchen or outdoors, I would love for you to link up:

I hope you will have a go at our Salt Dough Recipe – add a dash of colour and have fun!

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Category: Kids Craft, salt dough

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  1. Rashmie @MommyLabs says:

    I love this activity and the story sounds realllllllly cute! What a great way to introduce colour theory through a friendship tale! I think it’s utterly creative!

    The salt dough beads turned out lovely -both with natural colours in the dough as well as the painted dough. We love making salt dough, too. You know what – just yesterday I was thinking of making beads with clay. But, making them with salt dough is a great idea – for me as well as the kiddo!

  2. Red Ted Art says:

    Oooh thank you Rashmie – yes, the book is very cute (though a little abstract, but Red Ted didn’t seem to mind that we were talking about blobs of colour) and we love love love our beads! :-) Have fun!

  3. These are lovely! This will also be perfect for occasions such as mother’s day or valentine’s day! Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Snap! We made beads just like these last week :) (ours got extra glitter added – of course!)

  5. Red Ted Art says:

    Cheryl – ooh yes, they would be lovely for mother’s day and v-day :-)

    Cathy – great minds…! 😉

  6. maria says:

    They look lovely!

  7. Isil says:

    They look lovely and I am amazed at Pip Squeak :) Like mother,like daughter :)

  8. Love the dough beads, both look lovely!! And the book is a favorite with Putti too, isnt it so cute:)

  9. Heather @ Montessori Buddy says:

    I love your salt dough beads! I have to make those with my kids.

    Thanks for hosting the linky party. I’ll be adding my blogroll this week with a link to your blog, but I wanted to link up now. I hope that’s okay. : )

  10. Red Ted Art says:

    Absolutely! and thank you for stopping by to link up and adding me to your blogroll! Much appreciated!

  11. Looks really lovely!

  12. we have yet to try our hand at Salt Dough. This is lovely & I know my youngest would ADORE making a necklace out of these. She LOVES jewelry. I will have to fit this in soon! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Kate says:

    Wow! I can’t wait to try this! I have never heard of this book, but it looks perfect for learning about colors. I love all (every step) of your craft! It is so involved and fun!

  14. Ah you sneaky girl! you made them before I could! beautiful and much nicer than what we would manage that’s for sure. Very impressed

  15. Esther says:

    Wow lovely book! looks interesting! we have to try the beads. All fancy, beady things are a hit with CJ.

  16. Red Ted Art says:

    Anna – sounds like salt dough beads are de rigour! And thank you for saying their are nice 😉

    Thank you Kate & Esther – the book is super cute and hope you have fun beading!

  17. Tatjana says:

    Oh, salt dough! I love salt dough crafts! And I love Das kleine Blau und das kleine Gelb even more – my very favourite book as a little girl, I still have it somewhere :-))

  18. Marianne says:

    I’ve seen some really wonderful pieces with salt dough. Your beads came out soo good! What a perfect project for kids, too…non toxic and fun!

    Have a great day,

  19. What a great idea! I’ve never seen anything like it. This is my first time on your site and I’ve bookmarked it for future arts and craft inspiration! Excellent.

  20. Rashi says:

    Your beads turned out so cute, I never tried it yet salt dough but want to try it soon. Thanks for sharing this cute activity for kids.

  21. Tracy says:

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing through Kara’s Look What I Made Linky Party. :)
    I’d love to invite you to share your projects at my weekly linky party….that I host every Friday. I think my viewers will LOVE your projects too. Thanks for the consideration.

    I’ll add your’s to my LINKY PARTY list…..:)

    Tracy ~ Craft Junkie Too
    T.G.I.F Linky Party

  22. Red Ted Art says:

    Angel – lovely to meet you and am so pleased!
    Tracy ) will come and stop by! Thanks for the invite!

  23. Salt dough is perfect isn’t it? And, these look gorgeous! I’ll get DD and BB at it as soon as possible!

  24. I love this….so awesome! I bet even my boys would love doing this.

    Nathan is sharing his favorite crafts of all time..come see his pics!

  25. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    This is such a great visual reminder for children of the lesson from the story.

    This counts as an entry in the Summer Reading Challenge. Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

  26. mummiafelice says:

    Oooooooh I love these! I’ve used slat dough many time but never to make beads! FAB!

  27. Robin says:

    How much fun are these! I LOVE them.

  28. Aimee says:

    This is awesome and well worth the wait! Thank you for linking this post up to The Sunday Showcase!

  29. Ajar says:

    Just a note – we live in the tropics and our salt dough beads got moldy! sigh!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Oh that is a shame! We till have ours from well over two years ago and they are fine. I guess salt dough isn’t suitable for humid climates.

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