Salt dough Santa & gift tags tutorial

I've been trying to lay off the baking for a couple of days (You have to at least attempt to look like you're keeping an eye on fitting into your jeans right!) so have been looking at simple and easy craft ideas for Christmas. I forgot how 3 ingredients (that you usually always have floating around the house) can be turned into SO many things! Yep, i'm talking about that kids favorite SALT DOUGH! 

I'm going to show you how to make a Santa and some stars that can be used as gift tags or hung on the Christmas tree but you really can use salt dough to make anything from baskets to wreaths! Gingerbread men also look cute! Do let me know if you make something yourself, I would love to see!
1) Start by combining your ingredients in a large bowl and mix together until a dough is formed. If you find the mixture is a little bit too sticky, you can add more flour. Remove the dough from bowl and kneed on a flat surface for 5 minutes to smooth out any lumps. If you want to add colour to the dough (I used red & pink), divide into sections and kneed in food colouring. Allow your dough to sit for 20 minutes before using. Left over dough can also be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge for up to a week!

2) On a baking try, make Santa's face by shape an oval out of the dough roughly 1/4 inch thick. 

3) Hand roll a piece of dough into a rope 1/4 inch thick and long enough to fit around the head shape. To attach this piece and subsequent pieces use a little bit of water on the end of your finger and dampen the area you want to stick it to. 

4) Mould a hat shape and attach to the top of Santa's head.
5) Make a pom pom and a band for Santa's hat using the plain dough. Again, attach with a little water. 

6) Roll and flatten 2 small pink balls for cheeks and 2 small red balls for a nose and mouth.

7) Make a beard by rolling small sausage shaped pieces of dough between your fingers and layering up. Start along the the outside edge and worth upwards. Lastly make a little curled end mustache! 

8) Find yourself a hair pin.
9) Push the hair pin into your hat so the loop is at the top. This will be where you can thread some ribbon through to hang your Santa. 

10) Santa is finished! I scored in some eyes that I will go over with a black felt tip once he's dry but you can also just draw on 2 black dots. I'm in now rush so I am leaving him to dry at room temperature for 30-48 hours. To speed up the process you can bake in the oven at 50°C for 30 minutes and then increase to 100°C for 3-4 hours. Once fully set, turn the oven off and leave your items inside to cool down. You can also use a layer of clear varnish on your Santa for a glossy finish.

11) Using the leftover dough, I roughly kneaded the red & plain together to create a marbled effect. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and using a cookie cutter, cut out start shapes. Make a hole in the top using the blunt end of a wooden kebab stick. 

12) Taking the pointed end of your kebab stick, make small dots around the edge of your star. These are great for hanging on the tree or for gift tags on your presents!


  1. I've been making salt dough decorations this week too! However my first batch was a bit naff as I only had rock salt, so had a little trip to tescos for table salt and got back on it!
    I'll post pictures on my blog once i've baked and decorated them! Using the hairgrip for the hanger is a brilliant idea!
    Belle du Brighton

  2. I thought i'd fully stained my hands red with food colouring which wouldn't have been attractive! Simple things seem to have got the better of us! Hahah! I'm just hoping all the bits don't fall off my Santa or else i'll be a super glue job! Can't wait to see what you've made! :-) x

  3. I was planning on making these!! But not as fancy as yours though. Beautiful work!

  4. Not sure I read this right...bake at 50° for 30 mins. You mean 500° right?
    Edie Dexter Hall

    1. It's 50 degrees Celsius or 122 Fahrenheit

    2. I don't think my oven even goes that low.... The other tutorials I've seen said 250 degrees. Are you sure it's 50?

    3. It's 50 degrees Celsius (what we use in the UK) or 122 Fahrenheit :-)

  5. I want to make this with children today but am concerned about the dye on their hands so I'm wondering if I could leave out the dyes and just let them paint with watercolors or acrylics after the ornament is formed right after making it--while it is still wet---then allow it to air dry for 48 hours instead of baking it. Also, have you noticed any difference in the results between air drying or baking them? Thanks!

    1. if you have a health food store they have all natural dyes

  6. What am I doing wrong if they come out white. Its like no matter if I rince them in water its like I diped it in flour!