Even as crafting has gotten more sophisticated over the years, with the explosion in popularity of scrapbooking and papercrafting, it’s always nice to revisit an old craft, maybe even one that we did in grade school. One such craft is salt dough art. Like many people, I was first introduced to salt dough in grade school, when we used it to make Christmas ornaments. After several decades of not playing with the stuff, about two years ago, I gave this long forgotten craft another look. I was trying to make Christmas ornaments that looked like frosted sugar cookies.
I was able to make a few, but I had limited success scaling up, as I kept running into road blocks – problems baking them, varnishing them, and decorating them – so I put them on the back burner. But my interest in dough crafts had been piqued, and I began looking for secondhand books on the subject, but didn’t find a whole lot out there. Although there are a lot of books available on the internet, like Amazon, I wanted to get my hands on actual books to peruse before purchasing. It wasn’t until last weekend, when I was purchasing inventory for my online business at the annual rummage sale to end all rummage sales – the White Elephant Sale to benefit the Oakland Museum of California – that I found a book that really showcased the art of salt dough.
Dough Crafts by Isolde Kiskalt is an English translation of a book originally printed in Germany in the 1980’s. It is obvious upon looking through the book, that Kiskalt has spent many years perfecting the craft of salt dough. Her baking instructions are very thorough, more thorough than I’ve yet to see in any other book. She also offers a lot of troubleshooting tips that will be helpful to me, as I ran into these very same problems with my ornaments.
While the book is lacking in actual instructions for the projects shown, it is nonetheless very inspirational, as it showcases the breadth of possiblity of crafting with salt dough, from figurines and dolls,
to decorative plaques,
to a tray that can double as a game.
There is even fake food in the form of pretzels and breads.
This wreath is reminiscent of some of the decorative breads made for St Joseph’s feast in Sicily:
I have never seen salt dough art that is so intricate as this charming framed picture of a gnome knitting with a hedgehog:
Something to aspire to. But first, I need to figure out my ornaments!
When was the last time you crafted with salt dough? Are you tempted to pick it up again? Please discuss in the comments.
Please note: I have not been compensated in any way, nor will I be, for mentioning any of the products, organizations, and people in this post. All comments and opinions expressed are entirely my own.