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We do a lot of craft projects in our home. I love to use our projects to decorate the house around certain themes or Holidays. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I wanted to do something cute and colorful with the kids. Salt dough decorations are always fun to design and decorate with but when you have little ones, the waiting game while the pieces dry in the oven is no fun at all.

While looking for inspiration, I found a blog post from Rainy Day Mum that said you can actually dry the pieces in the microwave! What? Pieces ready to paint within minutes instead of hours?!? I had to try it!

And you know what, it worked! Here’s what we did this year. Hearts and roses (and an earthworm that made it’s way there somehow)! Aren’t they beautiful?


The recipe for these quick salt dough ornaments is actually the same basic salt dough recipe you see everywhere. You combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of water. (Note: I always add the water slowly until I get the right dough consistency, not sticky, not crumbly, so sometimes I need a bit more or a bit less water. If your dough ends up being to sticky, don’t worry, you can add a bit more flour.)

I don’t have many fancy tools to create shapes and textures. I like to ask the kids to look for objects with interesting shapes or textures to use. This is what we came up with this time. As you can see, we have a few cookie cutters, toothpicks, a metal lid, kitchen utensils. Go with whatever you have, it’s fun to explore and be creative!

To dry the pieces in the microwave oven, the trick is to do it in short increments, a few seconds at a time (10-15 seconds) until they are completely dry. Depending on your microwave and how many pieces you have and their thickness, it should take between 4 and 6 minutes. Don’t try to cut corners: I find if you ‘cook’ them for 20 seconds or more at a time, the dough starts to puff up and bubble which will change the shape and texture of your ornaments. I personally like to flip them over a few times as they dry. I don’t think it’s necessary but it helps to see if all sides are completely dry. Obviously, don’t forget to let them cool off before decorating them. They will be hot when you take them out of the microwave!

Obviously, you should NOT use plastic or metal beads or other materials that could melt or burn in the microwave. I recommend instead adding fun textures and painting and decorating with beads and glitter them AFTER they are dry. You can store leftover salt dough for a few days in an airtight container. Add a few drops of water if you find it a little dry when you decide to use it.

I was really happy with the results and the kids were ecstatic to be able to decorate their hearts and roses in minutes. We’ll be hanging some of them in the house and will probably use a few to decorate gifts.

Are you planning on making any Valentine’s Day craft projects? Let me know, I’m always looking for inspiration and ideas!




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This post currently has 13 responses.

  • Barrie

    What a great idea! Perfect for Valentine’s or a rainy day with kids stuck indoors. My kiddo would have loved this when she was younger!

  • Barrie

    What a great idea! Perfect for Valentine’s or a rainy day with kids stuck indoors. My kiddo would have loved this when she was younger!

  • John Smith

    This would help to develop skills that might than transfer to advanced cookie-making!

  • Jeanine Carlson

    I hadn’t thought of trying the microwave to shorten the time- way cool!

  • Maryann D.

    This does look like a fun and colorful craft for Valentine’s Day. I would enjoy trying this with my niece.

  • Peggy Nunn

    Thank you for these directions. I have always let them air dry for days. I have not thought of the microwave. This will help so much.

  • These are super cute! Great job kiddos! We tried salt dough ornaments and they didn’t turn out well. Maybe we will try them again soon.

  • Dana Rodriguez

    This is such a super cute idea. Great project for kids on the weekend!

  • Rosie

    These are adorable, and I appreciate the extra little tips to make it go right! And I haven’t been able to find the earthworm!

  • Alice F.

    What a great idea for a child friendly craft! I remember doing a craft like this several years ago, but used the oven. Very nice that we can use a microwave to expedite the final product.

  • Sarah L

    That’s a great project. I didn’t know about drying them in the microwave. Much quicker to dry that way.

  • Lauryn R

    These are such pretty craft projects to do with the kids, I can’t wait! 🙂 I am always looking for fun new crafts for the kids and I to do together, thank you so much for sharing!

  • ellen beck

    Salt dough ornaments are so fun to make and so easy. I remember making these when I was a kid and loving doing it. These would also make terrific gifts for Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents or if you got a bunch of kids together maybe nursing homes. Everyone loves ornaments made bu children, I know I do!

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