Nature Craft: Salt Dough Imprints
Nature is pretty impressive. Sometimes it’s nice to keep a reminder of the things you’ve seen or the places you’ve been in nature. Perhaps you’ve found a special leaf or branch or a piece of bark with an interesting texture from a walk in the woods. Or a shell or barnacle from a recent trip to the shore with neat ridges and designs caught your eye. Making nature imprints in salt dough is a great way to do just that!
*Note on collecting: Make sure you have permission to collect items from an area. It is always best to collect dead or fallen items, like an empty shell from the beach or a fallen pinecone from the forest floor. Only take a few pieces to use for imprints and try to return them back to where you found them if possible. Objects with a lot of texture or a distinctive shape will give you the most interesting results.
- 1 c fine table salt
- 2 c flour
- ¾ c lukewarm water
- Measure out flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix water and salt, until dissolved.
- Slowly add saltwater to the flour, stirring after each addition until a soft dough forms. If necessary, add a little more water, but ensure dough doesn’t get too sticky to touch.
- Shape dough into a ball and knead on the counter until smooth and easy to handle. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- With a rolling pin, roll out dough until it is 1-2 cm thick.
- Using a round cookie cutter (or the lid ring from a mason jar), cut out as many dough circles as you’ll need. Note: if you plan to hang the impressions afterwards, now is the best time to poke a hole in the circle so you can string it later! A reusable straw or knitting needle works well.
- Press some of your treasures into the dough. You can use your rolling pin to help you press some of your flatter finds more evenly.
- Place your creations in a warm, draft-free area, and allow 3–5 days for them to dry, flipping every 24 hours or so. If you’d prefer, you can also dry them at 200°F in an oven for about two hours.
Thoughts Taking Shape
Which bits of nature worked best? Sturdier or harder bits of nature, such as evergreens, sticks, and cones, or softer samples of nature, such as leaves and flowers?
NatureKids BC is a registered charity that helps children aged 5-12 get outdoors to explore, play, learn about and take action for nature. We do this through a network of family nature clubs that extends across British Columbia and through opportunities to engage in citizen science initiatives and environmental stewardship activities. Already a member? You can use this activity as part of your Action Awards Quest! www.naturekidsbc.ca