Pueblo Indians commonly built their homes made from adobe (clay-enriched soil and water) and sand next to rivers that served as an adequate water supply and hunting place. The homes contained small windows and logs for structural support. The families' homes were often stacked on top of each other and they used ladders to enter and exit their homes, as well as to keep enemies at bay. Recreating adobe and sand homes can be a challenging task, but using salt dough replicates the texture of a common Pueblo home without the wait or the mess.
Cover a cutting board with parchment paper, and tape the edges to the underside. The covered cutting board acts as the durable display for the adobe-lookalike home. The amount of parchment paper you need depends on the size of your cutting board.
Mix 2 cups lukewarm water and 1 Tbsp instant coffee in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. When the coffee grounds are completely dissolved in the water, blend 2 cups of kosher salt and 4 cups of flour with the brown-coloured water. The instant coffee is purely for a natural colouring similar to dried adobe.
Divide the dough ball into thirds with latex glove-covered hands -- the coffee will stain your fingers. Combine two of the pieces of dough into one rectangular block and the last one-third of dough into another smaller rectangular block. Position the smaller rectangular block on top of the larger rectangular block carefully.
Press five 1-inch wide and 2-inch long pieces of wooden dowel into the top 1 inch of each of the two opposite, longer sides of the rectangular block to appear as the log structures of an adobe home. Press the remaining eight dowel pieces, four into each long side, of the smaller rectangular block.
Place the structure in a safe place to dry for up to one week. The thicker the rectangle blocks, the longer it may take to dry.
Arrange two 4-inch long pieces of 1/4-inch thick wooden dowel rod and three 1-inch pieces of dowel at the same thickness in the shape of a ladder. Hot-glue the three shorter pieces, evenly spaced, onto one 4-inch piece of dowel, allow to cool and glue the other 4-inch dowel piece to the three ladder rungs. Repeat the process to create a second ladder for the adobe home.
Paint 1-inch square windows and 1-by-2-inch doors with black acrylic paint and a paintbrush, ensuring that the structure is completely dry before painting. Use your creative judgment as to where the windows and doors should be painted but keep in mind that the Pueblo Indians used small openings in their home to keep the heat out.
Position the ladders up against the structure, one against the bottom tier and one against the top tier. Hot-glue pieces of linguine as door and window frames by breaking it with your hands to the length of the painted windows and doors.
If the dough made in Step 1 is too sticky, add 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp salt until the desired consistency is reached. If the dough is too flaky, add 1 tsp of water.
Tips and warnings
- If the dough made in Step 1 is too sticky, add 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp salt until the desired consistency is reached. If the dough is too flaky, add 1 tsp of water.
Things you need
- Cutting board
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 4 cups flour
- Latex gloves
- 1-inch thick dowel rod cut into 18 pieces, 2-inches long
- 1/4-inch thick dowel rod cut into four 4-inch pieces and six 1-inch pieces
- Hot-glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Black acrylic paint
- Linguine noodles