How to make salt dough dolls

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Salt dough dolls are inexpensive and very easy to make. The dough is made from three ingredients and can be baked in your oven at home in a very short time. Paint the dolls, cover with a polyurethane varnish and they will last for many years to come. This is a good rainy day project to do with your kids or grand kids when they can't go outside to play.

Add 2 tbsp buckwheat flour to the white flour in a bowl. Add salt and mix the ingredients together in the bowl, using a wooden spatula. Add water, about 178 to 237 ml (3/4 to 1 cup), depending on the humidity in the room, and stir until a large ball is formed.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured flat surface for 10 minutes. It is important to work the dough to remove air bubbles and work out the coarseness of the salt. The dough will feel smooth, flexible and warm to the touch when it is ready to be used.

Cut a 15 cm (6 inch) length of a 6 mm (1/4 inch) diameter wooden dowel. Start sculpting the doll at one end of the dowel.

Start with the trunk of the body. The dough should be wrapped around the dowel. Roll a ball of dough for the head, and stick it on the end of the dowel. Use a sculpting tool to blend it to the trunk of the body. Pinch in at the base of the ball with your thumb and index finger to form a neck. Add arms and legs by rolling small coils and pressing each to the trunk of the body. Use the different clay sculpting tools to blend the arms and legs to the body. Use a few drops of water to help smooth the coils to the body. The tip of a wood skewer works well for creating the details of the face, hands and feet.

Preheat the oven to 100 degrees C (212 degrees F). Line the baking tray with a piece of silicone paper. Place the doll on the baking tray and bake for one hour. Remove the doll from the baking tray. Turn the oven temperature to the lowest heat setting. Place the doll directly on the oven rack and bake for an additional three hours. Let cool completely.

Set the end of the dowel opposite the doll into a block of wood with a 6 mm (1/4 inch) diameter hole drilled into it. This will act as a stand for the doll.

When the doll is completely cool, take a small brush and use different colours of acrylic paint to paint the doll. Place on silicone paper and let dry.Give it a day and it should be fine. Brush the doll with two coats of Polyurethane varnish. This will protect the doll from moisture and humidity.

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