DIY salt dough beads.

Basic salt dough beads are the building blocks of many things from garlands to jewelry. You can imagine my pleasant surprise when Max decided that his project for the day would be to make salt dough beads. All by himself, mind you. “With no supervision”. Here’s how he did it.


large metal bowl
1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup warm water
wooden spoon
acrylic paints
acrylic gloss

First he assembled all the materials. This included a spatter of flour in places that have never seen the light of day in our kitchen. It’s amazing how flour gets everywhere.

In a large bowl, he combined the flour and salt and mixed them well with his wooden spoon. When he was done mixing, parts still looked a little lumpy but this mother held her tongue (and it turned out just fine).

Then he took out the mixture and put it on the clean countertop. He kneaded it well until all the flour and salt were combined and the dough was firm and fairly solid.

Finally, he invited his sisters to help him make beads. To do this, he rolled small amounts of dough of varying sizes between his palms until he had what looked like little balls or marbles. Then he poked a pencil all the way through each bead and made a hole to string thread or wire.

Meanwhile, Micah disregarded his patient instructions, rolled her little balls, and made snowfolk from them. After the beads and snowfolk were made, they were laid out on a sheet of newspaper to dry overnight. We put the remainder in the freezer where it can be thawed and used to make other salt dough creations on a rainy day.

Baked beads anyone?

The next morning, Max wanted those beads to be ready so he could make a gift for some friends who happened to be visiting that day. So he baked the beads at 350 degrees for an hour and then removed them and waited for them to cool. In the meantime, he assembled paintbrushes, acrylic paint, and wet rags (the best way to really clean a brush between colors).

Then the painting began- they painted their beads and chatted about making leaf stew and other such late autumn delicacies. The final result just needs a coat or two of clear acrylic gloss (right next to the acrylic paints at Michael’s) to seal the deal. Bracelets were made for friends. Stay tuned and tomorrow I’ll show you how we used our beads for holiday decorating….

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