Thursday, September 20, 2018

The History of Salt Dough Ornaments

The art of the salt dough making is an ancient one, dating back to Egyptian times. In Europe, mainly Germany, this craft became very popular. The art was used widely in home decoration, especially at festive times, much like today.

When immigrants started moving to the United States from Germany, a common place they located to was Pennsylvania. They were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and created ornaments out of salt dough, wood, glass, fabric, metal and many other materials.

In the late 1970's personalized salt dough ornaments became sought after across the country. 1981 was the year I started my venture making salt dough ornaments but at this time the ornaments had a more primitive look. Here are a few of my first creations. Quite different, right?!

In the beginning, I sealed the ornaments with polyurethane which eventually yellowed over time. Later in the 80's I switched to an epoxy finish. It is a hardener and resin mixed together and gives them a clear, high gloss shine and discoloration is minimal.

Over the years products and methods have greatly improved turning this craft into beautiful pieces of art. We are constantly developing new, modern designs to keep up with the trending times. 

I've included the recipe for the dough so you too can try your hand at making your very own ornaments to treasure!

Salt Dough Recipe:

1C. Flour
1/4C. Salt
1/2C. Warm Water


1. Add salt and flour to bowl, gradually add warm water.
2. Mix together until dough forms. If it is sticky, roll in some loose flour and kneed.
3. Roll onto cutting board and use cookie cutters to form desired shapes.
4. Bake at 220 degree for 5 hours or until hard.
5. Paint and decorate with acrylic paints and glitter.
6 Spray with a clear sealer to protect.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I am researching some family traditions for the Holiday season this year, and decided to look into salt dough ornaments on a whim not expecting to find much. What a wonderful deeper meaning you have brought to a family traditions. :)