How To Make Salt Dough in the Microwave: Quick & Easy Method

The holidays are a time of family, friends, and gifts. One of the most traditional crafts many people love to do is making ornaments out of salt dough. With the microwave method, you can create your own adorable salt dough ornament in just a few minutes!

We decided to try cooking our salt dough in the microwave so that we could paint on it without the long wait for it to dry out, and it definitely sped up the process. If you’re looking for the easiest salt dough recipe, let us show you how to make salt dough in the microwave. 

In this article, we’re going to walk you through the process step by step, with pictures and tips for each step to make it as simple as possible. So whether you’re making these for yourself or as a gift for someone else, don’t miss out on this quick and easy DIY project!

How make salt dough in the microwave. So much quicker than the traditional method. Then kids can paint and decorate their salt dough ornaments

Do you have kids who would like to make salt dough ornaments independently? Using the microwave to make the salt dough is an easy way for them to do so without the use of a stove and heat source.

Easy Microwave Salt Dough Recipe Ingredients

To make the salt dough, you will need just these three basic ingredients which you will mostly likely already have in your kitchen cupboard. All of the ingredients are non-toxic so this is really safe for kids to get involved in the making and mixing process. 

  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Water (it is best to use warm water) 

Go with a ratio of 2:1 flour to salt, and then slowly add water as required. If you add too much water at first, don’t worry you can gradually add more flour to cancel that out.

What flour for salt dough?

Plain all purpose flour is the best flour to use for salt dough. It is better to avoid using self raising flour as it will cause your salt dough ornaments to bubble up when you bake them. If you’re asking yourself why is the salt dough rising? or why does the salt dough puff up? It may be because you have used self raising flour. 

If you notice bubbles while the salt dough is baking, quickly take them out and poke any bubbles with a pin which may help. 

What salt for salt dough?

Just normal table salt works best. You do not want any of the rock salt or fancy salt with larger crystals. 

Is salt dough sticky?

No – the texture of the dough is not supposed to be too sticky, if it’s sticking to your hands as you touch it then you need to add a bit more flour. You want a nice kneadable texture just like you would for any dough that you would bake with such as pizza dough or bread dough. 

Method: Step by Step how to make Salt Dough

making salt doughMix all of ingredients together until it forms a ball, and is not sticky to touch as explained earlier. 

We used a microwave safe bowl to mix the ingredients initially. You can stir with a wooden spoon as younger children normally love to do this, I know mine do! 

Once it’s formed into a ball of roughly the right consistency, you’re ready to roll out your salt dough shapes. 

how to make salt dough

When you’re ready to roll out the dough and shape some salt dough ornaments, you’ll need a rolling pin and some cookie cutters or tools to shape your salt dough creations.

If you would like to hang up your salt dough ornaments as decorations on the Christmas tree, remember to create a hole so that you can add a ribbon for hanging. You can use a metal straw to easily create a nice round hole, or push it through with a pencil. 

Salt Dough crafts really come into popularity around the festive season. If you’re looking for a Christmas salt dough craft, then why not try these salt dough Christmas trees

salt dough Christmas craft

You can also play around with the salt dough making all kinds of creations for all year round like these simple salt dough crafts which my young kids made:

I love you Salt Dough ornaments using cookie cutters: (these are similar)

using cookie cutters on salt dough









Some of the most popular salt dough crafts are stars, hearts, or salt dough hand prints, for a keepsake. 

How long does salt dough last?

If you want to keep the shapes to microwave later, you can keep the salt dough up to around a week max if you store it in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in cling film in the fridge. But this microwave method is so quick and easy that it just makes sense to do it straight away. 

However, if you make extra dough and you want to keep some for a few days, it will be fine just make sure to store it carefully. 

How to microwave salt dough

Whatever you chose, once all your shapes are cut out and ready, place them on a microwave safe plate on top of a piece of kitchen towel / kitchen roll and then put them in the microwave. 

It’s Important to keep an eye on the salt dough and how it is progressing so put your salt dough shapes in the microwave for 10 second blasts and keep checking, until each one is hardened and dry. 

Then you’re ready to paint!

How to tell when salt dough is done baking

If you’re wondering why is my salt dough cracking, it may be over cooked. This is why you need to keep checking on your microwave salt dough after every ten seconds. 

How long does it take salt dough to dry?

With this microwave salt dough method, you will only need around 3 minutes for the salt dough to dry. This depends slightly on the thickness of your salt dough ornament so it can vary a little. 

This is much quicker than the baked salt dough recipes which will take around 2 hours, or the even longer air drying methods.

Will salt dough harden without baking?

Yes – If you do not want to bake your salt dough, you can leave it to air dry but if be aware that this can take around 3 or 4 days air dry fully, before being ready to paint.

With young impatient kids, we found the speed of the microwave salt dough method so much more convenient. 

Let’s face it sometimes we parents are running on a tight schedule last minute, and don’t have days to wait for our salt dough ornaments to dry before they can be painted and given as gifts to friends and family!

What paint to use for salt dough?

The best paint to use for salt dough ornaments is normally acrylic paint. This will give you good quality and vibrant results with a good colour and finish. Just be aware, acrylic paint does not wash out of clothes as easily as children’s washable paint. So have the kids wear some older clothes or cover themselves with a painting apron to be on the safe side. 

When to paint salt dough?

Once the salt dough is fully dried, you can go ahead and paint. That is why this microwave salt dough recipe is so helpful, because you can get painting really quickly. Just let the shapes cool a little after removing from the microwave and you are good to go. 

Some people ask can you paint salt dough before baking? But the answer is no – bake or microwave dry them first, and then paint afterwards. 

painting salt dough


How to seal salt dough ornaments?

Once you have painted the ornament and let the paint dry, it would be best to seal them. You can use any clear varnish but mod podge is great! You can find this in craft shops such as hobby craft. 

Which mod podge for salt dough sealing

If you can get hold of sparkle mod podge, it adds a beautiful effect to your salt dough decorations. Otherwise, any clear mod podge will work great. 

Does salt dough go mouldy?

If you store the salt dough ornaments carefully they will last for years and years, so you can re-use these over and over again on your Christmas tree (or whichever holiday decorations you made with your salt dough creations) 

Sealing the salt dough with mod podge also helps with removing the risk of your salt dough ornaments molding or going bad

More Salt Dough Ideas

Looking for more ideas of things to make with Salt Dough? Try some of these salt dough crafts for inspiration. Kids of all ages can have fun making and painting these beautiful home made salt dough crafts.

scented salt dough pendants

Scented Salt Dough Pendants | Raising Lifelong Learners

These salt dough pendants are scented using essential oils within the dough. 

salt dough bowl handprint craft

Salt Dough handprint bowl | Messy Little Monster 

salt dough star sun catcher craft

Salt Dough Suncatchers | Home Grown Friends

salt dough leaf nature craft

Salt Dough Leaf Impressions The Imagination Tree

More Salt Dough Recipes

For variations on the classic Salt Dough recipe, try some of these ideas which will allow you to make coloured salt dough

Galaxy Salt Dough | Lemon Lime Adventures 

crayon salt dough recipe

Crayon Salt Dough Recipe | Sugar Aunts

watermelon salt dough recipe

Watermelon salt dough recipe | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail

We hope you enjoyed all of these ideas, and the speed and convenience of the microwave salt dough method! Happy crafting! 

3 thoughts on “How To Make Salt Dough in the Microwave: Quick & Easy Method”

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge