We have a vase with branches on the dresser in our hall, that I like to decorate for the different seasons. At Easter we had little eggs hanging in it, and over the summer our clothes peg dragon flies that we crafted. But it was time for a change for the Autumn, before the Christmas baubles come out in December, so we made some quick and easy Autumn leaves out of salt dough.
Usually we do plain white salt dough when we make decorations, and paint it afterwards, but this time I had the idea to colour the dough itself. Which meant I could skip the part where I have to chase everyone for days to get the painting finished, haha. Here’s how to make your own. We added some cinnamon, which smelled amazing while it was all in the oven though the smell quickly disappeared once they were done. So you could save yourselves the cinnamon, but it does also give the colours a more muted, natural look than just using the food colouring on it’s own which looked very bright. It’s up to you. Personally, I loved that the whole house smelled so good while we were making these.
SAFETY TIP: These look quite yummy, so be careful little children don’t put them in their mouth. It’s not dangerous though, as all the ingredients are edible, it’s just mostly salt – they will realise soon enough that it tastes disgusting!
- 1/2 cup plain flour (+ some extra for rolling out the dough)
- 1/4 cup fine salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
- a few drops of food colouring
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
You will also need some leaf shaped cookie cutters, a rolling pin, some baking trays, some grease proof paper, and a wooden skewer. Optionally, you can also varnish them with some clear varnish, and you’ll need some thread to hang them up.
- Mix the flour, salt, and cinnamon (if using) in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the water with the food colouring and the oil. We made three batches of salt dough, and used red, orange and yellow food colouring.
- Mix the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients and knead them together until you have a smooth dough.
- Pre-heat your oven to 100C (fan oven not recommended).
- Sprinkle some flour on your work top, and roll out salt your dough to about 0.5cm thick.
- Cut our your leaf shapes and poke a little hole through the top of each with the end of your skewer, then place them on a lined baking tray.
- ‘Bake’ the salt dough in the oven for around 3 hours. You are not actually baking them, you are drying them out. I turned them over after an hour to make sure they dried out evenly. If they still feel soft in the middle, then just put them back in the oven for a bit longer.
- Once the leaves have cooled down completely, you can varnish them if you like but that is optional.
- Finally, tie a loop of thread through the holes you made, and your Autumn leaves are ready to hang up. If you don’t have a vase with branches, you could also string them up along a length of ribbon as a garland.