Rainy Afternoon Activity: Making Salt Dough Foot/Handprint Keepsakes

1st November 2013
Now summer has left, long gone are the days of taking a bored, energetic toddler out for walks, runs in the park or letting him run around Nana’s garden until his batteries run out.

Instead, we now have rain, rain, more rain and the occasional storm. Last year I was fine with this, because he was crawling and only attempting to walk, and we had plenty of fun crawling all over the flat, but being stuck indoors all day these days, is not a pleasant experience!
After a couple of hours, I can literally see him start to bubble up and up with pent-up energy, and it comes out in tantrums, throwing heavy, breakable objects (usually towards me or my TV), screaming, and generally destroying our home.

So this winter is definitely one I need to prepare for, and a couple of weeks ago came my first test. Remember when it just rained non-stop? Pretty much like it is tonight actually!
After exhausting the usual car games, cooking in his kitchen, skimming the books and Cbeebies, the bubbling began. I googled indoor activities, and came across a really good site, full of ideas to take some of my pain away!

Salt dough keepsakes caught my eye, both because they looked gorgeous, and I had all of the ingredients.

I kitted us out in our aprons, and this is what we had to do:

1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour
Half a cup of warm water
I mixed the ingredients in a large bowl, and had to knead it until it was smooth and stretchy. Now Paul Hollywood I ain’t, so making dough is something I have done very rarely, to the point that I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was kneading, or just squashing and moving REALLY STICKY stuff around a bowl for what seemed like an eternity!
Making Salt Dough Foot/Handprint KeepsakesI thought Chunk would love to get his hands into it and ‘help’ me, but when it stuck to his fingers, he pulled a face of pure disgust and panic, and proceeded to shake his hands to get it off- so you can imagine what my kitchen started to look like.
However, he liked watching me, and my rather tired arms, and eventually it started to become more dough-like. I had to keep adding more dough and flour, because at times it went too dry, and other times it went too sticky again, but eventually I got it! If it’s too sticky add a bit more flour, if too dry, then add a touch more water.

I then put the dough into another bowl, and used my palm to flatten it. I thumbed the edges and peeled it away from the bowl gently, so it produced a nice, flat area to put the imprint on.

The tricky bit was to then get Chunk’s foot and hand at the right angle to get a good print. Chunk tends to move whenever I’ve done prints before, so we had a number of tries before I managed to get some I was happy with. Next time, I will use thinner pieces to see if I will get a clearer print.

Making Salt Dough Foot/Handprint KeepsakesMaking Salt Dough Foot/Handprint KeepsakesIf you want to hang it up, poke a hole into it with a straw, before putting it into the oven, on greaseproof paper, for 3 hours at 100 degrees C. If this isn’t long enough, turn them over and put them back in- I had to do this, because I made them too thick, so they took longer to dry out!

Making Salt Dough Foot/Handprint Keepsakes

Making Salt Dough Foot/Handprint KeepsakesWe bought some metallic paints the day after, so we could paint them another day when we had nothing to do, which happened to be the following, rainy weekend!

Chunk LOVED painting his, and to be honest, I quite enjoyed doing it too.
Chunk’s painted piece is by far my favourite one, as he has mixed some gorgeous colours together, so it now has pride of place in my bedroom!

We are definitely going to do these again- I would love to do it every year, so I can look back and see how much he has grown. They will also be great gifts for family members.
I’ve learnt to be more careful with my ingredients (putting little by little into the bowl) and to roll it out quite thin so it will cook quicker, and as Chunk gets older, I imagine he will get more involved in the making-process, which will make them even more special to me!

Making Salt Dough Foot/Handprint Keepsakes

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  • Unknown

    26th March 2014 at 2:41 pm

    That's a lovely keepsake and fun activity too. I keep meaning to do the same, just not got round to it yet.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  • Tracy Nixon

    3rd July 2014 at 4:47 am

    What a great idea!

  • Claire

    4th July 2014 at 9:22 pm

    It's a really great thing to do every now and then to see how much they grow! Thanks for your lovely comments!

  • Louisa

    15th October 2014 at 3:27 pm

    What a lovely activity to do together. They would make fab decorations for a Xmas tree #minicreations

  • Unknown

    21st October 2014 at 5:55 am

    The Mother says – We were so excited when we had seen you link up again to #minicreations and you definitely haven't disappointed us. We are loving this and what brilliant keepsakes. Maybe potential Christmas presents???
    We're so pleased to welcome you to the GL Gang xxx
    Thanks for linking to #minicreations

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