Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY- Salt Dough Necklace Pt 1

I'm currently in the middle of purging.  Maybe I'm in the mood for spring cleaning?  Maybe I'm getting an early start on moving?  Maybe I just like getting rid of stuff? Whatever the case may be, I'm tossing out stuff, donating stuff, and saving stuff for my first ever yard sale.  (Yay for yard sales!)  I've already tackled my now slimmed down stash of clothes and now I'm purging our food pantry.

We already got rid of several boxes of pasta awhile back because of our new dietary restrictions. However, I never had the heart to toss out all the wheat products.  Case in point- I found a big bag of flour just sitting there in our pantry.  What to do?  We can't use it. Donate it?  I feel strange offering a used bag of flour to friends.  Toss it out?  Bah, what a waste.  What about crafting with it?  I peeked around online and found a recipe to make beads from flour.  You know me, I was intrigued and so I had to try it out.  

Required ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3/4 cups cold water
(Note:  The original recipe made a LOT of dough, so I scaled it back by half.  I probably could have scaled it back even more because I still had way too much.)

Required materials:
- Baking sheet
- Bowl
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Knife/ X-ACTO knife
- Skewer/Coffee stirrer

Optional materials:
- Food coloring
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Paper, pen, scissors

Here's what I did:
(1) I mixed the flour and salt together.
(2) Then, I mixed the water into the mixture.
(3) I kneaded the dough until it felt like play dough.
(4) I divided the dough into two balls.  I added different food coloring to each ball and kneaded until the food coloring was evenly spread throughout. (Note:  I semi-dyed my hands green in the process.  Luckily the dye washed out after several washes.)

Oooh.  What lovely colors!

(5)  I had dreams of making a big chunky necklace made up of big beads.  So, I rolled the dough out into little snakes/logs and then  grabbed off portions of the dough and rolled out uniformly shaped balls.
(6) I used the skewer to create holes through my dough balls so that I could string the beads.
(7) I baked the beads at 250 degrees for 2 hours.  

When I took the beads out, I noticed two major problems:  the beads cracked and the holes sealed up.  

Failure!  What a bummer.
I'm not sure what happened.  Perhaps I should have baked them at a lower temperature?  According to several websites, thicker pieces of salt dough are more likely to crack.  Perhaps I should have made my holes bigger?  Holes seem to have a tendency of shrinking in the oven.  After tossing out these ruined beads I saved the unused dough overnight in an air tight container.  The following day, I went in with a different strategy.

(New 5 and 6) I flattened the dough.  To create the various shapes I created a template with paper, cut it out, and then used a butter knife and an X-ACTO knife to cut the shape out of the dough.  Then, I made larger holes with my skewers.  Here are my final results:

Like diamonds in the rough, these baked salt dough beads ready to be decorated and strung

(Note:  My beads came out a bit bumpy.  I probably should have rolled the dough out using a rolling pin.  Alternatively, I read that you could bake the shapes under a glass baking dish to ensure even thickness.  Also, I found it difficult to lift my already cutout shapes onto the baking sheet.  So, I did my work on parchment paper and then lifted the entire sheet of parchment paper onto the baking pan.)

Click  here to see what I did next!

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