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Nature inspired Valentine's Day crafts

Crafting with nature - salt dough hearts


As the half-term break approaches and the promise of spring fills the air, there's a special joy in watching nature stir from its winter slumber. To celebrate this time of year, why not make nature inspired salt dough hearts imprinted with woodland treasures. It’s a craft that is enjoyed by many, and suitable for all ages.



colourful salt dough hearts handing in a bush
Salt dough hearts

 

Begin by taking a stroll through the woods or local park to collect an assortment of woodland treasures such as delicate catkins, textured leaves, and pine cones. These natural elements can be used to imprint on your salt dough hearts.



a selection of nature finds including fern leaf, beech nut and pine cone
woodland treasures

 

To prepare the salt dough, gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of plain flour (approximately 250g)

  • 1/2 cup of table salt (approximately 125g)

  • 1/2 cup of water (approximately 125ml)

  • A splash of oil (optional, to prevent cracking)

 

Additionally, you'll need:

 

  • Heart-shaped cutters or cardboard templates

  • A straw or skewer to create a hole to loop the string through

  • String for hanging

  • Paint and paintbrushes

 

Let's get started:

 

1. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Gradually add the water, stirring until a dough forms. For added flexibility and to prevent cracking, add a splash of oil.



child busy stirring and mixing up the salt dough
Making the salt dough


3. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it reaches a smooth consistency. Roll out the dough and use your heart-shaped cutters to create your desired shapes.



salt dough rolled out and cut into a heart shape
cutting out a salt dough heart


4. If you intend to hang your salt dough hearts, use a straw or skewer to create a hole near the top of each shape. This will allow you to thread string or ribbon through once the hearts are dry.

5. Now comes the creative part! Press your woodland treasures onto the surface of the salt dough shapes to imprint their unique textures.



pine cones gently pressed into the salt dough heart shapes to add texture
Adding texture using pine cones


6. Place your finished creations on the prepared baking tray and bake for approximately 3 hours, or until they are firm and solid. Allow them to cool completely before moving on to the next step.



girl is using paints to colour the salt dough hearts
Adding colour to the hearts


7. Once cooled, unleash your artistic flair by painting your salt dough hearts with the colours of your choosing. Let your imagination run wild as you adorn them with intricate designs and patterns.

8. These delightful creations make wonderful gifts for loved ones or charming decorations for your own home. Hang them proudly or present them as tokens of affection to spread joy wherever they go.



child proudly showing her finished salt dough hearts
Finished results!

 

I'd be thrilled to hear about your salt dough heart-making adventures! Feel free to share your experiences and creations with me. If you would like some more nature inspo head over to my facebook group - Stay Wild - where I share lots of activity ideas for you and the family: https://www.facebook.com/groups/staywildnatureplay


Happy crafting!


Warm regards

Emma

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