Pre-Valentine’s Day Fun

As a grandma (and soon to be great-grandma!), I am always looking for fun and easy things to do when I have my grand kids for an afternoon. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I began looking for a few activities that would not involve a lot of expense, but would keep them entertained for a while. I can always come up with a paper heart and card type of craft, but I decided to try something a little messier, a.k.a. more fun...salt dough heart ornaments. These definitely used materials I had on hand, so there was no additional expense to me. What a great way to spend a dreary winter day! Why don’t you try some, too?

First, gather all your supplies for the salt dough ornaments:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

(If you don’t want to make such a large batch, you can easily divide by half)

Other supplies are:

  • Cookie cutter(s)
  • Drinking Straw
  • Cooking Spray
  • Parchment Paper
  • Colorful ribbon, (1/8 to 1/4-inch wide) or string
  • Rolling Pin (use a large drinking glass, if you don’t have a rolling pin)
  • Food coloring or glitter (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 250°F. Place the rack in the center position. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Line the work area with parchment paper to prevent your counters or table from becoming stained.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt until well whisked.

In a glass measuring cup, measure the water. If you want to tint your dough, add the food coloring to the water NOW and mix thoroughly. The color and amount of food coloring is up to you depending on how dark, bright, or light you would like your ornament to be.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the colored water. Stir well.

Knead the dough with your hands for approximately 10 minutes (on top of some parchment paper), or until the dough has become smooth and the color is distributed throughout.

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thickness on the parchment paper. Use whatever shaped cookie cutters you’d like to cut out the dough. Transfer the cut shapes onto the prepared baking sheet.

Use the straw to cut a small hole near the top (where you’d like to hang the ornament from).  Lightly spray the cut shapes with the non stick cooking spray. This will help seal in the color.

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.

Once cooled, decorate the ornaments with paint (if you didn’t tint the dough), gems or anything you wish. Thread the ribbon or string through the holes and tie to hang.

You can use this recipe for any holiday or occasion—or anytime you just want to see a smile on the face of your kids or grand kids—they love to make a mess!!

If you don’t want to try this craft, there are plenty of craft books available in our collection at both the Aurora and Dillsboro buildings. There are also some fun craft books available through our Indiana Digital Download Center. Just look for Digital Downloads on our APLD home page.

Happy Valentine’s Day!