Saturday, December 8

Salt Dough Gift Tags x2

One of my most popular posts (especially this time of year!) is my tutorial for making salt dough gift tags.

Since I wrote that post about a year ago, I've had several questions come up, so I'm going to try to knock those out and tackle a couple fun new things today.

So, if you're curious about baking the tags, trying to color them, finding ways to dry them faster, or if you've never made tags before and want to give it a try - just keep reading!

Let's start with a refresher on the recipe:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water
I made a double batch and got about 40 tags out of it. To make plain colored tags, just mix everything together to get started. If you want to try coloring your tags, however, you should start by putting some food coloring into the water, and THEN mix the colored water into the salt & flour. Add a little more flour if you need to to get a nice play dough consistency.

Here's what I learned the hard way: after the dough is mixed, it's crazy hard to get the food coloring mixed all through! The tag on the left I added the coloring less and it's kind of marbled and swirly (so, you know, if that's what you want then add the color afterwards). The one on the right I mixed the coloring into the water first and it turned out much more even. So, now we know. :)


And one more not on coloring: this time all I had was white whole wheat flour so I just used that instead. It still worked just as well, but my tags turned out (duh.) more brown. So if you want whiter tags, make sure you have white flour!

Once your dough is mixed, go ahead and roll it out. I tried making some thicker and some thinner this time. The only real difference in the end was drying time (the thicker ones took a bit longer) so I would say it just depends on what look you're going for and how many tags you want to get out of your dough. I imagine if you went too thin they would be too brittle. The trees above are the thinnest I went.

Now you can start the fun part! Cutting out your tags (be sure to use a straw to make a hole for your ribbons)! I wanted to try something different and make initial tags, so -because I'm cheap and impatient- I used a paring knife to cut out some letters. I do like the idea, but next time I would definitely get some cookie cutters like these. They would have made it much faster, easier, and neater! I think the theme of this post is live & learn.

If you remember last year, I made some simple star tags and used a rubber stamp to make a subtle imprint. I still love them!

So this year when I found a couple more stamps in the $1 bin at Joanne Fabric, I decided to give them a try!

Since these were bigger than most of my cookie cutters, I started by stamping them straight into my sheet of dough.

The I just cut out around them and used a straw to make holes - this time a hole on each end! I know, it's getting crazy up in here.

So, once I had a nice variety of letters, cookie cutter shapes, small balls (more on that later), and stamped pieces, it was time to wait for them to dry.

One of my most common questions has been "how can I make these dry faster?!?". And I hear ya. It takes awhile. So I tried someone's suggestion to bake them on a low temp to try drying them out faster. And... the poofed up like little Christmas ballons. Boo. Definitely not the look I was going for. Is there some oven-baked secret I'm missing? Maybe. But I didn't have any luck speeding up the drying this way. I actually tossed these and started completely over. But all is not lost!

On round two, I decided to try putting them on a metal cooling rack so they would get air on both sides (sorry, no pic!). I found I had to be really careful though because the dough was soft enough the edges could sag through the bars if I didn't make sure the were supported. But, I do feel like this made them dry a little faster. :) It took about 2-3 days depending on how thick the tags were.

So let's see how they turned out! First up, the monogram tags. I'm LOVING how these turned out. I made letters just for the closer friends & family because they took too long (again, cookie cutters recommended!). For letters like "a" where there are more than one in the family, I plan to just use a sharpie to write the full name on the back of each tag.

I do admit, I didn't use enough red so these ones turned out a little pink. My bad. Red always takes more that you think!

Of course, I did some plain cookie cutter shapes too. These pale green trees are my FAVORITE. So pretty and Christmassy, especially with red ribbon.

These can be used for anyone without a letter, and again I'll just write names on the back of the tags.

Oooo, here's a fun one! I use my paring knife to cut out some simple leaf shapes from the green dough (another good opportunity to save your time and sanity with a cookie cutter!) and used my hands to roll up some little balls of red dough. After they dried I hot glued a few of them together for a nice little holly look. I usually use a piece of raffia through each tag to tie it onto my ribbon, but these I glue straight onto the raffia because the holes were covered by berries.

If you're feeling really wild, you can use a holly sprig AND a monogram letter. I know!

But let's not forget about the stamped tags. Remember how I poked holes in both ends of these? I threaded a ribbon through both holes behind the tag. I really like the different look it made. I also wonder if maybe you could use a silver spray paint to get a metallic finish? That could be fun too.

With this one I used raffia and ran it in front of the tag instead.

So what do you think? My favorites are the plain colored monogram letters. I'll be using those for the whole family.

And my back ups are the green trees - for anyone who doesn't have a letter. The red pink ones just didn't speak to me, so I don't think they'll be be making an appearance under the tree.

Hopefully that answers some questions and gives you some fun new ideas to try!

Any thoughts? What do you like or not like? Questions or suggestions for next time? Have you made salt dough tags before or will this be your first time?


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! They are fun to make too! Baby B even loved squishing the dough while I worked. :)

  2. can these be painted when they are dry ?

    1. I would guess they can. I've painted salt dough ornaments before and I don't see how these would be any different. :)

  3. you can spray paint them, use acrylic paint and even some alcohol ink, even some enamel if you're careful, then seal them. keep out of reach of little ones though. :) There are some non-toxic paints and sprays out there, but since my kids are older they know not to touch it anymore. :)

  4. I received a gift tag like this one year. It now hangs on my tree!