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Painting Salt Dough

Christmas Customs -
Painting Salt Dough Craft Items
Page 2

By Pauline Weston Thomas for


Christmas Customs - Painting Salt Dough Craft Items Page 2

For Recipe See Christmas Salt Dough Craft Page 1


Painting and Varnishing Salt Dough Craft Items

A free downloadable PDF version these 2 pages is at the bottom of the page.

These Xmas Salt Dough craft items can be used to decorate any part of the house, although I like to hang them around my kitchen.

As explained on the previous page the baked items need to be painted and varnished.  Therefore, I think that it is best to leave Salt Dough for at least a day in a centrally heated home or in a dry airing cupboard before painting to ensure items are quite hard. Then paint with watercolours, gouache paints, emulsion paints, poster paints or acrylic paints. I used Wilkinson's children's poster paints in 6 colours for 1.99. (For fruit wreaths, I suggest using watercolours to get beautiful variations and a build up of tones on apples, pears and plums etc.  You can see some colour guidance for these items in the Marzipan Fruits section.)

After drying the Salt Dough items, varnish the models with either wood varnish or yacht varnish. Water based varnishes are not as good, as you are trying to keep moisture out of the baked item. Spray varnish is also costly and not as effective as two or three coats of wood varnish. However, spray varnish is rapid and will go into awkward places. To my mind, Salt Dough craft looks far better with a glossy or silk varnish finish than a matt finish.

These three items were all painted in rotation together. Wait until each piece is touch dry before adding the next colour. By painting several pieces together, by the time one item is painted another item will be touch dry. You will probably be horrified when I tell you it took me almost 3 hours to paint these items below. I just did not have time at this stage to paint the  Wilson cookie Salt Doughcraft items on the previous page. They would need very careful intricate painting.

Salt Dough Stages of Painting

Painting Bread Dough Stage 1

Painting Salt Dough - Backgrounds

With a medium brush, paint the background layer of each wreath first.  I mixed a primary yellow with a touch of primary red to get the egg yolk colour.  Once the first layer of yellow base was down, I added a touch more red to the yellow and worked some slightly deeper paint shadows into the places where the shadows would fall. This gives the appearance of the plait more depth of interest.

Allow the items to touch dry to avoid smudges of paint. 

Painting the Holly

Next, I used a small fine narrow sable brush to paint the holly leaves. Paint the leaves a rich green. But whilst the paint is still wet, mix some yellow with green to add variegated areas along the veins. This helps add detail that is more interesting. The enlargements will show more colour detail.  You could also use a synthetic Daler brush.

Finally, I painted the holly berries a rich bright primary red. Then I mixed a little black into the red to create a subtler shade of red to dab onto parts of berries to get a more subtle colour variation.

All the thumbnails enlarge

Painting Bread Dough Stage 2 Painting Bread Dough Stage 3 The Varnished Bread Dough Plaited Wreath With Holly

When you finish painting the dough, touch up your errors with the correct colour paint.  Allow the fully painted items to dry overnight or for 8 hours in a warm dry place. Be sure they are fully dry.  You could put them in your oven for a short time if you like.  Just make sure all moisture is dried out as the dough can develop mould if it is damp and the damp can be unwittingly sealed in by the varnish.  After that, varnish the items using yacht or wood varnish.

Painting Bread Dough Holly Wreath Stage 1 Painting Bread Dough Holly Wreath Stage 2 Completed Varnished Bread Dough Holly Wreath


Painting Bread Dough Xmas Tree Stage 1 Xmas Tree Painted. Varnished Bread Dough Xmas Tree


Paint the tree with a mid to dark green colour. If you make it too dark it will look black when varnished, so keep the colour fairly bright.  Emerald green will seem quite dark once coated with varnish.  Allow the base green coat to become touch dry.

Next paint the tub area red. You will probably need to paint the tub twice to get a good red.  Paint the garlands any colours you like and leave to get touch dry. Paint the bow and star yellow.

Trim the scallop of the garland edges with a little freehand painting with some white paint.  Next, add some gold lacquer paint to the bow, the star and above the garlands.  Now leave to dry thoroughly, then apply varnish.  Add the pearls, sequins, seed beads or dragees when the varnish is tacky.  Dry overnight.

Make A Hanger

In all Salt Doughcraft pieces, insert a colour coordinated ribbon or gold ribbon through the holes you made during modelling. 


After Christmas always store the painted salt dough items in a dry place.  I think tissue paper will help protect them.

I don't recommend a far corner of the garage or the loft as I once left some there all year with disastrous results.  When we checked the box not only were some circular items different shapes and quite distorted, but some had mouldy patches.  It was our own fault as of course our storage loft is unheated.  Now I store them in my dining room which is dry and airy.

Note the Xmas tree is about 9 inches high and the large holly wreath is about 9 inches across.


For Recipe See Christmas Salt Dough Craft Page 1

Download PDF version of this Salt Dough page - Complete with recipe.

Page added 4 November 2005.


See Topics Below for More Ideas on Christmas Traditions, Customs, and Recipes


Christmas Crafts

Seasonal Humour

Christmas Traditions

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