Monday, October 5, 2009

A Tale of Two Turkeys: Turkey #2 Salt Dough

Here is Turkey #2. A lot quicker than clay and just as charming.

These are salt dough turkeys that Grade 4 completed.

Materials Required:

salt dough, see recipe at end of materials list
paper clip
rolling pin
dull knife
whole cloves (optional)
acrylic paint
Mod Podge

Salt Dough Recipe
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups water

Combine ingredients to make a soft dough, knead in some extra flour if required. This dough will keep for quite a while in the refrigerator.

This is enough dough for 6 turkeys.

Roll out the dough to about 1/2 and inch thickness and cut out a round about 3 and 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter.

I'm using a tomato can...I have one of those can openers that leave no sharp edges...perfect for crafting.

Take your paper clip and insert it into the top of the round for a hanger.

Take some more dough and roll out a rectangular shape.

Cut some strips about the width of your finger.

Using a skewer make some indentations that look like feather marks.

Cut to size and using water glue into place.

It should look like this but feel free to alter as you wish.

Roll out some more dough and cut a small round about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.

I'm using a tomato paste can.

Glue into place with a little water.

Now you need to make the head/neck. Roll a little sausage shape.

Glue into place with a little water.

Make a triangular beak.....

Glue into place.

For eyes you can use two whole cloves or make some out of little balls of dough.

You should end up with something like this.

Here is one of the trays from Grade 4.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 3 hours or until hard.

Let cool.

With acrylic paint add some color to your turkey. The easiest way to paint it is to start with the bottom round and paint your way up just like the way you put your turkey together.

When the paint has dried you can give it a coat of glossy Mod Podge and add a ribbon for hanging.

That's it.

Here is the display of squirrels Grade 1 made. I described how to make these in an earlier post here.

Great job Grade 1!!

See you next time.


  1. I wonder how long it would take in a microwave - or if it would be possible at all....

  2. You make me want to play with salt dough again! It is so forgiving and feels lovely in hand. OOoooooh how badly I need a clone this time of year!

    LOVE the turkeys.

  3. Gail,

    Thank you again for another neat art project. I've added this one too to our activities for November.

  4. so cute!!! I'm gonna try these with my kids! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I'm so excited to try this project with my kids. We tried making small handprint type discs but they always puff up in the oven, any suggestions on preventing that with the turkeys?

  6. These are great! Can these be left to air dry? If so, do you have any ideas on how long that might take?

  7. Three hours in the oven is an awfully long time. Is there any alternatives to dry/harden the salt dough?

    Love, love, love everything you do. Since I stumbled upon your blog last night, I haven't been able to stay away :)

  8. Hi! I love your site and use it often to get amazing projects to do with my students! I am doing these turkeys this week and wonder about the paint. Is it necessary to use acrylic paint, or can I use tempra paint (I am thinking about my budget, of course!!!)
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kathleen,
      I use acrylic because I seal them at the end with podge. A water soluble paint (like tempera) can smear when the podge is applied. If you are not sealing you don't have to worry about that. You also could try a spray sealer if you still want to seal but don't want the smears.
      Hope that helps and good luck with your turkeys!

    2. Thank you so much! My students have really enjoyed doing this project. I was able to find these colours at the Dollarama. Yay class budget!!! Next step is to podge ....Is there a "cheaper" option for sealing? I have approximately 120 turkeys to do..

    3. Podge is the only way to get "shiny". Sealing with white glue and water or polyurethane will give you cloudiness and sometimes the glue/sealer reacts to the salt in the dough. For a large amount of podging I water it down a bit to get it to go further, I also try to get every bit out of the jar by turning it upside down on a disposable plate, you'd be amazed how much clings to the sides of the jar.

    4. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these questions I have!!! I may water it down a little bit to make it go further!

  9. Can you use kosher salt or is it too grainy?

    1. Hi Pattie,
      I've never used kosher salt for salt dough clay so I'm not sure. Chances are it will be more grainy but you can still sculpt with that. I would do a small batch as a test. I don't think it will effect the baking or the long term survival of the piece.
      Let me know how it turns out.

  10. Can u tell me how long it takes to dry the podge

    1. The podge takes about 3 - 4 hrs to appear dry although it may still be a little tacky to touch. It won't fully dry out for about 8 hrs. or so. I only worry about it being fully dry if I'm stacking it with other podged items (e.g.. canvas). Hope that helps.