July 19, 2011

TUTORIAL: DIY Nautical Party Decor - How To Make Salt Dough Starfish!





"Necessity is the mother of all invention" - Never were truer words spoken, especially when it comes to party styling!! :)

I really wanted to get some cool, sparkling white starfish party props for my Nautical Party shoots that I posted here and here. I tried my local thirfty stores and online to no avail (shipping charges were HUGE!)

So there I was, pondering where to get my darn star fish...when I remembered a (failed) childhood attempt at making salt dough figurines

I got my kids involved too 'cause I figured, if it all fails miserably, at least we've had fun together! BUT, I also secretly thought: "If all fails terribly, I can always say the kids made them!!"  - The shame, I know! :)

Ingredients: 

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup salt
* cold water

In my kitchen I bake cupcakes and starfish. What about you? :)

How to:

1. In a large bowl, mix table salt and flour together. Gradually add the cold water and mix to get a solid dough - Similar to bread dough?

2. Once the dough is made, start getting creative! 

I made some (deformed) seashells, but the big star fish looked pretty cool! WARNING: It can get messy, so use a plastic sheets on your surface whilst your mold the shapes.

There's no recipe or secret here, just mold the dough to resemble a star - I made a big ball, then pulled the starfish tentacles (5 of them) out of the middle of the dough ball until it looked like a starfish. Then, using a tooth pick made little holes on the surfaces.

For the nobly starfish, I just placed little bits of dough on top and made it look a little fatter.

3. Air Drying: Allow the shapes to dry for a day or two, turning them over periodically to speed up the drying process.  After the shapes dry, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to gently smooth any rough edges.

4. Baking Alternative: I'm not patient so I chose this method.

Instead of allowing the dough shapes to air dry, you can bake them in the oven at 200 deg F until hard. Baking times vary depending on oven and dough thickness. Make sure the dough is completely baked! You can cover the dough with foil if it starts to darken before completely baked through.

5. Paint your pieces using white emulsion.





I have to say they turned out pretty cool! What do you think? :)

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