Make salt dough with natural dyes

Make your own naturally-dyed salt dough with just a few simple ingredients. You can add different colours to your dough using natural dyes from grass, flower petals, fruits or even charcoal.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with this and have fun. Experimenting with dough is an amazing activity to calm and focus the mind. Supervision will be needed at times during this activity for young children.

If you would rather paint your salt dough animals, click here.

What you will need:

  • Plain flour (1 cup)
  • Salt (1/2 cup)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Pestle and mortar (or even grind using a stone or with a stick in a jar)
  • Colourful petals, grass, fruits to use as dyes
  • Shaping tools (like a fork and pencil)
  • Baking tray, lined with baking paper or flour
  • Oven or airing cupboard
  • Varnish
  • Paintbrush

How to make your salt dough and natural dyes:

  1. Mix together the flour, salt and water until you get a dough as shown in the video below.
  2. Having collected your natural objects to turn into dyes, add one ingredient at a time to the pestle and mortar and crush. Try adding a few drops of water if the mixture is too dry.
  3. Once you’re happy with colour, add the ground up mixture to a ball of your dough and kneed the colour throughout (you may need to add some more flour if its too wet).
  4. You should now have a rainbow of different colours for your modelling.
  5. Time to get creative and make your models!
  6. Once you’ve made your models, place them onto the baking tray and put them into an oven on a low heat. If you don’t have an oven, you could try using an airing cupboard or a sunny window ledge.
  7. Wait until the dough is hard – this can take up to 3 hours. Carefully take the tray from the oven and allow your creations to cool.
  8. Add a layer of varnish to stop the dough from going soft.




This activity was developed as part of the Let’s Notice Nature initiative of Earn Your Stripes,

in partnership with Scottish Badgers.

Share your creations using #DiscoverLearnPlay

Time to complete

4 hours

Suitable for age

Suitable location

Curriculum linked

Expressive Arts (Art and design)

Health and Wellbeing


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