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On my Pinterest feed I regularly see photos of beach vacation keepsakes, where kids have placed seashells into salt dough to make a plaque. As we don’t have any beach vacations planned any time soon, I decided to make our own version – with pebbles!
For the salt dough:
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- ¼ cup bulgur wheat or other grain*
- 1½ cups water
* I had a tiny amount of bulgur wheat left in a bag that needed using up – I added it to this salt dough to give it a nice mottled natural texture. You could replace this with amaranth, flax, seeds, or anything that needs using up! Alternatively, keep it plain and replace it with extra flour.
Combine all the ingredients together until a dough has formed. Add more flour if too wet, more water if too dry.
Split the mixture into four sections. Roll each one into a ball then flatten them into a wide burger shape. Place them on greased foil-lined baking trays or silicone mats. Preheat the oven to 275F. Invite your child to get creative with some pebbles (I got a big 32oz bag of tiny pebbles from the dollar store – but you could use rocks from your garden, or those from a scavenger hunt, or vacation. And of course Amazon sells them!)
I started with a spiral design and my son did a random pattern.
I then used pebbles to make his initial “F”, and he thoughtfully made an “M” for Mommy! We made sure all the pebbles were firmly pushed into the salt dough, then I baked them for 2.5 hours. They felt fairly firm after that baking time, but I left them to dry further overnight.
My husband happened to be using varnish for another project, so I borrowed some and gave each plaque a layer. I really wanted to put them in the garden as stepping stones, but had no idea how the salt dough would hold up outside if it rained. Would a layer of varnish be enough? Or would the dough just disintegrate?
I put one of the plaques outside to test it. When I checked an hour later – it had gone! Presumably nabbed by a very confused squirrel! So although these look lovely outside, maybe keep them inside if you have squirrels. Or rain. 🙂 They’d make great gifts, too!