Salt Dough Halloween Figures

I needed a quick project for an open studio session at our favorite local art shop, Nido. We didn’t want to do a real clay session because it would require our artists to come back again after we fired the pieces in the kiln. That sort of defeats the purpose of drop-in art time. So, we tried salt dough in the microwave, and voila! Sculpty, painty fun in less than an hour. These ghosts and pumpkins were so much fun, and the project is adaptable for all seasons and occasions. We will definitely revisit this for ornaments this holiday season.

Ingredients (this made 7 ghosts, 4 pumpkins, and a mermaid fairy cat):

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Combine all ingredients, stirring until the mixture is smooth. The dough can be stored overnight in an airtight container. I kept ours in the refrigerator, though I don’t think refrigeration was necessary.
  2. Shape the dough into whatever figures you decide to create. Press the bottoms onto a flat surface so that the figures will stand on their own.
  3. Microwave* the figures in batches for intervals of 30 seconds until the dough hardens. The time will depend on the size of the figures. Dense figures took over 3 minutes, the smaller ones took about 90 seconds.
  4. Allow figures to cool. They will be too hot to handle for awhile.
  5. Use a Sharpie to draw features and details (that’s all we did for decorating the ghosts), or use paint to decorate your figures. We tried tempera and acrylic paints with our test batch, and both looked fine. Tempera is non-toxic, if that makes a difference. The surface of the figures will be pretty rough, so keep that in mind as you are planning the decorating details.

*If you are working with large quantities and/or more time, the figures can be baked in the oven. Line the baking sheet with foil or parchment. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees, then bake 1-3 hours, checking often for done-ness. Take care not to let the figures brown, especially those that you are not painting (like the ghosts).


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