Salt Dough Footprint Heart

A Fun Craft for Kids and a Great Gift for Parents

We made this project as a birthday present for the girls' grandma, but it works great for birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Mother's, and Father's Days too!

It's easy to make, and easy for little hands to help. So it's a great project for babies, toddlers, preschoolers or even older kids. You could also make smaller versions to hang as ornaments.

I've posted step-by-step photos so you can easily follow along!

salt dough heart footprints gift toddler activity
salt dough heart footprints gift toddler activity
salt dough heart footprints gift toddler activity
salt dough heart footprints gift toddler activity


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


First, dump them all in a bowl and mix well. (Little hands are great helpers with this!)

We used a fork to mix it until it came together in a ball (see below). You can judge if you think you need a little more water. It should be a similar consistency to play dough.

Mixing the dough in a bowl.
Mixing the dough in a bowl.
Forming the dough.
Forming the dough.
Our salt dough heart, ready for a footprint.
Our salt dough heart, ready for a footprint.

Now shape it into whatever you want, like this heart above. We did one large shape so it would be more like a plaque or stepping stone, but you can make multiple smaller ones as well.

(I decided not to add any holes for hanging because I was afraid it would be too heavy. But if you'd like to hang yours, use a straw to add one or two holes near the top.)

Then, I put the dough directly on the pan and parchment paper that I was going to bake it on.

Adding a footprint to your salt dough heart.
Adding a footprint to your salt dough heart.

Next, we put the heart on the floor and each of my daughters stepped on the one side of the heart as I gently pressed down on their foot to make an impression.

Then, I used the thin handle of a fork to carve their names above their footprints and the year in the center. (See below.)

Names and dates carved into the heart with a utensil handle.
Names and dates carved into the heart with a utensil handle.

Now, it's time to bake! Bake at about 200F (or 100C) for 3 hours.

Check to see if it's dry. If you did multiple little ones, they'll probably be done. But if you did one big one like us, then it may need a little longer. The bottom of ours was still a little moist in the center, so I turned it upside down and baked it for another hour.

salt dough heart footprints gift toddler activity
salt dough heart footprints gift toddler activity

Take out your baked heart and let it cool. Once it's fully cooled, you can paint it.

We used a metallic purple, which dried with a nice sheen. Foam brushes are best for this part, and to get paint in all the letters, you have to dab them a bit. I had to help make sure we got all around the edge, too. You could paint the bottom as well, if you wanted.

The painted heart.
The painted heart.

Let it dry completely, then display it or wrap it up as a very special gift!

I liked how it looked against the leaves, but Grandma decided to keep hers indoors.

We never got around to sealing the heart, but since it was kept in the house that wasn't a problem. If you intend to keep yours outdoors you should apply a sealant, like a craft spray sealer.

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Let us know what you think! 85 comments

safereview profile image

safereview 4 years ago from Kansas City

Great lens... this looks like an awesome and fun project for the family. Blessed.

anonymous 3 years ago

This is so awesome! I am wanting to make something like with my pre k class. Only problem is I will not be able to put them in oven for several hrs. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks so much!

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: If you can't bake them, they will dry on their own. I'd make them on a Friday and let them dry over the weekend. Sunlight would help the process, and the thicker they are, the longer it will take.

anonymous 3 years ago

This is cool even for those of us who are not so young anymore! Even older moms would love this from their grown children!

anonymous 3 years ago

Love the idea! I thought I read u can make smaller version as Christmas ornament? How?

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: I used the whole dough recipe for this heart, but you could split the dough into smaller sections first, to make smaller shapes. Then put a hole near the top (not to close to the edge) with a toothpick or straw before baking. They'll probably take less time to bake. Then you can attach a ribbon where you made the hole to hang them.

anonymous 3 years ago

@roamingrosie: I love this idea of just letting it dry naturally too!

anonymous 3 years ago

i was wondering how you kept the paper from sticking?

anonymous 3 years ago

What kind of salt did you use

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: Me, too! It's just a little too humid here for that. :)

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: Parchment paper won't stick to it, since it's made for baking.

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: Normal table salt. Whatever we had in the pantry.

anonymous 3 years ago

my daughter Kiera was born on Aug 20 of this year and her big sister's name is Fiona. you have great taste in names!!

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: That is amazing!!! Love it! :)

anonymous 3 years ago

What kind of paint did you use? Did you need to seal it first?


roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: I used acrylic. I actually didn't seal ours because my mom keeps it on display inside. But if you're going to put them outdoors, or store them (like ornaments), then I would seal it after you paint it.

CharMarie profile image

CharMarie 3 years ago

I love this idea! I can't wait to do this with my little grand-daughters! Thanks so much!

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 3 years ago Author

@CharMarie: Thank you! I'm sure they'll love it! :)

naimahanif 3 years ago

My elder one is 4 nearly. Feet is big for heart. Any other Possible shape for big feet. I love this idea

naimahanif 3 years ago

Step : Harden the Shapes in the Microwave

Once the shapes are ready, they need two or three minutes in the microwave to harden them up. Put them onto a layer of greaseproof paper, on a plate.

If you don't have a microwave, you can leave them to air-dry for a day or two, or you can put them into a very low oven until they're hard. You might need to cover them with foil if they start to go brown before they're done!

Copied from channel 4 website. I thought useful for us.

lrmalloch 3 years ago

Love this

moksha-muksha 2 years ago

am impressed. definitely going to try it out for my li'l grand 3m now

loyalcatgirl 2 years ago

This is so cool!

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 2 years ago Author

@naimahanif: I did this when my daughter was almost 3, but even now, at 4, I think a heart would still work. Since you can mold the dough into any shape, just try making a heart large enough for her feet. Or try something smaller, like when I made magnets with just the girls' fingerprints:

sarahdellavecchio 2 years ago

Mine was too sticky couldn't make a footprint. What did I do wrong?

marla-eckert-1994 2 years ago

@roamingrosie: What stops them from burning in the oven..? 3 hours is an awful long time for a dough.

roamingrosie profile image

roamingrosie 2 years ago Author

@sarahdellavecchio: Probably too much water. If it's sticky, try adding more flour.

Mia 2 years ago

Will it last forever? in a humid place like i stay...will fungus came on it?

Carrie 2 years ago

Do you have to use parchment paper?

MJ Martin profile image

MJ Martin 2 years ago from Washington State

Such a fun project. I really like all the pictures showing how to do it. One year we made a bunch for tree decorations when we were kids. Now I want to try some to put outside, fun, fun.

Rebecca 2 years ago

loved doing these:) I used rock salt and it still worked and had a great look to it

Raquel 2 years ago

Can you pre-make the dough?

Raquel 2 years ago

Can I pre-make the dough and store it? If so, how would I store it?

autumn 2 years ago

I've done two batches of these last night and each time the wax paper stuck to it. What am I doing wrong?

Christine 2 years ago

I followed exactly and it dried perfectly (it was hard as a rock) I then painted with acrylic paint and it seems to have softened up since I added the paint. Will it harden again? Did your soften after you painted it?

Brittany 2 years ago

I did this and baked it everything like you said and it is all puffy, did I do something wrong?? Please help

Courtney 2 years ago

I did the same thing and mine was all puffy as well...pretty disappointed :(

Carrie 2 years ago

Split the dough and made a hand and footprint of my granddaughter as ornaments. Took about 5 hours in oven cause I had to turn over. But they came out perfect. Will attempt to paint today.

Courtney 2 years ago

I just put two in the oven for Christmas for grandparents! I can't wait to see how they turn out. This was really easy.

MSGolden51 profile image

MSGolden51 2 years ago

That seem fun to make and is a great idea for any occasion.

CD 2 years ago

Can you use Gluten free flour for this instead?

Jamey 2 years ago

Hi. I had to add a few things to this tutorial. I trial and errored a few ingredients. Use regular table salt not kosher or course salt. The texture won't be smooth unless you use the finer iodized table salt. Also, use only all purpose flour. All I had was whole wheat flour. That's a no no! Haha. It's way too sticky. So cheapest of ingredients is best. I had an issue when I painted mine with the acrylic paint. The paint would start coming off the salt dough after I would smooth out the paint with the foam brush a couple times. In turn, I had to paint over that spot again. It made the paint look chunky. Do you have any tips for me on this? Loved the project though. Thank you!

Responsible Woman profile image

Responsible Woman 2 years ago

Love this project!! Now I cannot wait to try it!!

Tina Pulliam 2 years ago

What kind of Flour? Plain flour or self-rising? Love the Idea, I going to make this with my dog, Lola for her Grandma

The Schreibfeder profile image

The Schreibfeder 2 years ago

This is pretty cool! Thanks for sharing

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Stargrrl 2 years ago

This is really cool. I had one done for my cat before she passed away. So I have an impression of her paw.

KG 2 years ago

What size heart does this recipe make? TIA

The Little Tourist Crafts 2 years ago

This is such a sweet idea... one that's great for dads and grandparents, too!

Thank you for sharing!

Dianne 2 years ago

Ours came out burnt after just an hour :(

ML 2 years ago

I did this for my kids but I did a handprint. I just found them the other day. I did them in 1974. My son was 3 and my daughter was 1. I should have had a piece of "dough" that was thicker (it would have taken longer to oven dry) and if I had known, I would have also put an acrylic coating (or something like it) on them after they cooled. I STILL LOVE THEM and so glad I had done it.

confused aunt 23 months ago

I folowed the very simple recipe with my nieces today. Trying to make something for there mom for mothers day. I tried it twice but mine was coming out more sticky then dough. Where did I go wrong?

Simply Kierste 23 months ago

I'm featuring this on Babycenter this week--one picture and link--please let me know if that's not okay!!

vicky 22 months ago

mines in the oven as we speak only been in there for 50 mins and its already rose and brown what am i doing wrong?

Erin 22 months ago

Interested in making this for grandmas garden. How would you seal it and do you think it would be ok outside in the elements?

nae 22 months ago

Great idea! What did u use to bake it on

Shelina 21 months ago

is it supposed to rise while in the oven? And will it go down once it cools? I still have another hour before its done baking.

Lisa 21 months ago

if its sticky, just add flour.. Mine was a little sticky but once it bakes it was harden up. Also, put flour on kids feet before doing so. I have five boys, just finished this project. 14 years down to 5 months. I obviously did several hearts. Lol if your dough is thinner it will take less time. Just keep an eye on it, mine only baked for an hour and 15 minutes

Cinthia 21 months ago

Is it supposed to puff up?

Shaina Braun 21 months ago

This is the cutest idea! I am going to do this for fathers day!

Mariann 21 months ago

I did this for my mother in law who considers our little dogs her grand pups. It was a little harder to push their pay prints in the dough but it worked great. We did two smaller hearts with their names and year. It made a great mothers day gift. She LOVES it! Ty for the awesome idea!! It was very easy to make.

ASHITHA 21 months ago

How long will they last ?! Planning to do this for my moms bdy.. will dey turn moldy in a year ? Expiry date please?!! :)

Barb 20 months ago

I stuck some food coloring in the dough because I don't want to mess with paint. It's out drying right now, but the results seem pretty good so far!

Jess 20 months ago

this may sound like a stupid question but what exactly did you bake it on and did you use any coating to make sure it didn't stick to it while baking?

Lj 20 months ago

No wax paper....can i still do on a nonstick pan?

LaToya 20 months ago

Ladies are we using self rising or plain flour? Going to make these with my kids for their dad for father's day

raelynn delacruz 20 months ago

I berly put mine in the over so let's see how it comes out where doing it for my dad for fathers day and my sons dad hope they come out good

Joy 20 months ago

I loved this and so did the kiddos!! Great idea... Thanks for sharing! My hubby an I will cherish them

Danielle 17 months ago

mune definately doesn't look like this. I think I should've made it a little more thick than what I did. But mine was sticky and I realized I added to much extra water so I added some flour but it was sticking to her feet. So I rubbed flour on her feet. It turned out ok for a first time try but trying to write her name in was a little difficult

littlesnoo 14 months ago

She used parchment paper! Not wax...FYI :)

Bsor 14 months ago

Cooked mine for 6 hours, turned it over halfway. It's still plyable on bottom and a little on top. Not sure if I can go ahead and paint it or wait until it's completely dry. Please advise!

kiddiecreations profile image

kiddiecreations 13 months ago

I love this! I think I'll make this with my son soon. Thanks for sharing about how to make it! Crafts make me happy and especially keepsakes like this one. 12 months ago

What temp do you cook it on and for how long?

12 months ago

It says 200 for 3 hours but do you preheat or no?

10 months ago

Does it matter what kind of flour to use?

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elatea 10 months ago

What temp do you cook it on and for how long? pleas answer

Paloma Guillo 9 months ago

I have made this several times, but the problem I have encounter is that it cracks in time. What can I do?

Mary807 9 months ago

Salt dough must be kept indoors! Even ornaments needs to be in an air tight container or they will get soft. I would use a concrete stepping stone kit for outside. But it's very cute!

stephan 9 months ago

Why did mine poof up? I followed the directions. :\

eilval profile image

eilval 8 months ago from Western Cape , South Africa

This is such a clever idea. Thanks for sharing !

Debby 7 months ago

If you put it outside it will disintegrate, I made one for my daughter in law and it turned to mush. We even had it painted. My grandchildren were so disappointed

4 months ago

Just made this today with my 14/mo old daughter and it came out great! We didn't paint it yet though because I wasn't sure what type of paint to use, but I've read through the comments and saw someone else asked that same question. It's a very simple and cute craft idea! Thank you!

Sandra Ruffen 2 months ago

I think is an excellent idea since you get to keep it for ever. I find that now people don keep too many things for their children in the future. Maybe because of space issue, or because they are not as sentimental as before, who knows? But to me is something that we should always try to keep for our kids so they don't get lost from their real roots.

Lennox 2 months ago

Very hard to paint.. brushes remove it! Anyone try spray paint?? And if it's too big it puffs like dough and doesn't become hard. Smaller is better !

Top10 Gifts profile image

Top10 Gifts 6 weeks ago

This is the sweetest gift idea. I wish I had made this gift for my husband when my child was little. So sorry I didn't.

Jennifer 5 weeks ago

Hi can I use the kids hand prints instead if feet, I think it would make nice mother's day gifts for my students to give their mons

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