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DIY Turkey Salt Dough Handprints

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Thanksgiving is sneaking up fast and what better way to celebrate than by crafting these adorable turkey salt dough handprints? This delightful project not only captures a moment in time but also adds a personal touch to your Thanksgiving decorations. Here's a simple guide on how to make these charming turkey salt dough handprints with just a few materials and a whole lot of creativity.

Examples of finished Turkey Salt Dough Handprints.

Materials You'll Need For The Salt Dough Mixture:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup salt

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup cinnamon

  • 1 TBS Ginger

  • 1 TBS Clove


Additional Materials:

  • Rolling pin

  • Puffy Paint in multiple colors

  • Butter Knife

  • Baking sheet

  • Parchment Paper

Salt Dough Instructions

Girl making salt dough.

Step 1: Prepare the Salt Dough for the Turkey Handprints

Involve your kids in the culinary fun by letting them measure and mix the ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, blend the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.


Pro Tip: This presents a fantastic opportunity for your little ones to practice their kitchen skills. The forgiving nature of this salt dough recipe allows room for error, making it a great learning experience. Even if the measurements are a tad off, the dough is likely to turn out just fine. Share the trick of getting an exact cup of flour by slightly overfilling the cup and using a butter knife to level off the excess – a handy kitchen tip!

Girl kneading salt dough.

Next, gradually add water while stirring until the mixture forms a dough. Knead the concoction until it achieves a smooth, pliable texture. The infusion of cinnamon not only adds a delightful scent but also imparts a gingerbread-like appearance to the dough, enhancing the sensory experience of this creative culinary adventure.

Girl rolling out the salt dough with a rolling pin.

Step 2: Flatten and Impress Handprints

Preheat your oven to 220°F, setting the stage for the next step in this delightful culinary adventure. On a flat surface dusted with flour, roll out the salt dough to approximately ¼ inch thickness. I found putting a piece of parchment paper below me worked best. It made it easier to transfer the handprint to the baking sheet.

Hand being pressed into the salt dough to create handprint.

Now, here's where the real magic happens—invite your little ones to press their hands into the dough, creating adorable handprints. Encourage them to spread their fingers wide, mimicking the beautiful feathers of a turkey.

Mom and daughter helping baby press her hand into the dough.

For those with younger siblings, like my older girls who couldn't resist involving their baby sister, the fun multiplies. However, be prepared for some delightful chaos, as capturing the handprint of a wiggly baby can be a bit tricky. In our case, it took both of us—mom and older sibling—holding her hand gently to achieve the perfect print. The extra effort is undoubtedly worth the precious memory!

Girls cutting turkey handprint out.

Step 3: Cut Out the Handprints

Using a knife, carefully cut around the handprints, leaving a turkey-like shape with the handprint as the turkey's feathers. Be sure to leave a triangle next to the thumb print for the turkey's beak. If desired, make a small hole at the top for hanging later.

Example of what the shape should look like after cutting it out.

Once you've delicately cut around the contours of your handprint turkeys, this is what the final masterpiece should resemble.

Handprints baking in oven.

Step 4: Bake and Dry

Carefully transfer the handprint turkeys to a baking sheet and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for around 2-3 hours until completely dry and hard. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning. Let them cool to room tempature before handling.


Here's a little trick to maintain the vibrant brown color of your dough: if it loses some of its richness while baking, fear not! Once the dough has cooled to room temperature, take a moment to rub canola oil over it. Allow the oil to soak in and dry, revitalizing the color and ensuring your handprint turkeys look as charming as ever.


How To Decorate Turkey Salt Dough Handprints

Now comes the exciting part of the process! Once your turkey handprints have cooled, it's time to infuse them with vibrant hues using puffy fabric paint. If you haven't experienced the joy of working with puffy paint, get ready for a delightful treat. This unique paint adds a three-dimensional effect to your artwork, creating a thick layer where applied. Watch as your little one's handprints come to life with the infusion of color, making each turkey uniquely festive and ready to stand out in your Thanksgiving decor.

Painting beak and snood on turkey handprint.

To kick off the painting, I began by using orange puffy paint to fill in the turkey's beak. I then delicately applied red puffy paint to the end of the turkey's beak, skillfully crafting the characteristic feature known as the snood.

Eye painted onto Turkey Hanprint.

To craft the eye for your handprint turkey, I skillfully applied a dollop of white puffy paint at the upper part of the thumbprint, adjacent to the snood. The eye was completed by adding a small dab of black puffy paint on top of the white.

Wings painted on Turkey Hanprint.

Creating adorable wings for our handprint turkeys is a breeze! Begin by drawing a squiggly line in black puffy paint at the midpoint of the palm on the handprint. Elevate the charm by applying brown puffy paint over the black, giving it depth and dimension.

How to paint the "V" pattern onto wings.

For the finishing touches on our charming handprint turkeys, I infused a burst of color into their feathers using various shades of puffy paint. Employing a creative and playful approach, I designed a feather pattern by drawing a series of upside-down V shapes. This artistic arrangement not only brings a vibrant and festive flair to the turkeys but also showcases the individuality of each handprint creation.


Once dry and fully decorated, your handprint turkeys are ready to be displayed. Hang them as ornaments, arrange them on a mantel, or use them as part of your Thanksgiving table centerpiece.


Preserving Salt Dough Ornaments for the Long Haul

For ensuring the longevity of your dried creations, consider applying a layer or two of Mod Podge or using a protective sealer. Both methods work effectively. It's advisable to coat or seal both sides of the ornaments—apply on one side, allow it to dry, then repeat for the other side. If opting for a sealer, it's best to carry out this task in a well-ventilated area and away from children.


Pro Tip: When storing these ornaments between festive seasons, wrap them carefully in bubble wrap for added protection. Place them in a sturdy container that prevents excessive movement, avoiding exposure to moisture or potential impact. This way, your ornaments can be safely stored and cherished for years to come.

Turkey-tastic and thankful for this craft? Don't waddle away just yet—there's more festive fun in store for Thanksgiving! From creating your own table decorations to whipping up delightful place cards, the world of Thanksgiving art projects is at your fingertips. More holiday-inspired fun awaits with these Thanksgiving projects!




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