During my years of doing volunteer work with children, crafts like these salt beads were always a huge hit. Recently I came across the very old recipe I used for making this salt clay and thought I would share it here. Working with this clay would be a fun summer project… doable for a wide range of ages… and the salt beads are especially interesting for older children looking for a quality “something” to make.

The recipe is simple. Combine one cup of salt with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of corn starch and cook over a medium heat until the dough is thick. Stir constantly to prevent burning. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it well and form it into beads by rolling small bits of dough between your fingers until they are smooth and nicely shaped. For anyone having trouble making beads of uniform size, try rolling out a small piece of dough to make a rope, then cut equal size slices off the rope to shape into beads.

From the plum tree on our front lawn

Make a hole in the center of each bead or string the beads directly onto a heavy piece of thread, making sure to run the needle directly through the center of the bead. The beads should be turned on the string once a day as they dry to prevent sticking and to keep the stringing hole open. Dental floss is a great option for stringing the beads because it is so sturdy… it is even less likely to break than heavy thread.

No clasp is necessary if the string of beads is made long enough to pass over the head and the ends of the threads are knotted securely. Untinted, the beads will be pure white. For colored beads, food coloring or skin-safe soap dyes can be kneaded into the dough. Try combining two pieces of different colored dough to form two-toned or mottled beads.

The beads should be dried for several days… they will become rock hard. Most colors will fade slightly as the beads dry. The finished beads have a slightly rough texture and an interesting sparkle when the salt particles catch the light.

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I used this idea with my class of 5 and 6 year olds. We made bead bracelets and everyone had a ball. Many of the beads were really beautiful too and the kids did it almost all themselves. Thanks for this great recipe and idea.


My mom used to do this with me when I was a little boy! She would work with me at the kitchen table and I would have a blast. My mom has been gone now for seven years and I haven’t thought of that salt clay for a long time. Thank you for bringing it back to me.


My kids and I made Christmas ornaments out of salt clay one year as their gifts for various family members. Those kids are now 20 and 26 and some of those ornaments are still in use. It’s a good project for kids or adults because the clay adapts to each level of skill.


Thank you for posting this! We used to make these when I was younger also. You can also add a couple of drops of essential oils perfume oil to add fragrance to the beads which is a nice touch and gives them a more “personal” feel.
Thanks again!