Kids aren’t the only ones who can have fun with a batch of salt dough…although this project is simple enough for a child!

I’ve long been a big fan of the wooden Advent/Easter spiral…the simplicity and beauty of moving a lit candle, day by day, down that wooden “path” to the Holy Birth and Resurrection appeals to young and old, alike.  Unfortunately, due to its handcrafted construction, the wreath is quite pricey…rightfully so, considering the work that goes into its creation.  And if you can afford one, I absolutely encourage you to purchase one…these are heirlooms, to be enjoyed for years to come.

But…if you can’t buy a lovely, handcrafted wooden one…well, you could craft one out of salt dough!

Watching one of my children form a salt dough snake set me on the journey to see if it could be done…guess what?  It can!

First…find an excellent salt dough recipe.  Mine is rather simple.  2 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 cup salt and 1 tsp. olive oil.  Mix until you have a soft, not sticky, pliable dough.  Add water or flour as necessary.  The rest is pretty easy…

Form a spiral…yes…this one is rather large.  For some reason, my mind was on Lent, not Advent!

Notice the 40 holes…these were poked into the wreath using the top of an old Advent candle, you can make 24 holes if you prefer to only use the wreath for Advent.  Make sure the the thickness of your spiral is about 3/4 of an inch.  After baking, I later cut off 16 holes, and saved that portion to be used during Lent:

The template for the Blessed Virgin was just a simple free hand silhouette.  You can find one on line…just cut out, trace onto parchment paper with magic marker.

The marker won’t dry…when you press it on the dough, it will leave a nice traceable imprint, like this.

Make sure your dough is at least a half inch thick so the figure will stand:

Cut out the Blessed Virgin.  Carefully place the Spiral and Virgin Mary on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Be sure to arrange the Spiral so the spaces are wide enough to accomodate the Virgin Mary.  Bake a 350 for 30 – 45 minutes.  Take out of oven and allow to dry overnight.  Spray with clear coat as a primer for your paint and allow to dry.

Then paint.  I used a white base coat.  Notice that the wreath now only shows 24 holes…

I applied a purple and gold mixture.

The Blessed Mother was painted a darker purple, with gold flecks.

I cut the top off that Advent candle that I’d used to poke the holes…and sculpted the bottom to fit into the candle holder “holes.”

The effect is rather homey, not sophisticated…and my seven year old helped throughout the process…I think she could have done it alone, with a little supervision!

Next time your little ones are playing with a batch of salt dough, get creative!  Who knows what you might come up with…