If you’ve got school-aged kids, you’re probably scrambling around for fun crafts and activities for them to do this summer. So, I’ve come up with a cute craft for kids of all ages to do. If your child is school-aged, they can help with all steps in this craft; younger children will probably only have the attention span to do the decorating part. Either way, they’ll have fun and you’ll get a few minutes to enjoy your tea (or coffee!).

Kids will love decorating their backpacks with these fun key rings at back-to-school time. They also make great gifts at any time of year! If you plan ahead, you could even get next year’s Father’s Day gift out of the way!

Step 1: Make salt dough (see recipe below) and cut into desired shapes.


Purchase a package of assorted wooden shapes and use the ones that have ‘built-in holes’, such as peace sign and rocket shapes.

Tip: feel free to use a mixture of both, like we did. Let your creative juices flow and experiment with a variety of materials

Salt Dough Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

Using a straw, make holes in the salt dough shapes. They should be big enough for a key ring or ball chain to fit through. Then, place shapes on a cookie sheet and bake in a 200 degree F oven for 1.5 – 2 hours, or until hardened.

Tip: try to roll out the dough the same thickness each time so that the shapes bake evenly.

Step 2: Decorate shapes

My kids used washable markers, but you could use acrylic paints as well.

(Optional) Step 2b: Combine elements with a hot glue gun to make 3D designs, such as the hammer keychain below, which incorporates a salt dough circle and a wooden hammer.

Step 3: Spray with a clear sealer (I used Krylon, shown below), making sure to put newspaper below. This prevents the marker or paint from running if it gets damp.


Important: This step should only be done by an adult, and in a very well ventilated area.

Step 4: Insert a key ring or ball chain through your mini masterpiece and proudly display it on your backpack! Assorted packs of key rings (also called findings) can be purchased at your local craft store.

My kids made the crafts shown and also created a few simple ones using just wooden shapes. This is a great alternative for when you’re short on time or just want a less complex activity.