Hands & Photo Heart Keepsake

I have THE cutest keepsake idea for you today: Hands & Photo Heart Keepsake made from salt dough!

handprint & photo heart keepsake

After this Handprint & Photo Keepsake Ornament went viral last month, I’ve been dreaming(literally) about creating something similar but with a love theme(for Valentine’s Day, but also as an extra special keepsake). I *think* this one qualifies, what do you think?

PS: see our latest keepsake gift: Fingerprint Heart Garland Photo Frame!

Here is how we did it:

You need (plain or cake)flour, salt, water and food colouring(if you want it coloured, plain is also nice though). I used a cup of flour plus a cup of salt together with a half cup of coloured water. (Originally I wanted it red, but it came out pinkish because it does get lighter when dry, but I love the colour!)

Simply mix the ingredient until it is dough like. If too sticky add more flour and salt(equal amounts), if too grainy, add more flour, but not too much, it should be a little rough looking.

Roll it out on a baking sheet, covered with wax paper, about 1cm in thickness. Use a biggish heart cookie cutter for the photo part. It should be big enough to fit a reasonable size photo, but not too big so your kids’ hands won’t go around(or almost).

heart cutter

Press the heart first, then add the hands. I added a hand of both my kids, but one can do both hands of one kid too.
pressing hands

Then I removed the heart cut out carefully. The date was added and two holes for the purpose to hang it up with a string.

It was baked for 3 hours at 100’C(200 F). I turned it around and let it lie overnight in the switched off oven(cooling down) and drying the back side properly.

I added a photo to cardboard, measured so it will fit nicely in the open space. This was stuck to the back with glue. A strong string was threaded through the holes and secured tightly at the back. Note: this keepsake is quite heavy and is breakable.
I did see with another project that damp weather softened the frame so I would recommend spraying your salt dough project with a Clear Varnish to protect it.
adding photo

And that is it, I did not use varnish or anything on it. The previous one is a year old, and still looks good, but to be on the safe side, rather varnish it. If you want to add a shiny look to it, you could add a glossy varnish. You can paint it afterwards, add glitter stones before baking or glitter flakes into the dough if you want a more sparkly keepsake.

I love it so much and my hubby does too(he wants one too), so I think we’ll be making another one soon, perhaps with a glittery touch. (I will update if we do.)

Heart keepsake

Will you be making a hands and photo heart keepsake with your child/ren this year?

Perhaps you would like to see these keepsakes too:

Easter Handprint Keepsake
Earth Day Keepsake
Snow globe Fingerprint Keepsake
PS Find more awesome ideas(150 more)in this great book:
(Click the pic to go to Amazon to buy!)


  1. mae says

    I have a few I made with my 5 year old when she was first born and the one I made my mother I decided to seal it with spray paint Lol and out of the two it’s the only one that lasted. Mine unfortunately crumbled at year 3 🙁

  2. Verity says

    At my nursery we seal salt dough by adding PVA glue to paint (half +half) if painting afterwards – this needs very thorough drying similar to drying the dough in a slightly warm oven or by a radiator; or with just PVA glue if the dough is precoloured like yours. It needs to be sealed both on the front and back of the dough, as moisture in the atmosphere (wherever the plaque is kept) will soften and eventually break any salt dough down if unsealed.

  3. says

    I want to do this with the kids in my church nursery, but wont be able to get to an oven until about 1 to 2 hours later. do you think the dough will hold the print until it can be baked?

  4. Michele says

    I made a salt dough Santa handprint a couple years ago and the backside bubbled and cracked a bit after baking. Did your do this? Did you turn it over/upside down overnight when you switched the oven off? And did you never take it out until the next day? I’d LOVE to try this, so cute!

  5. Chloe says

    I’m looking forward to making this with my daughter. We have never done salt dough before. I would like this to be Valentine’s day gifts for the grandparents two love out of state. Do you think these would be safe to ship of packaged right? Thanks! It’s such a cute idea.

  6. says

    Hi! My name is Maya Brown-Zimmerman, and I’m a staff writer for adoption.com. I’m creating a slideshow of valentine crafts that kids can make for their birth families, and I’d like to feature this keepsake. I would use a photo of the craft along with a brief description, and link it to your page. I would not provide instructions for the craft. Do I have your permission? Thank you!

    ~ Maya Brown-Zimmerman
    Staff Storyteller, Adoption.com


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