Stir-Up Shakespeare, by Brownsea Open Air Theatre

Fish for a Feast

For staging banquets and parties – but not for eating!

Note: Salt Dough is not edible and all items made from it are for decoration only.
If you wish to make edible copies of these props, please use your usual pastry mixture and cook accordingly.


  • 4 cups plain flour (the cheapest available)
  • 1 cup table salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional)


  • baking sheet or baking tray, lined with parchment paper
  • board for rolling out dough
  • large mixing bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • rolling pin
  • food colouring (optional)
  • paintbrush or pastry brush for colouring
  • plastic bag or kitchen wrap
  • any kitchen equipment to give a pattern
Finished flat fishFinished fish with pumpkin seed scales.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and water.
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
  3. Knead the dough on the board until it forms a large ball shape.
Kneeded salt dough ball
  1. Divide the ball into 2 halves.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 160°C
  3. Place 1 half in a plastic bag or cover with cling film, and replace in the mixing bowl.
  4. Put the other half on the parchment-covered baking tray and roll out. Shape the dough with your hands until it looks like a fish.
  1. Press pumpkin seeds into the dough, to look like scales.
  2. Make an eye by pressing something into the dough, such as a paintbrush handle or old pencil.
Fish with pumpkin seed scales
  1. Optional – colour mouth and eye with food colouring.
  2. Use the second half of the dough to make another fish. Try a different shape of fish.
  3. Decorate by pressing things into the dough, such as a potato masher, garlic press or cutlery.
Raw flat fish, painted with food colouring,
  1. Add some food colouring to highlight the pattern – use a paintbrush or pastry brush.
  2. Bake at 160°C for 2 hours or until model is completely hardened. Leave to cool.
Finished flat fishFinished fish with pumpkin seed scales.

Props makers have to provide many items of food and drink for the stage. Sometimes it will be real food, for the actors to bite into, but mostly it will be fake, to make the scene look realistic but without wasting food.

Try making a bunch of grapes from salt dough– but remember not to eat them!

You could make a platter ( a large plate) and fill it with fruit or other food, all made from salt dough.

Other Props activities:

Make a drum

How to make a drum

Make your own drum.

Go to activity
Salt Dough Pies and Chicken Drumsticks

Stage Props from Salt Dough

Make fake pies and chicken drumsticks from salt dough.

Go to activity

These activities will be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. The activities are rated according to difficulty and level of parental involvement: these descriptions are intended as a rough guide only. We have rated them to help parents of children aged 8-13, on the assumption that above this age supervision is rarely required, and that below it, supervision is generally required.

Easy : Set it up and off they go.
Intermediate : Some help needed.
Hard : Challenge yourself.