When I was little, my Mom and I used to make salt dough ornaments for our Christmas tree. I made more when I went away to college, then again when I had a house and tree of my own as an adult. This year, my kids and I made more salt dough angels together. This is how we did it...
Here is a pdf file with the template we used for the cut-out portions of the angel pattern. It includes the dress, wings and halo. The head, legs and hands can be rolled and shaped free-form.
First, cut out the various parts of the template.
Then roll out your salt dough so that it's about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. We used a proportion of 2 parts flour to 1 part salt and 1 part water. We put parchment paper down on the table to keep things clean and make the rolling easier.
Next, cut out the dress body, dress arms, wings and halo using a tool with a thin edge (like a butter knife).
It's hard to be very precise when cutting out the "feather" detail on the wings, so we went back over them with a toothpick to shape them more.
To make the angels look more 3-dimensional, we added an actual body underneath the clothes, like this. Then we placed the dress body and sleeves on top.
The sleeves get folded over and a small oval ball of dough becomes the folded hands and helps hold the sleeves in place.
The part my kids liked doing best was adding the hair. We used a garlic press to squeeze out long strands of salt dough, then used toothpicks to shape them around the head, which is the last part to be added. It's also a good idea at this point to poke a hole or two in the place where you plan to hang a string from. We poked two holes in the halo to run string through later.
Here's my 11 year old daughter's angel.
And my 7 year old daughter's...
We put them all in the oven on a low temperature (275 degrees) for 60 minutes, or so, to dry them out.
After they are completely dry and cool, they can be painted. It's a good idea to seal them with some sort of spray varnish after they are decorated, since this keeps additional moisture from penetrating the dough and making them soggy.