I especially loved this clay my mom used to make for us. What I remember most was making miniature food… teeny tiny hamburgers and hot dogs for my barbie dolls. Because the finished product had been baked hard, it was firm enough to play with.
how to make it
This recipe produces white clay. If you want the clay coloured, you can add food coloring (or sugarless Kool-Aid) in the water when making the clay. (Our hamburger buns were yellow, the patties red.)
- 2 cups baking soda and
- 1 cup cornstarch in a saucepan.
- Add 1 1/4 cups cold water
and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 – 15 minutes. You know its done when it reaches the consistency of squishy mashed potatoes.
[note: if cooked too long, the creations you make may crack.]
Scrape the mixture out of the pan and onto a plate, then cover it with a damp cloth. Once it’s cool enough to handle, pat it until smooth.
cut it out
Or you can place it on a sheet of waxed paper, placing another on top, then roll it our with a rolling pin, to a thickness of about a centimeter (or 3/4 of an inch). Remove the waxed paper and then you can cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Use a toothpick to poke a hole for hanging, making sure it’s not too close to the edge..
While working with it, the unused clay can be kept under the damp cloth. For longer storage, put the remaing dough in a tightly sealed bag or air-tight container in the refrigerator where it will last for at least a week.
Place your creations on a non-aluminum cookie sheet or tinfoil and bake in a preheated oven at the lowest setting for 30 minutes. Turn oven off, leaving the cookie sheet inside for another hour or two. Depending on the thickness of the clay, it may take another day or two before it is absolutely dry all the way through.
Although I usually bake this clay, for thicker sculptures it is best to leave them to air dry on a wire rack for a few days. I have also been told you can microwave your decorations on a paper towel, at 30 seconds per side, turning them until completely dry.
When your creations are dry, they can be painted with just about any craft paints (tempera, acrylic etc) or coloured with markers or crayons.
You can use a craft paint sealer, varathane or even clear nail polish to varnish for a hard sheen and greater durability. (Make sure you have adequate ventilation before using nail polish or any chemical with a strong odor. This step is not suitable for small children.) Glitter, feathers, pom poms etc. can be glued on, with or without varnishing.
We used this most to make Christmas tree decorations, but it can be used to other kinds of wall hangings or small sculptures.
The largest piece I ever made with this was a bathtub for a doll house. I used an oval plastic take-out container as the mold, and coated it with enamel paint to get a nice porcelain bath tub look.
This clay can be useful for anyone. It is great to use with small children because, although not very tasty, it is edible. (For very small children, make sure dried pieces are not small enough to be a choking hazard.)