Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I'm pretty sure that just about every parent has whipped up a batch of homemade clay at one time or another. I think we've tried just about every clay recipe we've ever run across.
Some are better than others and some just have different purposes. We have a play-dough recipe that stays soft and colorful for practically forever and won't dry out a long as you keep it in a zippy bag. We make a new batch from time to time and I think the making is as much fun as the playing when its done.

Still, we had a difficult time finding a baker's type clay that we really liked. The typical salt/flour stuff distorts too easily and I wasn't fond of the texture. Some clays didn't dry well... they would crack or get grainy of just plain stink while they baked.

Then we found this simple recipe and fell in love. I don't even remember where it came from... I have it scribbled on a piece of paper in the back of my recipe binder.

Simple ingredients. It does need to be cooked but is well worth the extra time and effort.

2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup water

Mix the baking soda and cornstarch in a heavy pot. Add the water and stir to start mixing. Put on the stove on medium heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly.

In a minute or two the watery mixture will begin to thicken and then will quite suddenly take on the characteristics of mashed potatoes... take it off the stove as soon as it does this and dump it out of the pot onto a cookies sheet in one lump. Cover the lump with a damp dish cloth and leave to cool.

Once its cool it can be divided into smaller chunks and worked with hands... big and small. It will have the smooth silky consistency of fondant! Soft enough for even the youngest of helpers to enjoy.


Roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch to about 1/4 inch and cut into shapes freeform or with cookie cutters. We gently stamped some pieces with regular rubber stamps. Don't forget a small hole for a ribbon if you wish to hang them.

It can also be used for small sculptures though it will be a bit more risky to dry nicely. We have 2 small ft snowmen drying on a windowsill. 

Pieces will air dry if left on their own but can be hurried along in an over set to 250.

Dried pieces will be pure white and smooth. Its the closest you can get to homemade porcelain. Sturdy enough to be handled, fragile enough to be precious.


Dried pieces can be sanded, painted, adorned with baubles and sealed. We're planning to paint tonight though I think I'll keep some just like they are.

Extra dough... if you have any... can be put in a zippy bag and kept in the fridge for a long time. I've found that portions kept in the fridge for a while will be a bit sticky once warmed back up with the working of hands. Just work in a little more cornstarch until its no longer sticky.

No comments:

Post a Comment