Clay Lab–Fun with Homemade Clay

Homemade clay 4-04

Great things about homemade clay

+ Great for kids
+ Easy to paint
+ Inexpensive
+ Easy to sand rough edges

Not so great things about homemade clay

– Larger items break easily
– Grainy appearance
– Can take a long time to cook/dry
– Funny odor

Clay Lab-05

Homemade clay is so fun and you can make it using things you probably already have in your cupboard! I played around with 4 different recipes using different combinations of flour, salt, and/or cornstarch! Making homemade clay is inexpensive. Feel free to use generic brands or use up whatever you find in the back of the cupboard.  Keep reading for recipes!

Clay 3-01

You can shape dough with your hands, or you can use cookie cutters to make cool shapes.

Clay Lab-01

Homemade clay is easy to paint.  The clay stars in the photo above have one quick coat of cheap tempura (craft) paint.  The clay is “thirsty” and soaks up this water based paint.

Homemade clay 4-01

Homemade clay can also be colored while you are mixing the dough.  Put in a few drop of food coloring while you mix the dough and it will harden with uniform color.  Or add the food coloring after you have kneaded the dough and you will get a cool swirl effect seen above.

Clay Lab-03

A really cool thing you can do with homemade dough is decorate it with a stamp.  While the dough is still wet, use a stamp on a regular ink pad and apply to the dough!

Clay Lab-04

Once the clays are dry,  you can sand off the edges.  In the photo above the star on the right is untouched.  Now compare that to the star on the left.  Look how a quick sanding can make it look so polished!  Now, let’s get to the recipes!

Homemade clay 1-03

Homemade clay 1-08

Add salt and 2/3 cups water to a saucepan.  Mix well and cook on medium heat.

Homemade clay 1-06

Cook until water evaporates.  It will be hard to mix.

Homemade clay 1-09

In a separate bowl, mix together cornstarch and 1/2 cup water.

Homemade clay 1-02

Add salt mixture and mix well.  Let cool until it’s okay to touch.

Homemade clay 1-07

Roll out dough using a rolling pin or acrylic roller.  Place dough inbetween wax paper to prevent dough sticking to roller.

Homemade clay 1-01

Look how sticky this dough is without the wax paper.

Homemade clay 1-05

This dough hardens while it dries.  I put mine outside to dry in the sun.  It took a day an a half to dry.

Homemade clay 1-04

+ Dries completely white
+ Very easy to paint, dye, stamp
+ No cooking or messy flour
– Dough is sticky and hard to work with
– Breaks easily
– Takes a long time to dry

Homemade clay 2-07

Homemade clay 2-06

Put dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.  Add water gradually and keep mixing.

Homemade clay 2-03

Continue adding 1 tablespoon water until you get a nice, solid dough.  You may need more than 1/4 cup water.

Homemade clay 2-02

Knead dough for a few minutes for a better consistency.

Homemade clay 2-05

This is very sticky dough so make sure you have extra flour on hand.  Add a generous amount of flour to your surface before rolling it out.

Homemade clay 2-01

Use a knife or spatula to transfer shapes to your cookie sheet.  It’s really is sticky dough!

Clay 2-01

Cook at 250F for an hour.  Continue cooking if necessary until clay is hard but remove before it turns golden.

Homemade clay 2-04

+ Does not rise in the oven
+ Rolls thin (with enough flour to prevent sticking)
– Covered with flour
– Very sticky dough, hard to work with

Homemade clay 3-02

This dough is often called salt dough.  It’s a popular dough used for many craft projects.

Homemade clay 3-03

Put ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Clay 3-03

Knead dough for a few minutes if desired.

Homemade clay 3-05

Dough rolls out easily on a floured surface.

Clay 3-02

Shapes will stick to surface if there is not enough flour on your work surface.

Homemade clay 3-04

Cook dough at 250F and check after 3 hours.  Continue cooking if necessary until clay is hard but remove before it turns golden.

Homemade clay 3-01

+ Does not rise in the oven
+ Rolls very thin
+ Breaks/cracks less than other clays
– Covered with flour
– Long cooking time

Homemade clay 4-06

Clay 4-01

Put ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.

Clay 4-02

You may want to dive in and get your hands dirty!

Clay 4-04

Knead dough for a few minutes and roll out on a floured surface.  You won’t need as much extra flour as the last two recipes.

Clay 4-03

Cook dough at 250F and check after 3 hours.  Continue cooking if necessary until clay is hard but remove before it turns golden.

Homemade clay 4-07

+ Thick and robust
+ Easy to work with
– Rises while cooking
– Long cooking time

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