The idea for this project came, loosely, from Mudworks Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences by Mary Ann F. Kohl. Her entry on crepe paper clay, while giving easy to follow directions, was not accompanied by any photographs. After reading the instructions, I had in mind, that this clay would turn out something like moldable recycled paper. Rather, it is more like color flecked bread dough.
Making these beads (intended as lacing beads for the little ones), has been an interesting project. There were several times when I was just about to chuck the entire mess. However, as the beads have dried, I find the children, and I, liking them more and more. They have a really interesting texture, and color combination.
To make the clay, we tore crepe paper into small pieces. Since I thought the colors might blend, we separated out different color combinations. The colors did not mix though, and in the end, we combined most of the paper back together.
We added enough warm water, to completely cover the paper, and left our bowls to sit for several hours.
Then, we drained the water off, and added about 1/2 cup of wheat flour to each cup of paper mush. We kneaded the dough a bit, and then let it sit, covered by a damp cloth for about 1/2 hour.
When the dough was workable, we rolled it into large beads, which we poked holes through, with a wooden skewer.
As the beads dried, we continued working with the skewer, to keep the holes large enough for passing a shoe lace through.
Once dried, these beads can be sanded, and then sealed with a glue and water mixture.
We've made play dough beads before, but these are different. They are heavy, and have an almost have a wooden feel to them, that will make them a unique addition to the little ones lacing bead collection.
It's great to be a homeschooler.