We had so much fun building on The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid, last week for the story and art link up, hosted by A Mommy's Adventures, that I decided to check out Reid's String of Beads, for this weeks project.
This time the story is about a little girl and her grandmother, as they sort, discuss, make, and string beads.
After I read the story to the children, I gave them a batch of clay to make their own beads with. In the story, the little girl makes beads out of polymer clay, but I've been wanting to try out cornstarch clay for a while. It's been featured around the blogosphere, and it's one of the few clays we haven't tried. You can find instructions, and the recipe for making cornstarch clay, here, at Craftzine.
The only thing I did differently, was to mix the ingredients until they were dissolved, then I divided them into two pans, so I could add a few drops of red food coloring to one pan, before cooking. That way, our clay was already colored, and did not need to be painted.
The children rolled out the clay, and shaped their beads, using a toothpick to make the holes.
Then, I baked them for 30 minutes, at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (almost too long). It would probably have been better to let them air dry with the toothpicks left in, but we were impatient, so some of the holes baked closed.
We still ended up with enough beads for a couple of necklaces. And, when added to some of the beads we've made previously, there were plenty for stringing, and jewelry making fun.
As to the clay - I really enjoyed it. It has a smooth, silky texture when you're working with it, and a kind of rosy smell. It bakes up about the same as salt clay, so not stellar, but it's a good deal easier for little hands to work with than cold porcelain clay. The only real negatives are the mess factor - just don't make it the day after you washed the floor, and the high salt content, makes it a little harsh on the hands - so have lotion ready.
For more children's story stretching arts and crafts projects, click over the stART link up at A Mommy's Adventures.
It's great to be a homeschooler.