Saturday, August 1, 2009

Making Cold Porcelain Clay

We took the mess factor up a few notches, and experimented a little more with making a homemade polymer type of clay. The actual term for it, is cold porcelain clay, I think. It's supposed to have the feel, and workability of the polymer type, but it dries in the air, instead of the oven.

We used a simple recipe (one part corn starch, to one part Elmer's school glue) that we found at Thrifty Fun, when we were decorating our recycled cereal boxes. We tried adding a bit of acrylic paint to it for color, but the paint made the clay sticky, and the color kept coming off on everything, especially our hands. We added a little additional corn starch to counteract the stickiness, but found that that made the clay stiff, and hard to work with. We weren't really thrilled with the way the clay dried either, as it cracked quite a bit.

So, today, we fiddled with the recipe a little more. We wanted to give the uncooked clay another try, but decided to add a few ingredients from the cooked recipes. We used:
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 3/4 tablespoon Elmer's glue

  • 5 drops of lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Vaseline

We mixed the first three ingredients together, and then added the Vaseline as we started to knead the mixed dough.

With this batch of clay, we added liquid food coloring . I'm pretty sure a paste type of food coloring would be better than the liquid, but we used what we had on hand. Just as with the acrylic paint, the food coloring, made the clay sticky. We added a little too much corn starch to some, and didn't care for the way it turned out, but we were able to save it with a little extra Vaseline, and glue. The white clay, with no food coloring, turned out just about perfect.

We used the little bits of clay we made to try out a stick puppet pattern we'd seen in the Klutz, Create Anything with Clay, book by Sherri Haab and Laura Torres. It is a smaller project, but it did dry without cracking.

The best part of using this type of clay though, is that it doesn't require any special kind of glue, like the Sculpey clay does, to attach pieces to other objects. We used plain old Elmer's school glue to attach our pieces together, and to the craft sticks, and it seems to be holding everything together like - glue.

The real trick when making cold porcelain clay, is to remember to soak all of the dishes and utensils immediately. Counter tops covered in bits of glue, and cornstarch are enough to clean, without having dishes full of hardened clay to deal with too. In fact, I'm thinking next time the creative urge hits us, we might try out a less messy finger painting project, or maybe one of those paper mache, baking soda, and vinegar volcanoes instead.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

4 comments: said...

I love clay projects. Yay for mess factor! =) I'll be linking.

Unknown said...

I'm thinking the clay might work better if you added powdered food colouring or powdered paint instead of the liquid food colouring or paint.

Ticia said...

I'm going to have to try this out someday.

Unknown said...

This is a great idea!I tried it and had some minor problems but overall it was a lot of fun!