How to Make Hardening Molding Clay

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Playing with shapes and making creatures from molding clay is one of the favorite pastimes of many children. Commercial varieties of molding clay are available, but are usually expensive, and can even contain chemicals and other toxic ingredients. Making homemade molding clay is simple. The two basic types of hardening molding clay are air hardening and baking clay, and both can be made cheaply and easily in the home.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 metal pot
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 plate
  • 1 tea towel
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • Stove

Air Hardening Clay

  • Combine baking soda, cornstarch and 1.5 cups of water in a pot and stir together the ingredients until a smooth paste is formed.

  • Place this mixture over a medium flame and stir continually. As the mixture boils, it will thicken; keep stirring until it looks like mashed potatoes.

  • Put the mixture onto the plate, covering with a damp tea towel until it cools to room temperature.

  • Dust a kitchen bench or other work surface with extra cornstarch and knead the mixture until it is pliable, smooth clay.

Baking Clay

  • Pour 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1.5 cups of water into a bowl. Mix until a smooth, pliable clay is formed, adding extra flour if mixture is too sticky.

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake models in oven for 30 minutes. Turn them over and then bake for another 90 minutes.

  • Let models cool completely before painting or otherwise decorating them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Food coloring can be added at the mixing stage of both types of hardening molding clay to make clays of different colors.
  • Baking clay models should not exceed 1 inch in thickness, as this will not bake well.
  • If kept in an airtight container in the fridge, molding clay can be used over a week's period, sometimes longer.
  • Clay can be sanded, painted and varnished after hardening.
  • Although there are no toxic ingredients in either clay, it still should not be ingested, as it may cause stomach upsets, especially the baking clay with its high salt content.
  • Children using molding clay should always be under adult supervision.

References

  • Photo Credit clay figurines image by fabersky from Fotolia.com
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