Things You'll Need
Saucepan and/or mixing bowl
Cornstarch or flour
Salt (for modeling and play dough clays)
Glycerin (for cold porcelain clay)
White glue (for cold porcelain clay)
Homemade modeling clay, play dough clay or cold porcelain clay is economical to make using common kitchen ingredients. Use it to keep children occupied on a rainy day, spark the enthusiasm of a day care group or even as an inducement to the older generation to keep hands and thoughts moving.
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Decide which type of clay would be best for you to produce. The easiest recipe makes clay ideal for children and nursing home residents who usually don't have an exact idea in mind of what to form with their clay. It is pliable and doesn't harden as quickly, making it easy to change from one idea to the next.
Place 2 cups of flour and 1 cup salt in a medium mixing bowl. Blend these well. Mix 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil with 1 cup water. Slowly blend the water mixture into the flour and salt mixture, by hand, until a clay or dough forms.
Work with the clay to form animals, plates or other items. The clay articles will harden if left to air dry, but for quicker results, bake on a cookie sheet for 30-50 minutes in a low heat oven of not more than 250 degrees. Paint and decorate items only after they are hardened and cooled completely.
Produce a second variety of clay, called cold porcelain clay, by putting 3 cups cornstarch into a medium saucepan. Slowly, by hand, add 3 cups white glue, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon glycerin. Mix these ingredients and heat over a low heat just until the clay begins thicken and become lumpy. This may take from 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook the mixture or it will harden as it cooks. Take it from the pan and knead it to a consistency that feels right to work with. (Keep in mind the mixture will be hot.)
Use cold porcelain clay to make shapes or use it to cover articles turning them into artwork. Take an empty box, a flower or even an old toy and cover gently with the clay mixture. Smooth it, engrave it or make small shapes into the clay after covering the article. Set the piece on wax paper and let air dry. Items may be painted after drying.
Perk up cold porcelain clay by adding paint or food coloring to the mixture just before the kneading process. Try making many different colors. Store in closed containers.
Although made from ingredients from your kitchen, do not let children or others eat the clay. Hand washing before and after clay play is recommended.