How to Make Plasticine Clay

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Things You'll Need

  • Two old metal cooking pots (not to be used for food)

  • Water

  • Stove

  • Beeswax

  • Measuring cup

  • Limestone powder

  • Measuring spoons

  • Mineral oil

  • Coconut oil or linseed oil

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Heatproof trays or molds

Oil clay does not dry out or crumble.

Although Plasticine is used as an umbrella term for reusable modeling clays in general, it's actually a registered trademark relating to a particular kind of reusable oil clay. The original Plasticine was developed by art teacher William Harbutt in 1897; Harbutt wanted a clay that would not dry out so that his students could correct their sculptures. The exact recipe of Plasticine is a trade secret but oil clays with approximately similar properties can be made by mixing powdered clay, talc, limestone or other minerals with oils or petroleum jelly.


Step 1

Add water to the larger pot. Place the smaller pot inside the larger pot to make a double boiler. Place the pots on the stove. Bring the water to a boil.

Step 2

Break the beeswax into pieces. Place in the small pot. Melt the beeswax at a medium heat. When the beeswax has melted completely, measure in 3/4 cup of the limestone powder and stir into the beeswax. Stir until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

Step 3

Add 6 tsp. of mineral oil, 2 tbsp. of coconut oil or linseed oil and 3 tbsp. of petroleum jelly to the mixture. Stir for 30 seconds, mixing thoroughly. Remove the mixture from the heat.


Step 4

Pour the mixture into the molds. Allow to harden. Test the consistency of the clay by breaking off a piece and rolling it in your hands. If it is too soft or too hard, return the clay to the double boiler and melt it again. Add a little more limestone powder if the clay is too soft; add a little more oil if the clay is too hard.


You can color the oil clay by adding powdered pigment to the mixture while it is still melted.


Always use a double boiler to melt the wax and oil. Don't allow the mixture to overheat. Do not use the utensils used to make the oil clay for food.