How to Make Quick-Drying Clay

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Create colored quick-drying clay by adding tempera to cold porcelain paste.
Create colored quick-drying clay by adding tempera to cold porcelain paste. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Quick-drying clay is a term that may refer to one of several types of clay, including cold porcelain or polymer clay. Cold porcelain is a non-toxic, quick-drying clay originally from Argentina. You can make cold porcelain at home with some basic ingredients. This type of clay hardens at room temperature and doesn’t require kiln or oven firing. This characteristic makes it an ideal material for kids' and beginners' projects. Preparing cold porcelain is less expensive than buying polymer clay, which is another type of quick-drying clay made of PVC, which would be more difficult to make at home.

Things You'll Need

  • White glue
  • Cold cream
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Lemon juice or citric acid
  • Cornstarch

Mix ¾ cup white glue with 1 tsp. cold cream and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan, and put it on medium heat or between 200 and 250 F. Stir until you obtain a homogenous paste.

Add 1 tsp. of lemon juice and stir. The lemon juice is a substance used as a preservative. You may use citric acid instead of lemon juice.

Add 1 cup cornstarch to the paste and stir continually. The mixture will become harder and more difficult to stir.

Remove the saucepan from the stove and allow the mixture to cool down for 2 to 5 minutes. Ideally, you should start kneading right away, but the paste is too hot to handle.

Remove the mixture from the saucepan and place it on a table. Start kneading the material until you obtain a smooth and elastic clay (up to 10 minutes). Allow the clay to cool down, and it will be ready for sculpting.

Place the clay you are not using in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature or in the refrigerator if it is too hot.

Tips & Warnings

  • To prevent the material from sticking to your fingers and the working surface, spread cornstarch on your working table and constantly dust your hands with cornstarch.
  • Add some cooking oil to the paste after mixing it with cornstarch, to make the clay more resistant over time and prevent the accumulation of mold and bacteria.
  • Add water-based colors to your cold porcelain and make lumps of clay of several colors to make projects that don't require painting.
  • Use your quick-drying clay to make beads, small figurines, or earrings and rings. Once the cold porcelain hardens, it doesn't require firing. To make a cold-porcelain item more resistant, varnish it after coloring it.
  • Use a non-greasy cold cream when preparing the clay. Grease can affect the mixture, and you may not be able to obtain a homogenous paste.

References

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