Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clay

    These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people.
    Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess.
    Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint
    and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
    -Robert Fulghum, All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Play Clay

This is a pure white homemade modeling clay that dries very hard. It's a non-toxic recipe made with ingredients that most people have on hand and inexpensive. Make it for rainy days, holidays or for the child in all of us.

Blend the baking soda, cornstarch and water is a saucepan. Now is the time to add the food coloring or you could add it after the dough has cooked and cooled. Stir over low heat for about fifteen minutes until it looks like the consistency of mashed potatoes. When it's cool the dough can be kneaded to make the texture smoother, and/or to add food colors. Make four small balls out of the dough. Add food coloring to each ball and knead it in until the color is even. If the dough is too tacky you can add some flour or if it's dry, add water to smooth it out. This can also be cooked in the microwave which takes only 3-3½ minutes, but it has to be stirred every thirty seconds to break up the lumps.

The clay will dry in about twelve hours if he creations are ¼ inch thick or less; larger pieces may take a few days to be completely dry. If color is added they may bleed and stain the surface that it's being worked on, keep a paper plate or newspapers underneath with project until absolutely dry. It's best to wait until then to paint the piece with acrylics. This makes will make a two pound batch and. the recipe can be doubled.

Helpful Hints:

No food coloring? You can toss in a package of Kool-aid for some color. Warning: this smells great, but tastes awful! Play dough tools are fun to use in making free from shapes. With a rolling pin and cookie cutters or knife, you can roll and cut out creative play clay to make holiday ornaments, mobiles, and three-dimensional pieces. Use colors to reflect the seasons. You could make candle holders and decorate them with shells flowers beads shards of pottery old keys by pressing them into the clay while it's still soft. Or they can be glued on after the clay dries. How about a hot plate or refrigerator magnet? It can be molded into almost anything; flowers, animals, birds and fruits.
  • To make realistic indentations in strawberries or oranges, roll the molded shapes up the fine-shred side of a cheese grater.
  • For apple or pear stems, use a real stick or twig.
  • To make hair for a goofy face, squeeze the clay through a garlic press.

You can also make this clay using dried tempera paint powder or it can easily be painted with enamel after it's dry. If you decide to do this make sure for every two tablespoons of tempera paint added to the mix, decrease the baking soda by the same amount or the clay will turn out crumbly. When they are completely dry, brush with shellac or clear nail polish. Shellac is optional for figures colored with food coloring. Stored in an airtight container this clay will keep for several weeks.

Sources: My recipe box.

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