Monday, December 21, 2015

How to make your own flour clay

AKA clay dough, play dough, or salt dough clay.


I have recently begun teaching an after school program with kids in the Bronx and wanted to do some sculpting with them.  Last week we worked with polymer clay, but I wanted an easy and cheap way to make a sculpting medium for the kids, so I used what we used to use as kids in Virginia, salt dough clay!  Its simply made from flour and water and salt, you can color it with food coloring if you wish.
Cold porcelain is a great idea (see blog post here) but I wanted something less messy and no cooking required.

As usual, I am a very visual person so here are photos.

The recipe is as follows for one "ball" of flour clay
1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup water
food coloring is of course optional

 Gather your stuff, please note that a canister as shown of salt only makes 3-4 balls of clay so if you want to make a bunch (like I did because my class is up to 25 kids) buy lots of salt... its cheap.
 Mix the dry ingredients together

 Add the water (with food coloring if you are coloring the clay)
 If its sticky and wet add more flour, if its dry add water... a drop or a few at a time, a little goes a long way!
I used unbleached flour so my white clay is off-white
I also made a x4 batch in a large mixing bowl for the giant ball below.
Wrap them in plastic to prevent them from drying out.

*If you mix the salt and water together first, you will need more flour than the recipe calls for, but if you mix the flour and salt together before adding the water, you need more water.
*I used 1/2 a bottle of food coloring for the dark colors, and ten drops for the pastels (lighter shades), I did not mix colors but of course that gives you even more options.
*Mixing the salt and water together first gives a less grainy clay body.
*Thick sculptures will crack, this (like cold porcelain) is best for thin sculptures such as flowers or ornaments etc, but anything goes with kids.
*adding oil to the recipe makes for a smoother consistency - experiment!

Enjoy, this is fantastic and will not break the bank.