Friday, January 25, 2013
Many homemade clay recipes call for heating the mix in a pan or microwave. After forming, the modeled pieces are usually baked in an oven at low heat. Such clay recipes are very popular today because they plasticize when baked. That is, they are true polymer clay.
You'll find The Artful Crafter's time-tested polymer clay recipes on our Cornstarch Based Modeling Clay page.
However, if you really need a homemade clay recipe which requires no heating to make or cure, I think the only option is salt-based clay. If you search the internet for clay recipes, you may have a hard time finding one for the old fashioned no-cook salt-based clay of my childhood.
These are eminently kid-safe, even if you have a young child who still wants to put everything in his or her mouth.
Even my brothers (who were old enough to know better) used to taste every batch I stored in the refrigerator when they went rummaging for snacks. It still puzzles me why they thought that the red clay I made one week would taste any better than the green one they tasted last week!
Salt clay does not polymerize and is more porous than porcelain clay after curing.
Kid-Safe No Heat Salt Clay
• 1 c. salt
• 2 1/2 to 3 c. flour
• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 c. water
• Food color
Start with 2 1/2 cups flour. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add more flour as needed to form clay consistency.
Knead in food coloring. [Gel food colors are less messy to work with when kneading in by hand. The colors are more intense also. So use just a dab to start.]
Form into ball shape. Refrigerate clay ball(s) in tightly sealed plastic bag(s) for later use.
Salt-based clay air dries after modeling.
Don't bother putting a "DO NOT EAT" warning on the bag. I tried that; but it only seemed to embolden my mischievous brothers.