Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Modelling Clay (Rainy Day Projects)

Argh!!! It's raining. No need to panic, I have the perfect solution here, this will make for a peaceful afternoon and maybe even carry through until tomorrow *fingers crossed* for the final painting and decorating. Now if the sun is shining where you are then I suggest you bookmark the page for later use :)
Here in Cavan, however, it is a cold wet day so this is how were are spending the day....crafting. I am making pendants for a spot of macrame later and the children and busy making all sorts of beautiful models.

This clay is very nice to work with, it so soft and very easy to mould. It has a smooth brilliant white finish, delicate enough to be admired but robust enough that it can be enjoyed without fear of breakage. Now to be perfectly honest, this is better suited to smaller less complex pieces, we found that the bigger the finished piece was the slower it was to dry (if at all) and that noses etc fell off. So with that in mind you can steer your children in the right direction  and save tears later.

This clay doesn't have to be air dried, it will keep in an airtight container like play dough, but for how long I'm not sure. If you have very young children (that age where everything goes into their mouths!!), you might prefer my Playdough recipe, it keeps for months in an airtight container and requires no cooking (it will air dry but has a rougher texture). I still make copious amounts of it in this house :) Enjoy!!

Yield 860g

500g Bicarbonate of soda
90g Cornflour (extra for dusting)
375g Cold water

Place the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan, you could add food colouring at this stage.

Whisk together to remove any lumps, place over a medium heat and continue to stir.

Small bubbles will appear on the surface, the mixture will begin to thicken. Keep stirring otherwise the mix will stick to the bottom the saucepan. Eventually the mix will begin to come together (like mash potatoes)

This is the consistency you are looking for, soft but not sticky.

Tip into a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel, as the clay cools it will dry on the surface so be sure that the towel remains damp. Knead the clay until smooth, if it is still a bit sticky then sprinkle your work surface with cornflour until smooth (we didn't need any cornflour).

We had great fun making all sorts of creatures, the larger animals didn't dry completely and were prone to breakages, the simple projects worked best.

Lay your creations on a baking tray and bake at 110ºC/225ºF/Gas Mark ¼  for about an hour or until the pieces are dry. Alternatively you can air dry the pieces overnight, this is best for smaller pieces.

Now there were some casualties of the drying process, either by curious children or in some cases (especially the bigger pieces) large cracks developed. These cracks were fatal so the compost bin was their final resting place ;)

Those that did survive were carefully painted  and will soon be varnished. We painted the pieces with normal paint but if you want a shinier finish then Acrylic paint would work very well. The glitter glue was also out in force, it worked a treat.

Instruction on how to make the Owl are right here (4 Crazy Kids is a brilliant blog for craft ideas). 

If you are familiar with Jolly Phonics might recognise this snake!!

Some more ideas........

If your children (or us adults!!) want a more sophisticated look, these stamped pendants are very easy to make and air dry in no time. I think they are perfect for adding to Macrame jewellery, Christmas ornaments or threaded with a pretty piece of ribbon.

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