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Play Clay Tips

Make sure children's hands are completely clean before beginning a clay or dough project.

If clay gets too dry, renew it with a few drops of water.

If clay is too sticky, knead in more flour, cornstarch or baking soda.

Cover extra clay with a damp cloth while working to prevent drying.

To color clay: either knead in food coloring or cake-decorating coloring paste.

Most clays can be colored with acrylic paints when dry.

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2 cups baking soda
1 cup Argo cornstarch
1 1/4 cups water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. The mixture will look like mashed potatoes. Form clay into shapes. Let dry 36 hours, then paint and seal.



4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 teaspoon powdered alum
1 1/2 cups water
Food coloring

Mix all ingredients in bowl. If mixture is too dry, work in extra water with hands. Color by dividing and adding food coloring to each portion.

Roll or mold as desired. Once molded or rolled bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes in 250 degree oven. Turn and bake another 1 1/2 hours. Remove and cool. When done, sand lightly if desired and paint.



4 cups unsifted flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup salt

NOTE: Do not halve or double recipe.

Mix ingredients together thoroughly and knead for 5 minutes. Use your hands or kitchen utensils to shape and form figures. Aluminum foil over the table makes a good work surface. Use water as a glue to fasten dough segments together. Insert hairpins or paper clips in back for hanging. Place designs on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until done.



2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup water

In a medium-size saucepan, stir together baking soda, cornstarch and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it resembles mashed potatoes. Place in bowl and cover with damp cloth until cool. Store in sealed container.



6 slices white bread
6 tablespoons white glue
1/2 teaspoon detergent or 2 teaspoons glycerin
Food coloring

Remove crusts from bread and knead with glue. Add either detergent or glycerin. Knead until no longer sticky. Separate into portions and add food coloring if desired. Shape and brush with equal parts of glue and water for a glossy coat. Allow to dry overnight to harden. Paint with acrylic paint. Seal with clear nail polish.



1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or peppermint extract
1 pound confectioners sugar

Mix the first four ingredients. Add sugar, then knead.



3 parts vermiculite (soil found at garden stores)
2 parts plaster of Paris
2 scoops water

Mix vermiculite, plaster of Paris and water. pour mixture in a paper container such as a milk carton. Wait fifteen minutes. Peel away paper. The "stone" will be soft. Mold with hands or carve using a spoon. If you want to work further on your carving, keep it in a sealable plastic bag.

IDEA: Make a secret treasure holder that looks like a rock.



1 (16 ounce) container ready-to-spread chocolate frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Immediately ready for play! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for a couple weeks refrigerated.

As with all edible clays, if the children are going to taste this clay, they should wash their hands before making it and taste it before they begin playing with it.



1 1/2 C. ground cinnamon
1 C. applesauce
1/3 C. white school glue (such as Elmer's)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Remove from bowl and knead until the mixture becomes a firm clay. Let sit for about half an hour.

Using wax paper as a working surface and dusting surface with cinnamon if necessary, roll out clay with a rolling pin to approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. Punch a hole with a drinking straw near the top if you are going to hang as ornaments. Or, form into 3-D sculptures, baskets, etc.

Place finished creations on wax paper to dry, turning occasionally so that they dry evenly. It will take about five days for them to dry completely.



1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Food coloring
Wax paper

In a medium-size saucepan, mix all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When dough becomes harder to stir and gathers on spoon (about 5 min.) dump onto wax paper, cool until able to handle and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth. Store in sealed container, keeps up to two weeks.



1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Food coloring

In a medium-size saucepan, mix all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cool until able to handle and then knead on a floured surface. Store in sealed container. This keeps for 2 to 4 weeks.



2 cups salt
2/3 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Mix salt with water in saucepan. Stir and boil. Add cornstarch and cold water. Keep heating if it does not get thick. Roll out dough on board floured with cornstarch. Dry and decorate ornaments.



1 cup salt
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Food coloring

In a medium-size saucepan, mix salt and 1/3 cup water over medium heat, stirring occasionally (about 3 to 4 minutes.) Remove from head and add cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Will resemble mashed potatoes. Stir until mixture thickens, cool, then knead. If it's too sticky, add a little more cornstarch. Store in sealed container with piece of damp sponge up to two weeks.



1 (1-pound) box baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups cold water
Food coloring or Wonder Colors

Mix baking soda and cornstarch together; add water. Cook and stir over low heat until consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and cover with damp cloth until cool enough to handle. Use for play dough or jewelry shaping or roll it out to make ornamental cookies.

Clay dries very hard. Store in plastic bag to keep from drying out. Clay may be colored with food coloring or Wonder Colors added to the water or painted with tempera when dry.



1 1/2 cups lint from the dryer
1 cup water
1/2 cup flour
2 drops wintergreen mint flavoring
Old newspaper

Place the lint in a saucepan and cover it with the water.

When the lint is saturated, add the flour and stir until it is smooth. Add the drops of wintergreen oil flavoring. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it forms peaks and holds together.

Pour it onto newspaper to cool. Shape and model figures, or cover a form with it, such as a balloon.

Allow to dry for 3 to 5 days, then paint and decorate as required.



1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

Mix all three ingredients well. Butter childs hands and let them shape dough. Then eat. You can refrigerate the shapes for eating later.



2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
Food coloring or Wonder Colors
Oil of cloves or peppermint extract
Matte acrylic varnish

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the baking soda and cornstarch and add the water, stirring constantly. Mixture will become thin and smooth at first. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is too thick to stir. Turn the mixture out onto a cookie sheet to cool, covering with a damp cloth. When cool, knead until smooth. Store the mixture in a tightly closed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To use
Mold this clay by shaping with hands, rolling out and cutting with a cookie cutter, or pushing through a cookie or garlic press. Clay will harden at room temperature, depending on the size of the object. Most items are dry after 24 hours and, if necessary, you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees, turn it off, and put the clay in to dry, turning the pieces occasionally. After drying, smooth off any dry edges with an emery board. Because this clay is absorbent, more than one coat of varnish or shellac will be necessary. Experiment with a trial piece to see how many coats you will need. You may use as many as five coats on a thick figure.

You can even tint the clay with spices from your kitchen for an earthy look.



2 cups salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Stir salt and water over heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cornstarch and cold water. Mix until smooth, return to heat and cook until thick. Cool before using. Store in plastic bag.



1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 cups baking soda
Food coloring

Mix all ingredients except paint in saucepan over medium heat for 4 minutes until thick (like mashed potatoes). Add food coloring to water before mixture adding for color.

Remove from heat, turn out onto a plate and cover with a damp cloth until cool. Knead like dough. Store in an airtight container.



1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup very warm tap water

Mix flour and salt, then pour in water and stir well. Knead for 5 minutes, adding in color as desired.

Stored in a sealed container, it keeps up to one week.

Air dry, or small or thin pieces can be baked at 200 degrees for 2 hours.



1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups instant powdered milk
3 tablespoons honey
Peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips and
    coconut for decorating (optional)

Stir peanut butter, powdered milk and honey together in a medium size bowl until dough is smooth. If it is dry, add more honey. If it is too moist, add more powdered milk. You can form clay into critters of your choice, then decorate your artwork with any of the above suggestions. Store unused dough in the refrigerator.



1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch
4 cups cold water

Cook until thick. Put into bowls, then stir in food coloring. Let cool.

Put into zip-type plastic bags. Let the children play with it while it is in the bags for a neat sensory experience or use it to mix colors.



This is very inexpensive to make, and the results are impressive. Children of all ages can use it, cleanup is easy, and one bucket of sawdust will last a long time.

2/3 parts fine sawdust (any kind except redwood)
1/3 part flour
Large bowl or bucket
Wooden spoon

To mix the clay, use a large bowl or bucket. Mix 2/3 parts of sawdust and l/3 part of flour together. Pour in water and mix until it reaches a stiff but "squishy" consistency. Add more flour if it is too crumbly. The clay needs some kneading before the gluten in the flour becomes elastic, holding the sawdust together. Work it in your hands or on a table top covered with newspapers. Play with the clay a little until it becomes easy to shape.

This clay has a thick heavy texture and the best type of project seems to be "Indian" type pottery. Take large balls of clay. Push your thumbs together into the center, shaping the sides as you go for bowls and other containers.

Sawdust clay can also be rolled flat and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Poke a hole in each cut-out with a drinking straw. When dry, string them with yarn to make simple wall decorations or Christmas tree ornaments.

This clay air-dries very hard. When dried in the sun, sawdust clay becomes very hard and can be sanded with sandpaper before it's painted.

It should be placed directly in the sun, if possible. When dry, you can sand it or not, depending upon what you like. Use Tempera or acrylic paints to decorate the finished objects. To give your pieces a glossy coating, spray with acrylic clean finish or paint with acrylic floor wax.



1 to 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon white glue

Rip bread into tiny pieces in bowl. Add glue and mix with fork till all crumbs are moistened. Roll into ball. If too wet add a little more bread. Knead until smooth. If dough dries out while working, add a few drops of water and knead. Store in sealed contained in refrigerator up to a month. Air dries in 1 to 3 days. For a semi-gloss finish, brush on equal parts water and white glue.

This is good for detailed projects as it won't crack when drying.