Day 89: Air Dry Clay


Supplies: Large mixing bowl, measuring cups, wooden spoon, the items in the recipe below (also lots of soap and water and a rough sponge)

3 cups white glue

3 cups cornstarch

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp glycerin

2 tbsp canola oil

Time: I think it was about 45 minutes?  Sorry, I forgot to look at the time!

After a slight delay, here’s the air-dry clay I planned to make yesterday.  Well, technically I did make it yesterday, but it has to set up for 24 hours.  And what a difference those 24 hours made!  Yesterday when I tried to work with the clay it was so sticky and gooey that I had to completely coat my hands in oil to use it.  That, of course, resulted in oily clay creations and that’s not really what we’re going for, right?  After resting for a day the clay was soft, smooth, and didn’t stick to my hands.  So let’s rewind to yesterday afternoon shall we?

Start by pouring 3 cups of glue into a large bowl.  This bowl should be the biggest one you have in your possession (though if your biggest bowl is one of those restaurant giant batch mixing bowls you can go smaller).

Then add 3 cups of cornstarch.  If you don’t have a particularly huge bowl I’d suggest trying the cornstarch first.  I didn’t do it that way, but it seems like it might be less messy.  Let me know if you try it.  That leads to the next step, which is mixing the two together a bit.  My biggest bowl wasn’t quite big enough and I had some flyaway cornstarch to clean up.  To combat this starchy mess I decided to mix with my hands.  Bad idea.  My hands were completely coated in goo so sticky it can’t be pulled off and put back in the bowl.  Almost all the clay that started on my hands wound up down the drain.  Lesson: use the spoon.

Next you’ll mix in the vinegar, glycerin, and oil.  Once that’s mostly incorporated it’s time to cook.  The recipe I used (found on “The Junk Wave”) provides instructions for cooking this clay in a microwave or on the stove.  I don’t have a microwave at my apartment (the kitchen can’t fit that and a toaster oven and I love my toaster oven too much!), but I made this clay at my parents’ place, so I used the microwave.  If you’d rather use the stove there are lovely instructions provided here.

If you do use the microwave, here are your instructions.  Place the bowl in the microwave and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes.  Stop every 30 seconds to stir.  The recipe also says to check the consistency of the mixture every 10 seconds during the last 30 second period.  When it gets to a ricotta cheeseish consistency you’re done cooking.  Apparently if you cook it too much it’ll be hard to work with and it won’t work correctly.

Then coat your hands with cold cream or hand cream (that’s what the recipe says- I used canola oil) and knead the dough until it becomes cooler and smoother.  Be careful when you start because it’s a bit hot!

Seal the dough in an airtight bag and leave it alone for a day.  When you take it out of the bag the dough will be much less sticky and a lot easier to work with!

I made a few little beads that will be turned into earrings and a couple other things.  I was always too scared of the cover of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to watch it as a kid, but I very much enjoy it now, so I made a cute little Jack Skellington face too!

I’ll be painting these as soon as they dry.  I’ll report back when that’s done!  (I have purple glittery paint that will be covering earrings for the Etsy shop!)




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