Mary Lovehandmade
Winnipeg, Canada

How to make clay


Nowadays, in the Crafting Era, the period when people all over the world develop, master, and share different crafting projects, the clay cannot be underestimated. It is one of the most usable crafting material. Thanks to its diversity, professionals and amateurs from different age categories can use a clay. It may serve a wide range of purposes, whether for entertaining or work.

Fascinating sculptures, decorative elements, jewelry, toys and many other cool things can be made from clay. Moreover, it is perfect for children because playing with an elastic mass allows kids to discover their creativity and develop their fine motor skills. Besides all this, dealing with a clay is fun and pleasurable.

Moreover, the clay is not something that is difficult to gather. You can buy it easily from any craft store or online. You can as well make your own clay by using material at hand. The process is pretty simple and, what is also important, does not require significant investments.

So, let us get familiar with the details of the DIY clay making process based on different recipes.

The homemade clay recipes

The first thing you need to know about clay is that there are two types of it: the clay that solidifies on air and the one that needs to be baked to solidify. It is up to you to choose what kind you want to use. Here are two of the most common recipes for each of them.

The clay that requires an oven

To start, gather the ingredients needed for this kind of clay:

  • Flour – two cups. It is better to use unbleached flour as it provides better clay consistency;

  • Salt – one cup. You can use any salt you have in your kitchen;

  • Oil – two tablespoons. It does not matter what kind (olive, sunflower, or any other);

  • Water – approximately one cup;

  • Food coloring (optional) – in case you want to bake an already colorful item.

With the ingredients in front of you, let us find out how to make oven bake clay.

  1. Pour out the flour and salt in one bowl and mix them up thoroughly.

  2. Put the oil into that mixture.

  3. When stirring the bowl content, add the water – pour it slowly by the thin jet.

  4. If you want, add a food coloring.

You have to be very careful when pouring water in: it is not necessarily to add exactly one cup of it. As soon as you reach the desired consistency of your clay, no more water is needed.

Now you can get down to forming the future masterpiece. Just shape is as you want and put into the oven. Make sure that the oven is already heated up to 250 degrees. Generally, the items made of baking clay are supposed to be baked for about one hour.

The clay that hardens on air

This kind of clay has a completely different content and making process.

The list of ingredients you have to gather before getting down to business:

  • Baking soda – two cups;

  • Cornstarch – one cup;

  • Water – approximately 1,5 cup. Pay attention that you need to use a cold water in order to prevent clods;

  • Food coloring (optional).

As this clay contains soda and cornstarch instead of plain flour, it is extra smooth and elastic.

The process looks like that:

  1. Mix up the soda and cornstarch thoroughly.

  2. Pour in the thin jets of water when stirring the mixture.

  3. Color it with the food coloring, if you want.

Pour the mixture into the pan and put it over a heat (medium). Continue to stir it all the time until it boils. Make sure that there are no clods. If you want to color it, do it now. Boil the clay to get the consistency resembling mashed potatoes.

After that, put the hot clay into the bowl or any other container and cover it with the slightly damp cloth. When it cools out, you can start your crafting project.

It is recommended to dust the surface you are going to work on with the fine corn flour to prevent any stickiness. The clay has to be pliable so you may need to additionally knead it with the cornstarch before the usage.

Once the clay is ready, give it the desired shape and leave it on the air. You have to carefully turn over the items every twelve hours to ensure an even hardening.

The experience-based suggestions

If you have ever tried to make homemade clay, you might notice that it could be challenging. Even when you do your best, keep the accurate proportions, do not rush the process, you may still get the wrong consistency. The reason for this is that each material has its own properties and can react differently under the same conditions.

  • The first rule in clay making process is that you have to experiment a lot to get the ideal clay. If you have managed to get the ideal clay from the first try, you are a very lucky person. Remember, different flours have different content as well as the other components (salt and even water). So, you have to be super patient, find the materials that serve you the best, and determine the tailor-made proportions of them.

  • The second useful recommendation relates to the color properties of your clay. As a rule, food colorings are used to make the clay colorful. Applying them is pretty simple: just take a bunch of clay and knead it thoroughly with a coloring. However, if you are okay with getting one-color-clay, it is faster and far easier to dissolve the coloring in the water before making the clay. Thus, you can use the colored water to create an already colored clay.

  • Finally, to make the clay serve you longer, make sure that you ensure the proper storage conditions for it. Keep it in the containers that are airtight, protect from the direct sunbeams, and keep it away from the high temperatures.

The clay is a universal material that you can use whether for your craft projects such as modeling or jewelry making or for playing with your kids.

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