Homemade Clay: Recipe Comparison

Homemade Clay BeadsWith so many clay products available on the market why would you want to make your own clay? Well, beyond the usual arguments of being non-toxic, affordable, and available on a whim (via your kitchen pantry), homemade clay adds a special charm. Having never made clay before, I narrowed my search down to two recipes and decided to do a comparison.

Recipe #1:  School Glue Clay. I found this recipe demonstrated on YouTube by Hectanooga 1.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon white school glue

1 teaspoon water

1 cup flour (approx.) added 1 tablespoon at a time.

Coloring—food coloring or acrylic paint (optional)

In a small cup stir the water into the school glue to blend. Add your choice of coloring until the mixture reaches your desired hue. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well. Continue adding flour a little at a time. Once the dough begins to stiffen you can take it out of the bowl and work it with your hands.

Continue kneading flour into the dough until the dough is no longer sticky, then work the dough until smooth and no longer “grainy.” Wrap the dough in plastic to rest–about one hour. Once rested, knead again to condition the clay. (You can view a demonstration of this recipe on YouTube.) Homemade Glue Clay

Air-dry your finished pieces for about an hour before baking. Bake at 200-225 for 15-20 min. Turn off oven and let them sit for a few minutes.

(I used acrylic paint for coloring. My items air dried for 90 min and baked on center rack for 20 min.)

Recipe #2: Salt & Flour Clay. This recipe is from Anne Marie Helenstine, PhD at Chemistry.com. Anne offers six recipes; this one stated it was good for hardened sculptures, jewelry, and ornaments.

Ingredients:

4 cup flour

1 cup salt

1 ½ cup water

In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Slowly mix the water into the dough until dough is ready to knead. Knead until all flour is combined. Bake Homemade Flour Clay in Gallon Bagfinished pieces on non-stick pan at 350 for 1 hour.

(My items air dried for 45 min. and baked for 30 min. I removed them early as they were turning brown)

Comparison:

Clay #1 made small, hand-sized batches. It took some time to knead in enough flour so that dough was no longer sticky. The consistency while kneading was somewhere between Playdoh and Silly Putty. It had a bit of elasticity. I found that moistening my fingers while working helped combine colors (for caning). You could probably sculpt small items with this clay, it’s pretty sturdy.

The “Glue Clay” held color after baking, even the batch made with metallic paint. Right out of the oven it offered a smooth, finished look. This recipe is good if you only want to make small batches, if you want the clay to have a base color, or if you want to skip painting altogether.

Clay #2 makes a big batch—think pizza dough! It took a bit of work to knead in all the flour. This one is rather grainy and doesn’t smooth out as well when working. Although you can make beads and pendants with this clay I don’t recommend it for sculpting unless you have an underlying support–it tends to sag while you’re working. Some of the items began to “puff” up while baking. Once removed from the oven the items resembled crackers.

After baking, the “Salt & Flour” clay retained a rough textured, rustic appearance. I like the way some of the pieces look aged or worn—sort of a funky vintage look. Some of the pieces began to get a little “gummy” while painting but firmed back up when the paint dried.

The second recipe is perfect for a rainy day with kids! Just make a big batch, roll it out, and let the kids use your cookie cutters. You won’t have to worry if they feed some to the dog (or themselves).

Homemade Clay Beads FinishedOnce baked the finished items from both recipe are surprisingly durable. I used an emery board to sand any rough edges, applied paint to a few items, and sealed all pieces with an acrylic sealer.

Have you ever made your own clay? Do you have any clay recipes to share?

No-Sew-No-Glue Burlap and Bead Wreath

This wreath is so simple to make. No sewing, no glue—just the wreath form, some No Sew No Glue Burlap Wreath by rlcwire, and some beads.

While traipsing through the aisles at Michaels craft store, I spied two adorably sweet burlap wreaths decorated with ribbons and silk flowers. This looked like a fun and simple craft to share! Of course, I had to change it up a bit…

Tools:

Burlap or Jute:Burlap Wreath Tools
Burlap garland should be available by the roll at the local craft store. The strip is 10 yards long by 5/12 inches wide and it cost about seven dollars. In a pinch you could use strips of any stiff fabric.

Wreath Form:
There are several different types of wreath forms available at the local craft store. I used a metal form, but you might also try one of the flat wood forms. You can also craft your own by cutting a large circle from a piece of heavy cardboard.

Twist Ties/Wire:
You will need something to secure each section of fabric, I used floral wire but you could also use twist ties or pipe cleaners.

You will also need wire to go through your beads and buttons. You could use floral wire here also provided the wire fits through your bead. I used soft, copper jewelry wire.

Wire cutters

Ribbon, beads, and other embellishments.

Directions:

Measure out three strips of burlap. Each strip should be equivalent to 1 ½ time around your wreath to allow extra material for “poofing.”

Secure all three strips to your wreath with a twist tie. Burlap Wreath Directions 1

Now you can begin making your sections. This is basically fiddling with the three strips to make “poofs” around your wreath. Play with how the strips lay against each other. Try folding one strip a bit to add additional interest. Apply a twist tie at the end of each section.Burlap Wreath Directions 2

When you’ve worked you way around the wreath turn it over and trim your twist ties.

Now comes the fun part! It’s time to embellish your creation. If you will be tying ribbons around your gathered sections do so now.

Cut a length of wire for each bead or button. The length depends on how thick your bead is but two or three inches should do the trick.Burlap Wreath Directions 3

Thread your bead or button onto the wire. Pinch the wires together at the back and twist the two ends together to form a pick.

Insert your picks into the burlap. They only need to go through one strip of fabric. Pinch the fabric between the bead and your wire pick to secure.

This is a very simple version that Burlap Wreath Directions 4can be made even more decorative by applying some basic jewelry making techniques; since there is no glue or sewing to worry about, you can change the embellishments anytime!

Burlap Wreath FinalShow us your wreath! If you make a No-Sew-No-Glue Burlap Wreath we’d love to see it! Send me a note via the comment section if you’d like to post a picture of your wreath here at Museiddity.

It’s Bead Month at Museiddity! We’ll be exploring different ways you make beads at home plus we have a few guests coming to visit. Sign up to follow so you don’t miss the fun!

Update: See this wreath dressed up for Fall!

Fall Burlap Wreath by RLC

Check Out Another Easy Wreath! This Burlap Wreath with Corsage Style Ornaments only requires florist wire and a bit of florist tape.

Autumn Burlap Wreath by RLC