4 Fun and Easy Clay Recipes

Not many people can resist the idea of playing with clay so it just might be an activity the entire family can do together — even reluctant crafters will join in! Let everyone mix up their own batch of clay and then see what kind of sculptures they can create.  You can make clay using a variety of items.  Browse through this list of easy recipes and then dig through your cupboards to gather the supplies you need.

4 favorite homemade clay recipes

Simple Flour and Salt Clay Recipe

This will probably be the simplest dough recipe you can find.  Store it in a sealed container (a zip-top plastic bag work well) in a cool place and your clay can last for about a month.

2 Cups of Flour

1 Cup of Salt

2 Tbsp Oil

1 Cup of Water

Mix together the flour and the salt. Pour in the oil and then add the water, a little at a time, until you get a ball of dough. You may not need all of the water. Your clay is ready to play with when it can be handled without being too sticky or too crumbly. Add powdered tempera paint or food coloring to the dough to make it different colors.

This clay can be formed into different shapes and then be dried in an oven set at 300 degrees. How long it will take in the oven will depend on how large the piece is, but count on about an hour. Be aware that sometimes pieces that are more than a half inch thick, or so, might crack while drying.  Your finished sculpture can then be painted and coated with a clear acrylic sealer.


Drink Mix Clay Recipe

You can make colorful clay that even smells sweet by mixing in a package of unsweetened, powdered drink mix.  You can play with this clay for a few weeks if you store it in an air-tight container, or you can leave your creations out to air dry.

2 Cups of Flour

½ Cup of Salt

1 or 2 Packages of Unsweetened Powdered Drink Mix

2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

2 Tbsp Oil

2 Cups of Hot Water

Put the water into a pan or microwave to heat it up while you prepare the other ingredients. You want the water to get almost to the boiling stage.

Mix together the flour, salt, drink mix, and cream of tartar. Two packages of drink mix will give your clay more color than using just one.  Make sure this dry mixture is blended well.  Add the oil to the dry mixture and then carefully pour in about half of the hot water.

Stir your mixture until well mixed. Add more water, a little at a time, until your dough is a good clay consistency. Like with the recipe above, you will want the clay to be thick enough to squeeze without it sticking to your fingers.


Bread Clay Recipe

If you have a few piece of white bread that are a little too stale to eat, why not use them to make some clay.

3 Slices of Bread

3 Tsp White Glue

1 Tsp Oil

1 – 3 Tsp Water

Start off by removing the crusts from the bread, you can eat them, save them, or throw them out for the birds to enjoy. Tear the bread into small pieces and put them into a bowl. Pour the glue and the oil over the bread. Use your hands to mix the dough. Slowly add the water and knead it until it forms a nice ball of clay. Color your clay with food coloring, acrylic paint, or tempera paint.


Corn Starch Clay Recipe

Cook this mixture up to a smooth, bright ball of clay.  This clay can be stored for a few weeks in a tightly sealed container or it can be air dried by setting your creations on a wire rack so the air can circulate around them.

1 Cup Corn Starch

2 Cups Baking Soda

1 Tbsp Oil

1 1/4 Cups Water

Mix together the corn starch and the baking soda. Pour it into a medium-sized pot and place it on the stove.  Add the oil and water and stir well. If you would like to color the clay, add a few drops of food coloring.

Cook the mixture over medium heat until it thickens and is hard to stir. Dump the mixture out onto a plate or cutting board. Cover it with a wet cloth and let it cool.

Once the dough is cool enough to handle, dust your hands with some corn starch and knead it until it is smooth.

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8 comments for “4 Fun and Easy Clay Recipes

  1. 05/06/2013 at 6:25 pm

    Mari and I are going to have to make some this summer… thanks for the recipes 😉

  2. Shannon
    05/16/2013 at 10:19 pm

    Can I dry the cornstarch clay in the oven if I want it done faster?

    • 05/16/2013 at 10:48 pm

      Great question Shannon. Here is what I found: “Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then turn oven OFF. Place undecorated items on a wire rack on a cookie sheet. Place in oven until oven is cold. Repeat as necessary.”

      • Benjie Cheesley
        07/05/2013 at 12:06 pm

        Hi Sherri I have a question regarding your paper mache paste recipe on about.com. It is the cooked version using plastic resin glue powder. I bought Dap Weldwood plastic resin glue powder, is this the brand you used? Also did you have to wear gloves whilst doing the paper mache? I ask because it says not to let it get in contact with skin, and it also says it contains a known carcenogen. I would really love to know what brand you used etc. Please let me know as soon as you can as I’d love to get started on my project! Many thanks, Benjie.

        • 07/07/2013 at 3:21 pm

          Hi Benjie, It has been awhile since I have worked with the paper mache resin glue, but I believe I used Dap Weldwood. I did wear gloves when working with it because it is a lot harder to clean up while using the resin… The only concern I had about using it was to be very careful when measuring and mixing the powder so there has no dust! Hope this helps.

  3. Tina
    05/28/2013 at 7:39 pm

    I want to try one of these recipes to make an ornament using my toddler’s handprint. Which recipe would you suggest using?

    • 05/28/2013 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Tina, My first choice for making a handprint on clay would be to use the corn starch clay recipe. If you don’t have what you need for that, my second choice would be the flour and salt clay.

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