Homemade Clay With Liquid Starch and Sand

by Cristel Wood
Create your own clay using a few simple household ingredients.

Create your own clay using a few simple household ingredients.

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Clay is a versatile craft medium that allows crafters of all ages to express their creativity by creating figurines, vases, bowls and other art projects. Clay can be found naturally, purchased from a ceramic or pottery store or created in your own kitchen. Sand clay requires only a few simple ingredients and is safe for children to sculpt with, immortalizing their sand castles, seascapes and other fantastic creations.

Liquefy the Starch

Pour 1 cup of water into an old pot and bring the water to a rolling boil. Add 1/2 cup of powdered cornstarch, 1 tsp. of vegetable oil and 1 1/2 tsp. of powdered alum to the boiling water. Mix thoroughly until the mixture is smooth. It will be somewhat runny. Powdered alum is available in the spice aisle of your local supermarket. Remove the pot from heat and allow the cornstarch mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

Create the Clay

Pour 1 cup of fine sand into a mixing bowl. Fine sand can be gathered on the beach or purchased at a local craft store. The finer the sand is, the smoother your clay will be. Add the cooled cornstarch mixture to the sand. Mix the sand into the cornstarch mixture. The easiest way to do this is to simply use your hands. Mix until the cornstarch mixture is absorbed by the sand and the mixture becomes doughy. Add a few cups of food coloring and knead it into the dough if you desire colored clay. Pour the cornstarch and sand mixture onto a surface covered with waxed paper. Knead the cornstarch and sand mixture (the clay) with your hands. The longer you knead, the smoother the clay will become.

Use the Clay

Use your clay right away or store it in an airtight container. Sand clay can be stored for up to two days without losing its doughy consistency. If it dries out, knead in a couple drops of water to soften the clay before using it. You can use the clay to create figurines, vases, ornaments or other art projects. Alternatively, create a seascape by embedding seashells into the clay or create hand or foot impressions by pressing your hand or foot into the clay. To harden the clay, allow it to air-dry for a couple of days or bake your creations in an oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the project.


Although liquefied starch used to create sand clay is similar in content to liquid starch used to reduce wrinkles in laundry, the concentration of water to starch is different. Homemade liquid starch generally consists of 1 tbsp. of cornstarch to 4 cups of water, while liquefied starch used to create sand clay consists of 1/2 cup of cornstarch to 1 cup of water. Do not use pre-made liquid starch for your clay, however, as many liquid starch brands available at supermarkets contain chemicals or fragrances that can be unhealthy for young crafters and can potentially produce dangerous fumes when baked.

About the Author

Cristel Wood is a writer specializing in food, photography, gardening and video games. She holds an Associate of Arts from South Puget Sound Community College and has worked for her local Parks & Recreation department, Mt. Baker ski area, Vista Village Retirement Community and has taught ESL in Peru.

Photo Credits

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