Homemade Self-Hardening Clay

by Nora Zavalczki
Knead the clay before you shape it.

Knead the clay before you shape it.

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Self-hardening clay is a material that doesn't require kiln firing or oven baking. There are different types of self-hardening clay, which vary in composition. Certain self-hardening clays are made of mineral ingredients while others contain artificial ingredients. You can buy self-hardening clay in crafts stores, but you can also prepare it at home. Cold porcelain is a self-hardening clay prepared using cornstarch, white glue and cold cream. This homemade clay is versatile and may be used to create various crafts projects. However, cold porcelain has some limitations.

Self-Hardening Clay Recipe

To make cold porcelain you need white glue, cold cream, glycerin and cornstarch. For each cup of cornstarch, add 3/4 cups of white glue and half a cup of water. Mix the ingredients in a pan and add 1 tsp. of cold cream and 1 tsp. of glycerin. Place the pan over medium heat and stir continuously to avoid the formation of lumps. Add food colorants, fabric paints or liquid water-based colors to the clay if you want to have colored material. If you want several colors of clay, prepare each color following the same steps.

Kneading the Clay

Kneading the material is important to remove air pockets and to avoid cracks, which may occur as the clay objects dry. Spread cornstarch on the table and knead the material while it is still warm to obtain a lump of clay that has the consistency of dough. At this point, you can start shaping the material or allow it to cool off and store it in an airtight jar.

Self-Hardening Clay Projects

Cold porcelain is ideal for small crafts projects such as making clay animals or earrings and pendants. If you want to make a large sculpture, use toothpicks or wire to create a skeleton for your object and add the clay porcelain on this structure. The material is not water-resistant, so you cannot make functional pieces with it. To protect your pieces from moisture, seal them with two coats of water-based varnish.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Homemade Clay

Homemade self-hardening clay has many advantages over organic clay or polymer clay. The material is easy to make and making it is a fun project. The material is as malleable as the other types of clay, but it doesn't require kiln firing or baking. In terms of cost, the homemade cold porcelain is cheaper than any of the clays you can buy on the market. Homemade self-hardening clay may dissolve in contact with water and is more fragile than polymer clay or fired organic clay objects.

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