Inspiration for Making and Doing
Salt Dough Clay
A reminder of childhood days of creativity, this simple dough is actually quite versatile. It's easy to make, with simple ingredients from the kitchen, is non-toxic and keeps in the refrigerator if not all used up on the first day. It does crack a little and the thicker it is, the longer it takes to dry. However, it is easy to sand smooth (wear a mask!) and is paintable with acrylic paints (the less watery the better). Sealing is recommended as moisture will "rehydrate" it a bit. Clear nail polish will do the trick and we're going to experiment with Dorland's wax, matte medium and maybe even clear gesso. (Obviously, not food safe!)
Salt Dough Clay
1 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Mix 1 cup table salt with 1/3 cup water. Heat in a small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat.
Stir 1/2 cup cornstarch into 1/4 cup cold water - sprinkle the cornstarch a little at a time stirring constantly and quickly - if you dump it all in at once it won't mix properly!
Put the salt mixture back on low heat and add the cornstarch mixture - stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The mixture will begin to thicken. Keep stirring until it becomes dough-like.
Scoop out the dough onto a plate and let cool. When it's cool enough to handle, knead it into a smooth ball.
It's ready to use - you can roll it out like dough or sculpt it like clay. We used two pieces of cardboard as a rolling guide to keep thickness consistent. Form it over other dishes you like or use a variety of objects to form it around ... pen caps, rubber molds, and other curious objects provide nice shapes to form around. We also made little pinch pots and 3-D hearts successfully. Look around for fun ways to imprint designs into it - forks, sewing stitch markers, bottle caps, etc.
Left over clay can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and, re-kneaded, is sculpt-able again.
Let your creations dry on a wire rack. The ones pictured took two days to dry completely, except for the thicker pot, which seemed dry inside, until we tried to sand it - day 3 and it's still a bit squishy inside.