Since being creative is my work, sometimes when the time comes to get creative with my family, I feel so tired. Christmas is my remedy! Within the season of advent, I indulge in all the cheery tasks creativity (and time) can muster: small acts of service, home-baked goods left in the hands or on the doorsteps of dear friends, a smattering of simple presents like books, ornaments, games and such, reading and reflecting on scripture, and of course, festive crafts to bring us together.
Which is what I’m sharing here today!
I am really quite taken with this recipe! This is not your typical preschool salt dough! The dough is beautiful and behaves in a similar manner as porcelain, making me feel right at home and ready to share with you all the tips to make it a success. It’s simple and lovely, and laughing all the way, you can whip up some memories and keepsakes- a few to keep and plenty to share and give and send. Whatever you celebrate during this season and however you find the time, I hope this humble craft can help you gather with dear ones in creativity and cheer.
Here’s all you’ll need:
2 cups of baking soda
1 cup of cornstarch
1 1/2 cups of water
Optional add-ins: essential oils or spices like cinnamon for fragrance, dried flowers, or a healthy dash of glitter.
Medium sized saucepan, 2 quarts or so
Damp dish cloth
Drinking straw or toothpick to make holes for hanging
Cookie cutters, twine, alphabet stamps, dinosaurs, acorns, pins, little collectibles for making impressions- you know, things to make them yours
Trays or cookie racks for drying
Mix baking soda and cornstarch together in the saucepan, then stir in the water. Cook over medium heat, slowly stirring and scooping up from the sides and bottom of the pan. Be gentle, folding the dough around as it cooks, but consistent, so it heats evenly and doesn’t burn. The mixture will start to thicken and you’re going to watch it, still stirring, going from syrup to gravy, to pancake batter, and then get ready, once it reaches the texture of whipped mashed potatoes, turn off the heat.
TIP: If you’re uncertain of all these food terms, don’t worry! Just understand that we want a firm, but soft dough. So if you have to choose between a softer, undercooked dough and a clumpy, dry, overcooked one, stay on the side of softness. Dry dough will certainly crumble.
Let the dough sit in the pot until it’s cool enough to handle. Scoop dough into the damp dish cloth, form it into a ball, then wrap in the cloth and let it sit to fully cool. 15 minutes will do the trick.
TIP: As a woman whose hands are constantly in clay, I can tell you that the success of your creation begins with a proper wedge of the dough. This ensures consistency in drying and pliability for your creations. I love this part! Similar to kneading, grab your clay ball, press the palms of your hands forward and into the clay, then roll the clay back onto itself and repeat. When clay is smooth and no longer sticky, that’s your sign it’s time to begin! If the dough mixture continues to stick, sprinkle your surface with cornstarch and wedge that in until your dough is more workable.
When you’re feeling happy with your dough, you can roll and cut and stamp till your heart is happy and your hands are tired. Whatever dough you aren’t working with should stay wrapped in the damp dish towel so it doesn’t dry out. If you’ll be hanging your creation, stamp out a hole with a straw or wiggle one in with a skewer or toothpick before drying.
When you are ready to dry your creations, use a cookie rack or tray and let the clay air dry. Don’t try to cook it in the oven. A slow air dry keeps the clay from cracking. This clay dries pure white and smooth, I love it as it is, but you can paint or glitter or adorn it as you please. If your pieces seem a little rough after they dry for a couple days, sand them lightly with sandpaper. At this point your pieces can also be painted.
Merry making to you and yours! If you use this baking soda dough, post a picture and tag me @hername_ismud, I’d love to see your creations and moments with your family and friends.
Recipe source adapted over the years:: https://mamapapabubba.com/2016/02/16/homemade-air-dry-modelling-clay-aka-baking-soda-clay/