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How can I Make Homemade Clay?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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So it’s a rainy day and the kids are screaming for something to do. Mom really has other things she needs to be doing, but the kids are insistent. They’re BORED! What can an inventive mom do to help her children pass the time, especially if they have passed the age of Play-Doh? Can she make homemade clay? The recipe for homemade clay is a simple one and has been used by scores of desperate mothers over the years.

The recipe starts with flour, salt and water. Take 2 cups (454 grams) flour and mix it in a bowl with 1 cup (227 grams) salt. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and 1 cup (237 milliliters) water and slowly stir into the flour mixture until it has a smooth consistency. That’s all there is to it!

Many other recipes are available to make homemade clay, but this most basic one is great for kids and adults. Older children can help measure the ingredients, while younger children can help stir and incorporate the mixture into a dough ball.

An adult will want to let the children mold their clay on wax paper, to minimize clean-up. After that, the child is limited only by his or her imagination. They may make bowls, pots, pans, animals or clay jewelry -- whatever they think is good at the time. The wonderful thing about homemade clay is that it is easy to use, and can be either colored during the mixing process with a couple of drops of food coloring, or it can be painted later.

When the art has been completed, mom or dad needs to bake the creations in a 250-degree Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) oven for 45 minutes to one hour. When the art has cooled, it can be painted and shellacked to make it more permanent.

Children have been using this recipe to make homemade clay and create Christmas ornaments for years. The dough, incidentally, can also be rolled out and cookie cutters used to shape ornaments. An ornament hole can be made in the top of the ornament before baking, and should stay open during the baking process. With this easy recipe to make homemade clay, a mom can always answer the question, “What can we do?”

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Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By Thashayani18 — On Mar 05, 2014

Thank you.It is very useful.

By anon354379 — On Nov 07, 2013

How do I draw the moisture from the clay to make it more firm?

By anon285886 — On Aug 18, 2012

I am very much interested in homemade crafts. I have never tried clay, but it seems easy to make. I will surely try it.

By Monika — On May 05, 2012

I think the best thing about homemade clay is that you don't have to bake it at a very high temperature for it to harden. I know that regular clay has to be fired at extremely high temperatures in order to set. This isn't really feasible for kids.

On the other hand, homemade clay you can bake at 250 degrees is perfect for young children, as long as there's an adult around to operate the oven!

By SZapper — On May 05, 2012

@JessicaLynn - It's nice your mom kept that magnet all these years. My mom used to home homemade clay also, but we usually colored ours with food coloring. I always thought that was really fun, because if you mix certain colors together, you get other colors. It was like an art lesson rolled into a fun activity!

Anyway, my mom taught us how to make homemade clay ornaments, and we made a ton of them! We mostly made Christmas ornaments, and then we took great pride in putting them on the tree every year. We also still have some ornaments left that I made when I was a kid.

By JessicaLynn — On May 04, 2012

My mom knows how to make homemade modeling clay. She used to do it all the time when my sister and I were kids! I always thought it was really fun. Plus, the whole process looks sort of like magic when you're a kid. Put a few ingredients in a bowl, stir, and then you have clay!

We used to make a lot of different stuff with it, and in fact, some of our creations have survived for many years. My mom still has a magnet on her refrigerator that I made for her out of homemade clay. It's in the shape of a heart with a smiley face drawn on the front. It's also painted red, although the paint has faded a lot over the years.

By John57 — On May 03, 2012

It is so easy to learn how to make homemade clay for kids, and you can also save a lot of money at the same time.

My kids would get frustrated when they would get out the Play-Doh only to find it all dried out and crumbly. Once I began making my own clay for them, we never had to worry about that again.

It only takes a few minutes to mix up and there is no end to the ways you can use it.

As my kids got older I began experimenting with making different types of clay. One unique idea I came across was to mix pieces of white bread (with no crust) and glue.

You roll this or knead it into a ball and this is a great medium for making clay projects. This becomes very elastic and is also great at making impressions.

Once your project is dry, you can even add a glossy finish by brushing on a mixture of glue and water.

By Mykol — On May 03, 2012

I always made my homemade clay on the stove and added cornstarch to the mixture. This made it very easy to work with and you could then add food coloring or use paints on your finished pieces.

The cornstarch gave the clay a thicker consistency than regular Play-Doh which made it great for molding and sculpting.

We made all kinds of snowmen and animals with this mixture. It also works great if you want to have your kids do an impression of their hands.

You can always add more or less cornstarch depending on the consistency you want. I always stored mine in a plastic container or bag with a damp paper towel to help keep it moist.

I didn't notice any difference whether I stored it in the refrigerator or left it at room temperature.

By bagley79 — On May 02, 2012

I have always wondered how to make homemade clay and this sounds like an easy recipe. I also would not have to go out and buy any new or different ingredients for it.

This sounds like a perfect solution for a rainy day activity and I already have everything I need on hand.

My kids love to make their own crafts, and they usually make their own Christmas presents to give to their friends and family.

Next year, I think we will plan on making our own Christmas ornaments. I can already imagine my older daughter will want her own small tree decorated with the clay ornaments she makes herself.

By honeybees — On May 02, 2012

When my kids were young, I made many batches of homemade Play-Doh. I would divide this into different sections and color them with a few drops of food coloring.

There were several things I liked about making my own Play-Doh. One was it stayed a softer consistency for a longer period of time.

The Play-Doh I bought at the store always seemed to dry out so fast. Another advantage was I felt better about my kids eating this than what I bought at the store (all of my kids tried to eat their Play-Doh).

At least I knew the ingredients that were in it, and even though there was a lot of salt in the dough recipe, I knew it wouldn't hurt them.

As they got older, we began making our own clay. I would keep this a neutral color and let them paint their pieces after they dried.

By anon150221 — On Feb 07, 2011

Excellent recipe. thank you.

By recapitulate — On Nov 14, 2010

There are many different recipes for homemade craft clay. You can find several books full of recipes for clay and other substances, so kids who especially like to work with these sorts of things can try many different kinds, some of which are totally kid-friendly to construct.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With...
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