By Rajashree Nedungadi
Art and craft can probably be divided into three broad categories — painting, clay craft and paper craft. While most of us are apprehensive about painting and others are unaware of the magnitude and range of paper as a medium, all of us use clay in some or other form in our daily life.
My definition of clay would be anything that is available in a powder form in the market – Plaster of Paris, ceramic powder, marble powder and any others to which adhesive can be added and of which molding clay can be made.
How To Make Clay At Home
In the twelve years I’ve been in this profession, I have worked with various media like soap, cornflour, various powders from the market, bread and even regular wheat flour. Anything that can be converted into a dough form can be used as molding clay.
Now let me share some interesting home-made clay recipes for you.
Cornstarch Or Cornflour Clay
- One cup of cornflour
- One and half cups of cold water
- Two cups soda bicarbonate or salt
- Food colouring
Mix salt and water and heat the mix, but do not let it boil. Once it is mixed well, remove from fire and add cornflour. Keep mixing. If it is not thick enough, reheat it slightly.
- One cup clean sand
- One cup water
- One cup cornflour
Mix all the ingredients and heat on a low flame, stirring continuously. Once a lump is formed, remove and let it cool. This mixture will have an interesting texture.
- One cup powder milk
- Half cup peanut butter
- Half cup honey
Mix all the ingredients and let your children have fun making interesting things. They can eat their creations later, too!
One of the most interesting home-made doughs consists of wheat flour and salt. We will be making a photo frame with this dough.
Wheat Flour Clay
- Mount board
- Wheat flour – 2 cups
- One cup salt
- One cup water
- Empty ball pen
- Cookie cutters
- Rolling pin
- Fevicol (Glue)
- Poster or food colours
1. Mix two cups of wheat flour, one cup salt and one cup water and knead the mixture well. Use half the quantity for fewer items to be made. This dough will last for three to four days without refrigeration. Wrap the dough in cling-wrap or a plastic sheet, or keep it in a plastic container.
2. Cut the mount board to 6 inches by 8 inches to form the outer part of the photo frame. A photograph of 4′ x 6′ can be stuck in the center, leaving a one-inch border for sticking the clay craft (fish, starfish, shells and plants) to decorate the photo frame.
3. Plan the sea scene by making a rough sketch on the photo frame. Decide on the number and size of the fish, plants and shells, and the area where the sand has to be stuck.
4. Apply Fevicol (glue) over the entire one-inch border on all four sides of the frame. Spread the sand evenly over this.
5. After an hour, tap the photo frame on a piece of paper to loosen the excess sand.
6. Take a small quantity of the dough and roll it into a teardrop shape. Make at least five to six of these in different sizes. Flatten these from top to bottom and twist them a little. Your underwater plants are ready.
6. Take some more dough and make a bigger teardrop shape for the fish. Flatten this and, with a toothpick, make its eyes on the pointed side. With the scissor, make a small cut on the pointed part of the dough for the mouth.
7. Make three triangles with the dough, stick two on the sides of the fish and one on its back to form the fin and the tail.
8. Use the scissor, toothpick or empty ball pen to make scale patterns on the body of the fish.
9. Take some more dough and make a star shape out of it. Make some lines and dots on the body to form a starfish.
10. Make a small, thick teardrop, flatten it and give a rounded edge to the pointed side. Make lines from the pointed side towards different points on the broad side to form a seashell.
11. Roll some dough flat and use small cookie cutters to cut interesting shapes for the underwater flowers.
12. Bake these items in the oven at 120 degrees for five minutes, or in the microwave at maximum heat for one to two minutes. Alternately, air-dry them four to five days.
13. The fish, shell and other items can now be colored. Use poster colors to color the plants green, the fish in various shades, the starfish in light pink and the shells and flowers in interesting hues. Once the colors are dry, apply some glitter to enhance the effect.
14. Stick the plants, shells, fish and starfish on the photo frame using Fevicol, then mount the photograph in the center.
15. Cut the mount board into a trapezium measuring 8-10 cm in length. The width of the upper part should be 4 cm and the lower part 6 cm. Fold about one centimeter from the top and stick it to the back of the photo frame to form photo frame’s stand.
The same process can be used to make name plates, fruit baskets on a mount board and smaller items to stick on magnets or attach to key chains – even beads. The latter can be made by rolling small pellets and sticking a knitting needle through them to form a hole.
Oil the knitting needle so the dough does not get stuck to it. After ten minutes, remove it and continue until you have the required number to beads. String them up to make a home-made necklace.
You can also make cartoons characters and stick them on big safety pins to use as brooches. Paint these smaller articles with clear nail paint to give them shine and gloss.
© Rajashree Nedungadi has been a professional art and crafts instructor for the last twelve years. She conducts workshops at schools and colleges and also undertakes artistic corporate gift contracts.
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