Instructables
I was wondering about polymer clay substitutes and decided to experiment with homemade air-dry clays.

This recipes is very fast and easy to make, not to mention inexpensive. There's no need to bake either.

The things that can be modelled from cold porcelain clays are incredible. Its possible to sculpt finer details than polymer clays.  Objects dry to a light-weight, stone like texture. Try it and see where your creativity takes you.
 
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Step 1: Ingredients You Need

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This recipe makes one silky smooth, soft cup of cold porcelain clay. Suitable for thin flowers and leaf sculptures.

1 cup cornflour (optional try using rice flour 50:50 mix)
3/4 cup pva (wood) glue
3 drops of eucalyptus or nutmeg oil (for a preservative)
either 1 teaspoon baby oil or 1/2 tsp petroleum jelly (to prevent cracking during drying)
1/4 cup water

(New Recipe! update here, no cracks! How to Make Cold Porcelain Beads)
 

Step 2: Cook Ingredients

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Ensure there is plenty of ventilation or wear a mask. Take care not to burn PVA as it may be toxic.

This will take only a few of minutes to form into a round mass.

Mix cornflour with water until free of lumps.  Stir in pva glue and oils. Blend until smooth.

Stir on very low heat until the mixture forms first into a sticky glue then a thick ball. (Around 9 minutes)

The texture should be quite sticky.  Once you roll out on a board or sink bench top, everything will come together.  If the texture is rubbery and difficult to mold into thin petals it seems the clay has gone past redemption and is totally unusable and needs to be chucked in the bin.

I experimented with trying to recycle the rubberised mixture and after 72 hours soaking in water it softened and returned to a soft, pulpy mass.
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Jim Davidson5 months ago

Why on earth would you want to cook this? My guess...too much liquid. At the Studio we use what we call "CFC". (cold fusion clay) 1/2 cup PVA, 1 cup cornflour (corn starch) 1 tbs+ Boiled linseed oil, and 1 tsp salt. Mix to desired consistency adding water via a spray bottle or to thicken, a little more cornflour. This stuff air dries in 24 hours depending on the thickness or sooner in an oven a around 100-125 degrees in a couple of hours...again thickness is a factor. We don't have any problems with cracking. Add moist toilet paper, shredded and soaked brown paper bags and even chopped fiber glass insulation for strength, never poses a problem. These extra components are mixed in with a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment. Just a bit or positive assistant to make your artistic quest a reality...

Thank you so much for telling us how to do (basically) the same thing, sans cooking. I have absolutely no plans to put toxic fumes in the air with my two children at home. I appreciate your input!

You can easily make cold porcelain without cooking. But there are no toxic fumes to worry about as far as I know, unless heating the white glue somehow makes it toxic.

For a simple, easy cold porcelain you can make with your kids, try this recipe:

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup school glue

2 tbs white vinegar

About 1 tsp Nivea hand cream

Mix together well and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more starch or glue if necessary. Wrap it tightly and store in an airtight container. You can add a little white tempera paint or Wilton White White to it if you like, to give it a white colour when it dries. Otherwise, it will be translucent and kind of yellowish if left uncoloured.

I forgot to mention, the school glue is not as strong as the wood glue, so your clay will be much softer and may not hold it's shape very well. At least, that was my experience. Good enough for simple projects, but not for larger or more intricate ones.

Oops, I forgot an ingredient too: 2 Tbs baby oil (or cooking oil)

I have tried both cooked and uncooked cold porcelain. I found the cooking produced a much stronger clay that was easier to work with and held its shape well. This method is preferred by many well known CP artists, such as Marisol Romero.

What you describe seems to be something quite different, as there is no glue in it and it can be dried in the oven (not generally recommended for CP). I have never tried adding paper or any other fibre to CP, and I have never seen it done in all the tutorials I have read. I'm not sure, but I don't think it would work very well. It is also not necessary. It's plenty strong enough on it's own.

KuhAngeles3 months ago

Would I be able to make something using this recipe that will withstand longterm water submersion that is safe for living things? Like a decorative ornament to go inside a glass flower vase?

Cold Porcelain, to my knowledge, cannot be made waterproof. But I haven't tested this yet. Regardless of what you use it for, it must be coated with something to seal it.

Superb reciepe. Can I use this for sugar flowers or to cover a dummy?
Gomi Romi (author)  aycaweerakoon2 years ago
Sure, except its not edible.

I wish cucaraches could read this. They ate one of my figures :(

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LOL I don't think the cucaraches would care even if they could read this. But at least they have good taste. ;)

I have never had anything eat my CP, but the mice stole my papier mâché creations once while I was waiting for them to dry. Not sure if they ate them or used them to line their nests or just took them for the fun of it.

mamaRoxc4 months ago

I'd like to try this, but I am really not too fond of putting toxic air in my home.. ✮ I have two children, and toxic fumes or smoke is not a welcome visitor
.. ✮ I will have to try this [at someone else's house?] because I really like the idea of making my own air-dry clay. Thanks for the tutorial!

H82BU mamaRoxc2 months ago

Lol! Wood Glue (Unless are are buying industrial strength or something) and Elmer's glue are pretty much the same thing and are Non-toxic they are even both found in kids school supply section at walmart! Pre-schools let children glue sticks together with wood/ elmer's glue! (They even say "Non Toxic ) on the bottle! Also if you have ever tried to compare different ways to make this clay there is a no cooking version also and a microwavable one too! Also even most homemade playdoughs have some kind of glue in them! ;) Also being safe and non toxic, 90% of cookware sold nowadays "pans with this special coating" (Teflon is the best-known version) Many of these are fluorine-containing compounds, which as a class are generally toxic.” But fluoropolymers, the chemicals from which these toxic compounds come, are a big part of the coating formula — and the very reason that foods don’t stick to nonstick. Also did you know that fluoride that is in drinking water and toothpaste was invented by a nazi scientist in the 1930's and the non-organic sodium fluoride used in fluoridating water is instant poison you and was first used to change the behavior and kill people! So im sure you probably don't drink tap water but i'm sure your children take a bath and swim it.. should research that! All I am saying is harmless school glue is the least of worries now days and i'm pretty sure the air your children breathe in FL when they are outside playing is 100's of times more toxic than this recipe..( Criteria air pollutants include the six most common air pollutants in the U.S.: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide) Thank You for the recipe i am sure my kids will enjoy making and playing with the clay! :D...

PS: Mod Podge is just a jacked up version of school glue and wood glue mixed! :)

mamaRoxc H82BU2 months ago
I just saw your comment about "wearing a mask and using a well ventilated area", so that's why I said this lol
Thank you for your long drawn out history lesson! My husband is a History Professor, and I am very happy you know your history of the Nazis!

No masks or ventilation should be necessary when making cold porcelain. It is non toxic. Recipes do vary widely though and some may have ingredients that you do have to be careful with.

Would olive/vegetable oil be a working substitute for baby oil and tacky glue for wood glue? Does this dry light weight, able to use for a mask? Thanks! Also if anyone could recommend other recipe, it would be appreciated!
Gomi Romi (author)  twestbrook11 year ago
Yes! the ultimatepaper mache lady uses linseed oil.
Looks like some very nice work! Do you happen to know what temperature it can withstand? For example, can you put it in an oven at 350 F and expect the air dry clay to not deform? I am trying to find a way to create a moderately permanent mold at room temperature that can withstand pvc plastic melting into it and create mini figures from the pvc in this way.
Gomi Romi (author)  miniaturemaker1 year ago
Hi, actually this is an unfired recipe and dries over several days. its easy to crack but if you use more glycerin that water it will not crack as much. personally, i wouldn't fire this because of the fumes from the glue. its just so durable to make beads and small sculptures. i think you can make great molds from paper clay, which unfired is quite durable. i haven't tried it but have seen it done before. (search for unfired clay hump molds)
hshahid1 year ago
can i use this recipe to make jelwry?small flowers?plz do reply thankx
Gomi Romi (author)  hshahid1 year ago
Yes, but you need to find a way to waterproof it. I think that ultimatepapermache has a better waterproof recipe for jewelry.
Boy, I love this site! I've learned so many interesting things, starting off with cardboard furniture.
So glad to have this site to peruse instead of going to the *(&^**&^% bead sites and spending all my money (which I can't afford to spend!!)
Nahual2 years ago
What kind of paint did you use? do you paint before it's dry?
Gomi Romi (author)  Nahual2 years ago
Sorry for late reply, I use food colouring and paint with gouache. Acrylic does not work very well and goes all mushy.
Gomi Romi (author)  Nahual2 years ago
I used food colouring to mix with the paint. For the black beads in the new recipe I mixed in Chinese Black Ink.

Tried oil paints for the outside, that did not look so good, and alsow mixed the clay with acrylic paints, that was pretty awful.

I had good results with food colouring. I would first waterproof the scupture with either furniture or floor polish or diamond glaze then paint with nail polish, pastels acrylics or gouache.

Hope that helps U!
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helenh202 years ago
try using glycerine instead of water... I have a great recipe that I gained from another site using home items ... I have made several items using this clay and the shrinkage and cracking has reduced because I use no water.
soco helenh202 years ago
hi, could you please tell me how much of glycerine did you use, instead of water? thank you
vmarzonia3 years ago
Can I use cornstarch instead of rice flour or cornflour and Elmer's glue as substitute for wood glue?.. thanks!... : )
I have only used cornstarch and elmers glue in my cold porcelain
Gomi Romi (author)  vmarzonia3 years ago
I think cornstarch is the same thing as cornflour and Elmer's glue is a different brand name for wood glue - should be fine!
tonyblitz13 years ago
Will this work as a substitute clay for designing scale automotive models
Gomi Romi (author)  tonyblitz13 years ago
I think UltimatePaperMache recipe using drywall mixture is probably more economical - her link is here http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-recipes
notice how rustic her work is, is that what you're look for? All the best with that.
emmakrazy3 years ago
My Aunt had a doll made like this and i loved it but I was never sure how it was made. Thanks for sharing, I think I could made it work and do up keepsake dolls for my granddaughters. :)
Gomi Romi (author)  emmakrazy3 years ago
Your welcome! You might like to check out my new recipe which I used to make CLAY EGGS. This seems to have less like to crack issues or mold! All the best with your dolls.
I was wondering if I could use 3 drops of lemon juice instead of the eucalyptus oil. Thanks!
Gomi Romi (author)  insructoperson3 years ago
Hmm, not sure. You might substitute the eucalyptus oil with olive oil or vege oil. I would try the lemon as well, that might work!
taria3 years ago
okay so the recipe at the top is the correct one for making this clay? I'm only asking cause in your description you say' I tried this and then tried tha't and I got confused. I just want to make sure before I do the one you have at the top. BTW your sculptures are amazing. Did you use the same recipe for those cause you said it will shrink and distort and they look stunning.

Sorry for the stupid questions.
Gomi Romi (author)  taria3 years ago
Hi, yes this is correct for pva glue clay. Thanks, but the sculptures are not by me but by Katya Tchernev from Brazil. I've had so much difficulties with storing it and the cracks that I prefer going back to natural clays. I would try contacting Katya for special advice.
AustralLord3 years ago
I am thinking about making a clay pipe for smoking, could I use this type of clay?
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