Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint





Introduction: Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint

About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-p...

Clay recipes which call for massive quantities of flour and salt feel unethical. What a waste to use all that good food for play! This recipe uses only a moderate amount of flour and is a great way to turn trash into something fun, durable -- and possibly beautiful.

This clay would be perfect for masks, halloween props or any other low budget craft project.

Step 1: Ingredients

3 cups of lint (from your dryer filter)

2 cups of water

2/3 cups all purpose flour

3 drops wintergreen oil (optional, to discourage vermin)

Step 2: Preparation

Put lint and water in large saucepan. Stir in the water, then add flour. Mix well to get rid of lumps and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till mixture is uniform and holds together well. Remove from heat and add the optional wintergreen oil. Allow to cool till it is comfortable to handle.

Step 3: Modeling

Use this like paper mâché pulp. It can be shaped and sculpted over an armature (such as an empty bottle or a balloon) or it can be pressed into a mold for a smooth, hard finish. Shaped over an armature the result will be hard and durable too, but rough.

We used the vacuum formed plastic used for toy and electronic packaging as our molds, because we were just paying around and experimenting, without a specific shape or project in mind -- and often those shapes look pretty cool.

Let dry for 3-5 days before painting.

Step 4: Finishing

Our end result wasn't quite as beautiful as we'd hoped, partially because the lint in my household contains a fair amount of dog hair, which makes things messy.

Also, unfortunately, the dog was not at all repelled by the scent of wintergreen and he destroyed our first prototype before we could try finishing it properly. I think a little spackle to fill in the bubbles, and a good coat of paint would have improved its looks considerably.

Once I collect enough laundry lint we'll try again, and this time keep the piece up high and out of canine reach while it dries....

This is a fun, easy and inexpensive clay to work with, and the result is solid and lightweight enough to be suitable for masks or even small bowls, with the right finish.



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    Enjoyed this one immensely! Silly dog, cracks me up. I usually dump my lint in the compost, but have WANTED to make paper mache out of it! Good for you.

    I save my dryer line too. I put it into old onion bags and hang it from the trees around my apartment in the spring for birds to use when they build their nests

    1 reply

    Love that idea!

    Dryer lint is flammable, so it makes great fire starter. (Add oil or wax) Hmmm, a doll of boss or other nemesis plus fire place/pit equals a bit of fun!

    I have an old compo doll that needs repair. Would this type of clay make a suitable patch?

    1 reply

    I'm not sure what a compo doll is... so I'm afraid I don't know if this would make a suitable patch.

    nice alternative to papier mache

    I love it when I see people use trash for fun, but for all people that do not have a dryer and also if you have a dryer just use old flour which you can no longer use for food and forget the salt. There is no need to use salt for paper mache. You only need salt and a bit of oil if you like to make a kind of porcelain clay.

    3 replies

    That's true, there are plenty of clay recipes without lint... However you don't need to have a dryer to collect it. Any laundromat (or friend with a dryer) would give their lint to you for free (though they might look at you funny when you ask for it).

    My friends will certainly not look funny at me I guess they will look if I' m loosing my mind :) Year round we have a temperature with a minimum of 28 degrees Celsius. That's the same reason our laundromat has no filter all the water goes straight away to the bananas and the papaya. Perhaps it is because English is not my native language but I only want to give you a tip for not feeling guilty for wasting food for when you running out of lint.

    And I thank you for the tip! In my house (since I bake regularly) I'm a lot more likely to have lint on hand than spoiled flour -- but I can easily imagine (especially in a hot and humid climate) that spoiled flour is easier to come by than laundry lint.

    Sooo...let me get this straight. You're taking something that is essentially garbage and turning it into, not art, but instead a medium for making one's own can I not love this??

    3 replies

    Yes, that about sums it up. But at the risk of being flagged as "not nice" to myself, I have to admit my initial result was closer to garbage than art. However it was good enough to see this material has great potential for art. Please post pictures if you make anything with this modeling clay! I'm sure it will be much nicer than what I made. I'll give a free pro membership to the first person to post an "I made it" photo!

    I would absolutely not call that "garbage". First off, I think that it turned out pretty nice, and with some more care of pouring it into the mold, it would've had a much nicer finish. Secondly, the dog hair isn't really something you could control, and that definitely didn't help with the outcome. Third, you have created a prototype for a much less wasteful clay, which I'm sure will be developed further by you or others. Lastly, you learned. I have found that one of the best things for makers is to go out on a limb and fail... Explore mediums and other trades you might be interested, and learn from the mistakes you made on the first few projects. As a maker I find that I am most satisfied when I overcome problems and correct and learn from past mistakes I have made. I would most certainly not call this garbage. Nice work, I like the ingenuity!

    Don't get me wrong! The experiment was definitely a success (if I didn't think the material was great I wouldn't have posted it...) I do think the particular cast I made lacked certain esthetic qualities I generally strive to achieve -- that's all. I'm also a big fan of making mistakes. My projects are invariably much better when I've had to overcome obstacles and failed a couple times along the way.