Introduction: Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint
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.