Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Corn Starch Clay Adventures

Has everyone recovered from the holidays? (I think I may need another week!) After the crazy craftiness of the holidays, Dickens, and a costume project for a dear friend, I was feeling the crafting itch!  I do have other projects that I need to work on, but last night, I needed something quick, easy, and not too involved to get me back into the swing of crafting, and decided that my old man, Cozmo, needed a paw print.

I used the corn starch clay recipe from The Life of Lulu Belle.  Her instructions are as follows:

1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 1/4 cups water

1. Combine ingredients in large sauce pan and stir until dough is thick and can no longer be stirred (takes 5-10 minutes)  Hi, Noelle here!  Mine took about 5 minutes, but that may be that I had the heat up quite high!  There aren't any instructions for heat level, I took a stab at a guess and did medium-high.  I'll probably do medium to medium-low next time, although nothing turned out badly, it might have been nice to have a little more control.  :)  Also, after heating for a minute, everything got a little fizzy - I got worried, but plowed through anyway.  Don't worry if it will be OK!
2. Dump onto parchment paper or flat surface to cool
3. Knead until smooth once dough has cooled enough to do so  Me again!  I dumped the pot out onto parchment paper to cool as instructed - although I barely let it cool before playing around with it!  It's super hot when it comes out of the pot, but doesn't take long to get to a pleasant, warm temperature.  (Be warned, the inside is going to be a lot hotter than the outside!  Proceed with caution!)
4. Mold into shapes or roll out and cut shapes out with cookie cutters

After kneading the dough and rolling out into a flat sheet, I messed around a little with the best method to get a good paw print - I found that it is best to have a large sheet, press the paw in, and then cut it is somewhat difficult to get a slightly grumpy, uncooperative old dog* to properly place his foot in the right place!  :)

It is a bit hard to see, but I stamped a heart, and his name (Cozmo) at the bottom.  Before this whole crafting adventure, I stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked up two sets of rubber stamps similar to these:

With both of them on sale (40% FTW!), I spent a total of $6 on this entire project, and I have all the supplies on hand to do prints for the rest of my dogs, and more besides!  I am going to do the whole gaggle of hounds in the next couple of days, and see how it goes - I want to try to get a nice, crisp cut edge (you can see the flashing left around the edge of the one above).  It might be possible to make the edges look a bit nicer with a judicious bit of light sanding.

A note about drying......a lot of things I've read said that they have had problems with cracking when doing air-dry stuff.  I have a theory about this!  I've only tested this out on one project, so I could very well be off in left field, but I think the trick to keep air dry clay (of any kind, really) from cracking is to keep the entire surface drying at a more or less even rate.  

My two theories on this is to either 1) turn the project over for the underside to dry as soon as the top part is dry enough to survive light handling, and/or 2) dry projects on a cookie rack.  I haven't tried the cookie rack option yet, but I think with a combination of the two (turn over after drying a bit, and let the rest of the drying happen on a rack?), I can get pretty good results.  I don't know if it was beginners' luck, but I flipped it over after about 12 hours of drying (the underside was still pretty gooey and damp!) to let the underside dry, and so far, no cracking!

I'll post again once I've had a chance to do more experiments and let you know how I did!  

*In his defense, I woke him up from a deep sleep multiple times, and hauled him out from under his nest of warm, snuggly blankies.....I would be grumpy too if someone did that to me!  :D

No comments:

Post a Comment