Crafting With Homemade White Clay- Recipe- Gluten Free Alternative to Salt Dough

 photo IMG_2492_zpsec748903.jpgI first heard of white clay from a friend on a local frugal forum, and now that the holiday season is here, I decided to try it out. If you've ever heard of salt dough, it's a homemade, solidly drying craft medium, completely non toxic, that can be used as an alternative to store bought air drying or oven drying clay, and while I've had good experiences in the past with it, as someone whose house is completely gluten free and doesn't want to have to worry about gluten contamination in her kitchen, salt dough isn't an option for us anymore.
Therefore, I was excited about this white clay recipe, which essentially is the same basic idea- a "clay" (more like play dough, actually) that air or oven dries into something hard, which can then be pained, which can then be used for all sorts of beneficial purposes.
Or it can just be done as a fun, creative craft, as an outlet. It doesn't actually need to be practical... but I like the permanence of this, and that it easily can be practical.

If you're still unsure of what to give your loved ones for the holidays, and are open to the idea of hand crafted gifts, you can use this white clay (or salt dough) to make some great gifts. Examples are picture frames, pendants, necklaces, magnets, decorative bowls and plates, sculptures, or hand prints. You can also make ornaments or candle holders, whether for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Diwali, Solstice celebrations, etc...
I am sure creative people can come up with even more amazing ideas to do with white clay and dough- the options are limitless.

Here's how to make your homemade white clay- with only three ingredients- water, baking soda, and corn starch or potato starch. I buy my baking soda in bulk super cheap so this really keeps down the cost of this tremendously. I did find my white clay to be a drop wetter than I wanted, so I ended up mixing it with a lot of baking soda to make it less sticky, so I suggest using less water instead of more, to hopefully make it less sticky. But again, if it is sticky, just mix it with as much baking soda as necessary to get it perfect.

Crafting With Homemade White Clay- Recipe- Gluten Free Alternative to Salt Dough

1 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of corn starch or potato starch
Scant 3/4 cup of warm water.

1. Mix the ingredients together in a pot and whisk well to ensure there are no clumps.

2. Heat up the mixture on the stove, stirring constantly. At first, you'll see nothing, and then you'll see it start to bubble up and you'll be sure something is very wrong, like you couldn't possibly have the right proportions, because it isn't thick at all, and instead seems like something you'd expect to be pouring out of a paper mache volcano... but don't worry, just keep mixing.

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 2. Eventually you'll start to notice it thickening a little bit, in clumps. That's great. Keep stirring.

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3. Keep mixing and cooking it until it all clumps up in the middle like this, and pulls away from the sides. There will be stuff stuck on to the sides and bottom of the pot. Like really stuck. No need to worry- a soak with warm water and it'll all come off easily.

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 4. Take the dough out of the pot, put it on a plate, and then let it cool off. It should thicken somewhat as it cools.

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5. After it cools off and comes to room temperature, you'll notice that its getting drier and harder around the outside, like a crust. That's totally fine- just knead it in,

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6. If you need to, mix in more baking soda to make it less sticky. I might have actually used another half cup or more even.

Now start creating!

Rolling it out into a snake works...

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Also using a rolling pin with it works...

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It is not that easy to pick up once it is formed, so I suggest making any creations directly onto baking paper, so that it can be picked up and easily moved onto an oven tray.

I used a cookie cutter to make these little girls...

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And just made a hand print in a ball flattened with a rolling pin.

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7. Supposedly just leaving it out on the counter/table to dry works... I didn't try that. I dried mine in the oven, on a low setting. I made some thicker items as well (not shown) and they took a long time to dry- at least 8 hours on the low setting in my oven.
Note- the dough may discolor after drying. That's fine, since you'll be painting it.

8. Now have fun with your paints!

I used regular gauche paints for mine. Any kind of paint will do. You can also decorate this with glitter, even embedding the glitter into the dough. You can feel free to press stones and/or shells into the dough for decorative purposes as well before drying it.

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If you want to use these items as jewelry, you can try painting them with clear (or colored) nail polish after to give them a shine.


Have you ever used salt dough or white clay? What was your experience like? What did you make with it? Did you or your kids have fun with it? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Frugal and fun - thank you!

    I don't think I've ever commented before, but I just wanted to let you know I think your blog is great. Your ideas are creative and very helpful for families stretching their resources to the limit. Keep it up!

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