Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In the Art Room: Salt Dough Sunflowers!

Here's a way to introduce your kiddos to clay even if you don't have a kiln: Salt Dough Clay! Last summer, when I was writing my book Clay Lab for Kids, I had to come up with kid-friendly clay recipes. You see, the book is divided into three parts: projects created with air dry clays available at craft stores; polymer clay projects and clay projects created with homemade clays. There are several clay recipes in my book (including an edible clay!) and this salt dough clay is one of my favorites. Here's how to make it and create a Salt Dough Sunflower (a project not found in my book, just for you!):
Here's the recipe which would be enough clay to create a half dozen flowers:
(Allergy warning! If you are allergic to gluten, this is not the project for you.)

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup salt
* 3/4 cup water

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Dump out ingredients onto wax paper or plastic and continue to knead until a soft dough forms. When creating, be sure to work on a plastic covered surface as this stuff is sticky! Also, when making this flower, use a styrofoam bowl or a bowl covered in plastic wrap so that the flower pops out easily when dry. 

Also, any clay not used, simply wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for later use. 
I placed my flower in front of a fan to dry overnight. Just so you know: this is a dough so it will rise a bit! Don't be surprised if your flower looks a little fluffy once dry. 

Salt dough can also be cured by baking in the oven at 200. Keep an eye on it as the goal is simply to dry it out, not burn it. I have cooked mine for 15-30 minutes depending on the dampness of the clay. 

I painted my flower with acrylic paint but tempra could also be used. Be sure to cover with a coat of ModPodge to insure that it will not break. 
If you don't subscribe already, I update my YouTube channel with videos like this and all things art teachery pretty frequently. You are always welcome to use my videos and lessons...I just always appreciate a shout out. 

In other news, I'll be presenting at Art Ed NOW on August 3rd on...you guessed it, all things clay! I'll be sharing a TON of no-kiln clay projects for the elementary and middle school set. 

And if you've picked up my clay book and you have a spare moment, a review here would be so very much appreciated. Thank you so much, y'all!

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  1. how soon do you need to use the clay after you make it?

    1. I used mine immediately. But you could make it the night before, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until needed :)

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  3. I keep it in plastic containers in the fridge. It's lasted at least a month. It might get a little sticky. Just roll it in flour and it's good to go.

  4. I bake it in the oven at 200 for an hour.
    I always Add glue to tempera paint to prevent cracking and chipping off. Love acrylic on salt dough. Flowers are adorable Cassie!

    1. Great idea about the glue!! Especially with tempera paint. Thanks, Desiree!

    2. Anonymous8/12/2018

      You bake the flower to dry before painting it correct? Or bake after painting to seal?

  5. Hi! I asked my school librarian to order your book so I am super excited to see it in the fall! One question, do you know if baking the dough would help prevent mold and mildew? I live in the Caribbean so it is VERY humid and unfortunately my classroom is not air conditioned. I would love to use this but wouldn't want them growing real stuff on them once they were done, hah!

    1. Hey there! I would DEF bake the clay if I were in a humid climate...I did so here in TN because our summers are so sticky. That will speed up the drying time and prevent any funky mold or mildew. I hope you like the book!

  6. Thanks for your post!
    I believe there are many who feel the same satisfaction as I read this article!
    I hope you will continue to have such articles to share with everyone!



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