Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Crafter’s Way 230–Bread Clay

I have recently been frustrated by not being able to find the perfect beads and pendants for a project I have planned. After many hours of fruitless searching I decided I would make my own. Initially I planned to use salt dough but distant memories of burnt salt dough haunted me. Then I remembered a recipe a volunteer shared with me after one too many burnt batches of salt dough when I was working in Disability.

For the basic clay you will need: 1 slice of white bread (the staler the better), white glue, acrylic paint, plastic container for mixing, ice cream stick or something similar for mixing, baking paper, clip lock bags.

Step 1: Remove the crust from the bread. Tear up into small, airy pieces. Place in the container.

Step 2: Add approx 1 tablespoon acrylic paint.


Step 3: Add 1 tablespoon white glue. If you are not good at guessing I encourage you to measure this accurately. Once you have done it a couple of times you will be able to do it my sight.

Step 4: Using the ice cream stick start to mix the ingredients together.

Step 5: Tear off a sheet of baking paper. Tip the mixed ingredients into your hand and start kneading. Keep kneading until the mixture feel like dough.

Step 6: By this time your hands are well and truly coloured. Don’t worry too much about this. One way to check if the clay is ready to use is to rub your hands firmly together. If the colour comes off your hands fairly easily your clay is ready to use. Gather up the bits that fell off your hands and knead in. the rest of the colour will wash off.

Step 7: Place the clay in a clip lock bag until ready to use.

To make the pendants:

Step 8: Pull off a small piece of clay. Flatten on the baking paper.


Step 9: Using biscuit cutter, or any other shaping tool, punch out your chosen shape. For the rectangular pieces I flattened the used a metal ruler to cut the clay.

Step 10: Using a skewer I poked a hole for threading.


Step 11: Leave to dry on the baking paper until it is firm and ‘clunks’ when gently dropped.

Step 12: When dry, seal with varnish. The more coats the glossier it gets. If you wish to embellish with paint or glitter add before varnishing.

The clay can be used the same way as you would use fimo etc; it will support a sculptural piece and colours can be mixed. It doesn’t need cooking in the oven. The clay is air dryed. The length of time necessary will depend on the humidity and the thickness of your piece. I have seen slight variations on this recipe including adding moisturizer or dishwashing liquid. In my experience I have found neither addition add nor detract from the finished clay. I had left over clay which I stored in the fridge for a week. After allowing the clay to return to room temperature it was as pliable as the first use.

I promise to add a 'finished’ image soon. The original shots were dreadful.

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