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Craft Recipes

Craft materials from the kitchen
Craft Recipes Friday Fun

Modeling Dough Recipe

Lots of doughy fun!
Modeling dough: flower, beads, animals
What you will make:

This is a simple modeling dough that can be made in less than 15 minutes. If you don't have all the ingredients on hand, that's no problem! You can make it with just flour, salt and water. The vegetable oil is added to make the dough easier to work, and the alum acts as a preservative. Both of these ingredients are optional.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of a very pliable dough. It is easy to work into shapes that can be air-dried and painted. Or, you can use the modeling dough time and time again as a play dough, if you are careful to store it in a sealed plastic bag or container between uses.

Related crafts: Use the modeling dough to make some fun and fanciful Pencil Toppers or imaginative Refrigerator Magnets or Christmas Ornaments, Magnets and Figurines. You can even use it to make turkey playing pieces for the game of Turkey Trot.

Caution: Recipe uses boiling water. Adult supervision is required!

Here's what you need:
  • ½ cup (130 grams) salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup (100 to 125 grams) flour, white or unbleached
  • ½ cup (120 ml) boiling water
  • 1½ teaspoons (7 grams) powdered alum (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons (7 ml) vegetable oil (optional)
  • Optional: Food coloring, clear nail polish or varnish, acrylic paint

This recipe is rated EASY to make.

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Before you start
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

How to Make Homemade Modeling Dough

Read all of the directions before starting.
  1. Combine flour, salt, and alum in a mixing bowl. Start with the smaller amount of flour, and add more if needed.
  2. Add vegetable oil and boiling water. Stir with a spoon until the dough is well blended and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour or water if needed. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it with your hands until it is smooth. This should only take a minute or two.
  3. If you want colors of dough other than white, separate the dough into two or three balls. Flatten the ball and make a well in the center. Add 2 or more drops of food coloring to the well—2 drops for a pastel color, more for deeper colors. Knead the dough until the color is even.
    Tip: Some food colorings, particularly certain blues, make unexpected colors due to a reaction to the alum. Test a drop of the food coloring on a tiny ball of dough the first time you use it.
  4. Store your finished modeling dough in an airtight plastic bag or container. It will keep for weeks if stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to let it warm to room temperature before using.
  5. To use it: Pinch off as much dough as you need to make your shape, and leave the rest in the sealed container. Work the dough into any desired shape with your hands or just about any kitchen utensil.

    When you have finished molding your shape, put it on a piece of waxed paper to dry. It should dry in about 24 hours to a hard finish. Pieces may be left plain, or can be painted to add durability. Small pieces can be painted with nail polish, while you will want to use varnish or an acrylic sealant like Mod Podge for larger pieces.

    The pictured shamrock is made with three small balls of green dough that are flattened with a pinch of your thumb and index finger. One side of each flattened ball is squeezed to a point to make a petal shape. The three petals are pressed together along with a stem. A dab of water can be used to glue the pieces together.

    That's it! What will you sculpt with the modeling clay?
    Modeling dough: flower, beads, animals

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