Homemade Polymer Clay

    by Rachel Terry

    About the Author

    Rachel Terry has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University. She has been a freelance writer since 1998, authoring literary study guides, as well as articles and essays.


    Polymer clay, with its fine texture and bright colors, is enjoyable to work with and is ideal for a variety of craft projects. You can use polymer clay to make sculptures, beads, buttons, Christmas ornaments and more. Homemade polymer clay behaves in much the same way as commercial polymer clay, but it may shrink more. Therefore, experiment with the clay before embarking on a huge project so you know how large to make your shapes.


    To make your own homemade polymer clay, combine the following ingredients in a non-stick saucepan: 1 cup of white school glue, 1 cup of cornstarch, 2 tbs. of mineral oil and 1 tbs. of lemon juice. Stir constantly as you cook the mixture over low heat for about 10 minutes. The dough will begin to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the pot. Remove the pot from the heat, and allow the dough to cool until you can comfortably handle it. Knead the dough until it has a nice, smooth consistency.


    Homemade polymer clay is white unless you add color. To add color to your clay, you can add tempura powder to the mixture while you are cooking it. For light or pastel colors, just add a small amount of tempura powder. For bright, bold colors, add more. You can always add more powder as you stir, so start with a small amount of powder and add more as needed.


    To store homemade polymer clay, place it in an airtight container, such as a plastic food storage container or a zippered plastic bag. Place the clay in a cool, dark place. When you get the clay out to use once again, you will probably have to knead it until it is room temperature before it regains its malleability.


    Once you've made your homemade polymer clay, you can start working on projects. Use your hands and other tools, such as stamps and cookie cutters, to make pendants and bracelets, beads, dollhouse accessories, models for train sets, pen toppers, ornaments, miniature masks, buttons and more. When you have finished your project, allow it to dry at room temperature, or if you are in a hurry, dry it out in a low-temperature oven (200 degrees F). Don't allow it to stay in the oven so long that it becomes discolored.

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