Amazing Dough

 

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AKA Cornstarch Dough or Cold Porcelain Dough

About ten or twelve years ago I started using a homemade modeling dough that was sturdy and durable when air dried and required a few cheap ingredients to make. After years spent working with the well known salt dough, I was looking for something that didn’t disappear before my eyes when the weather turned humid. At the time I was living in a small maritime town and all my sculpting efforts tended to dissolve in a poodle of salty goo. I found the recipe for the cornstarch dough almost by mistake, but I tried it nonetheless, and I have been loyal to it ever since. Recently, I saw that there is a commercial cornstarch dough sold at craft stores. It is quite expensive, but if you are in a hurry, and not sure if the fumes coming from cooking the mix of cornstarch and Elmer’s glue on your stove are healthy, I suggest to go for it.

The Recipe

The Ingredients:

  1. One cup of cornstarch flour
  2. One cup of Elmer’s glue or any other brand of glue with similar characteristics
  3. One tablespoon of vegetable oil
  4. One tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar
  5. One old, no-stick pan
  6. One wooden spoon

How to do it:

Mix the ingredients in the pan and once you have a thick dough turn on the stove and cook it on medium low, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away in one single piece from the pan. Turn off the stove, remove the dough from it, put it to rest on a cold surface, wait until you can safely handle it without scalding your skin, and work it as if it were pizza dough. When you have thoroughly worked the dough and there are no lumps in it, wrap it in plastic film, and finally store it inside a plastic bag. Remember, the cornstarch dough dries completely if exposed to the air and it becomes hard as porcelain. You can mix drop of food coloring, or acrylic paint, with the freshly prepared batch to obtain colored dough. I personally prefer painting the dough after a piece is done.

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A final, important note: clean the pan and the wooden spoon immediately after you have used them and store them away. Do not use them for cooking food.

Other places where I talk about Cold Porcelain and its awesomeness:

Author Gabriela Popa has a blog where guests talk about anything but writing, and this is my humble contribution.

Here is a lens about cold porcelain I created for Squidoo.

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17 Responses to Amazing Dough

  1. Maria E. Rossell says:

    Hi Monica,

    This recipe you present here looks amazing to me. Thanks so much for it. Seeing these little bundles of flowers helpe to inspire yiu to make other things with the dough. If youb ever plan to teach a class to make this dough and do things
    objects with it…ley me know. Thank you. Hugs Maru

  2. cris says:

    ma sono bellissime! perfette! bravissima!!

  3. Pingback: Cold Porcelain: A Hot Affair « SoupAndNuts

  4. Monica I tried another recioe for the cold porcelain that does not require cooking & it workd well but I am going to try this as well it seems like it would be more workable

  5. Hi, Jacqueline, would you mind sharing that recipe? And let me know what do you think of mine once you try it. Thanks :)

  6. Serena says:

    I have worked with salt dough, but never this clay, so thanks for sharing your feelings on it. I do have a question – Is it true that unless you varnish your finished project, water will destroy your work? I read/heard that somewhere and wanted to hear what you have to say about it. Also, I have heard that if you dye your clay with acrylic paints, certain colors won’t show up unless you add a ton of paint, which then will alter the texture of your clay.

    • One final comment regarding the difference between salt dough and cold porcelain. Salt dough is a great medium for kids’ projects: it is not expensive and is easy and fast to make. The only problem is that it doesn’t last long, especially if you live in humid places. I switched to cold porcelain because I used to live by the sea and my pieces, even when perfectly sealed crumbled before my eyes. Cold porcelain is sturdier, I have pieces I made fifteen years ago that only need to be dusted once in a while. Cold porcelain can be colored by adding acrylic to the dough–although I prefer painting the piece once it is dry–and the quality of the obtained shade is normally satisfying.
      If you have any other question, feel free to ask me. I could talk about this craft forever :)

  7. serenalee98498501 says:

    I have used salt dough, but never cold porcelain clay, so thanks for sharing your thoughts on this dough. A couple of comments. I have read/heard that unless you varnish your finished project, water will destroy it. And if you’re using acrylic paints to dye your clay, some colors will require a lot of paint before the clay is the right color, which causes the clay’s texture to change.

    • Hi, Serena, thanks for stopping by and comment. I used salt dough myself at the very beginning. And yes, regarding any mixture of salt and flour it is true that the finished object must be sealed. Otherwise the salt in the clay will react to the humidity in the air. If you live in a dry area, your salt dough objects will last a long time. And yes, it is also true that large amounts of color will alter the texture of the dough.

      • Thanks for your reply, but I was talking about this recipe you have for cold porcelain clay. I have never worked with it, but I have heard of these problems with this particular clay. Sorry for confusing you with my questions!

      • The only problems I ever had with cold porcelain were related to the glue. Not all the white glues react the same way. Some of them make the dough shrink when dry. Once or twice, the dough cracked when drying, but I could salvage the pieces by adding dough to the cracks. Not sure why it happened, but I strongly believe it was the glue even in that case. I usually seal the pieces because I like to paint them after I sculpt them, and I alternate between glossy and matte finish depending on the look I want to achieve.

      • serenalee98498501 says:

        Very interesting regarding the glue. Thanks for sharing that tidbit.

        BTW, I’ve also heard that if you dye the clay with white acrylic paint, that it tries to a porcelain-like finish. I guess that’s why it’s called cold porcelain clay?

      • I never dyed the dough with white acrylic color, but what you say makes sense. In my experience, different glues give the final piece either a matte finish or a translucent white finish. Dough made with Elmer’s glue dries into a beautiful ivory/white matte finish.

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