Gluten-Free Play Clay Beads
By Jessica Wilson
Working with kids, I need to have a lot of tricks up my sleeve for those “I’m bored” moments. One of the best remedies for boredom is whipping up a batch of homemade play dough. I have oodles of recipes kicking about in my head; this one is gluten-free and easy to make. The best part is its capacity to be shaped into an awesome assortment of beads and baubles. Let’s get to it!
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup table salt
1 cup water
Toothpicks, pencil, or a knitting needle
Paint and brushes
Yarn or string
Step 1: Mix cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and water in your saucepan and place onto your burner. On low heat, stir until the mixture thickens to the texture of mashed potatoes. It will gather in the center of the pan. This happens quickly, so make sure you stand there and stir.
Step 2: Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and separate it into 4 clumps. The dough will be hot, so make sure an adult does this part.
Step 3: Shape your clumps into 4 balls, and flatten. Allow them to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4: Play with the dough! It will have formed a slight crust to it while cooling. The more you handle it, the smoother it will get. To make round beads, roll the dough between your palms. Use a toothpick to create a hole in the center. Simply poke and pull through.
Step 5: To make larger beads, make larger balls and use a sharpened pencil or knitting needle to make the holes. If the dough feels tacky and you are having some stick issues, spray your pencil or needle with a little bit of cooking spray.
Step 6: To make cylindrical beads, roll a portion of dough into a rope shape and cut with scissors. Use a toothpick for the holes.
Step 7: Place your beads on a tray or cookie sheet and set them out in a sunny place to dry overnight. If your children are feeling antsy, you can bake the larger beads in an oven at low heat (200° F) for an hour. Check on the beads every 15 minutes. The larger the bead, the longer it will take to harden. Allow to cool.
Smaller beads do not fare well in the oven, as they puff up and the holes close. You may set smaller beads out in the sun to harden for up to 2 days.
Step 8: Paint your beads with acrylic or poster paints. You can use permanent markers as well if you like. Set aside to dry.
Step 9: Thread your beads onto your string and knot for an awesome handmade necklace, bracelet, or bead string!
About the Author:
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as ‘jek in the box’ and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can most often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.