Spring inspiration

Spring inspiration

Get a little creative with this simple homemade modelling dough 

Styling and photography by Sarah Heeringa

As the weather warms and the days grow longer and lighter it’s a good time to be nurturing our creative spirit. There’s something very satisfying about the feeling of soft dough between our fingers – and the simple pleasure of rolling and shaping modelling dough can help you to be in the moment and to encourage new ideas to unfurl. Whip up a batch of this two-ingredient clay and get started.

Baking soda clay

2 cups of baking soda
1 cup of cornflour
1 1/4 cups of cold water

Put the dry ingredients in a medium sized pot and add the water, mixing together using a wooden spoon till smooth. Place over medium-low heat. As the mixture warms up it will start to bubble, then quickly start to thicken. Stir the mixture constantly as it starts to clump together. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as any liquid has disappeared and the mixture resembles the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. Scrape off the sides of the pot while the mixture is still warm and turn the it onto a clean surface. As soon as the dough is cool enough to touch knead it together into a smooth ball. Now it is ready to use.

Modelling tips:

  • Baking soda clay is softer and less elastic than other clays, so rolling it out onto greaseproof paper makes it easier to handle.
  • Roll the dough out evenly and use cardboard templates to cut into the shapes you want.
  • Use leaves with strong veins (for instance puka, ladder fern and rhododendron leaves) to press shapes in the clay.
  • Lay shapes flat on a baking tray, or drape them over small bowls to support them as they dry.
  • When creating cones, cover a paper cone with greaseproof paper and put this inside the dough cone to support it as it dries.
  • Slowly air drying your creations will make them less likely to crack, so find a cool, safe place for them to dry and allow 3-4 days, depending on the thickness of the pieces. You can carefully flip pieces over as they dry to help them dry flat.
  • Once pieces are fully dry you can glue them together using PVA glue or a hot glue gun.
  • Soda dough creations can be painted or coated in a clear varnish to help protect them. Or simply leave them white.

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