I love doing clay projects with my students. We have never had a kiln at one of my schools and I was told it is not possible because of fire insurance.
Because we have over 1,000 students, I use a clay from Laguna Clay called Mexal or Mexico White. It is an air dry clay that has a similar texture and hardness of kiln fired. I get it from Freeform Clay in National City. It can be delivered to your site or you can order it and then pick it up from their warehouse.
Once it dries, we use Jazz Gloss Tempera to paint them because that paint has a similar look to kiln fired glaze. To seal them you can use an acrylic spray.
Kindergarten necklaces are here.
Grade one plant plaques are here.
Grade two suns are here.
Grade three pinch pots are here
Grade four wall pockets are here
Grade five colonial houses are here
In my after school classes which are small, I have done some DIY Cold Porcelain. Those sculptures are always done on a small scale. Here is a unicorn on a marbled paper backdrop and some lovely mermaids.
I just did some bread dough lids with a few after school students. I have been making these since I was a child. I think my mom got the idea from Dough it Yourself the Morton Salt recipe book from the 70’s.
These sculptures are done on the tops of metal lidded glass jars. A great way to re-purpose an old jam or pickle jar! The lids must be metal so they can be baked in the oven at a low temp.
Here are the recipes I have used for different clay projects:
Cold Porcelain (The mermaid and unicorn are from this clay)
1 cup of cornstarch, 1 cup of white glue, 2 Tbsp of baby oil, and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice.
Cook on stove until until it holds together and pulls away from pan sides or microwave at 15-second intervals, stirring between each one. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes until it cools. Wrap it tightly and let it rest for 24 hours.
Bread Dough-(Jar lids were done with this)
1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water. Mix well. Create items, air dry over several days or bake at 250 degrees F until dough is hard.
White Baking Soda Dough: (Not pictured but makes great cut out ornaments)
1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 cup baking soda, 3/4 cup water
Pour all ingredients into a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring consistently. When mixture has thickened and looks like mashed potatoes, remove from saucepan. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel. Let rest 30 minutes, until dough is cool enough to work with. Knead dough thoroughly to get out any air bubbles. Roll out dough 1/4″ thick.
Cut out your shapes and or stamp with an image. If dough begins to crack and dry, wrap in a damp towel and microwave 10- 15 seconds. This should make the dough moist and make it workable again.
When complete, bake at 175 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Then flip over and bake an additional 45-60 minutes, or until all ornaments are hard. Cool completely and spray with a clear protective coating.
Apple Cinnamon Dough (Love to make this as package ties for gifts. They smell so good)
2 cups of unsweetened applesauce, 2 cups of cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon White Glue
Mix well. Sprinkle counter top with cinnamon, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters, and place ornaments on a baking sheet. Can air dry over several days or oven dry in a 200° F oven for about 2-2.5 hours. Can also sand rough edges after they dry.
Kool-Aid Playdough (A fun dough to make for young children. Smells great and the colors don’t come off on your hands)
1 Cup Flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 Envelope Unsweetened Kool-Aid, 2 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. oil
Mix first 4 ingredients in medium saucepan until blended. Stir in water and oil. Cook on medium heat 5 min. or until mixture forms ball, stirring frequently. Cool before using.