Hands up if you are always shocked to see the Christmas stuff in the shops already *waves hand furiously in the air*. I’m not sure if the retailers actually do start putting their Christmas stuff out earlier, or if it is just that the years always seem to fly by so I get taken by surprise each time. Either way, come October, my thoughts always turn towards what Christmas crafts I would like to make this year. I always like to make a few new ones each year.
Recently my Mum showed me cold porcelain – it’s not actually porcelain, but the dough is fine to work with, and dries hard and white. Best of all, it is super easy to make and dries super hard. I thought it would be perfect to try making some tree ornaments.
The dough does dry fairly quickly so you need to have everything ready before you start mixing. You can pop it into a snap lock bag to store it for a while.
You will need:
1 1/2 c Cornflour (It works best with actual cornflour not wheaten cornflour) + a bit extra
1c PVA glue (sometime called elmer glue or school glue – it’s white but dries clear)
Paddle Pop stick (or similar)
Old container – don’t use something good, as once the dough dries you will never be able to get it all off – I used a large ice cream container
Twine and sharp pencils to decorate
1. In a large container add the cornflour followed by the glue.
2. Use the paddle pop stick to mix the dough together. It should mix fairly easily.
3. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, sprinkle some more cornflour onto a sheet of baking paper and turn the dough on to it.
4. Lather your hands generously with the hand cream and knead the dough until it is smooth (this will help the dough to stick less to your hands).
5. Keep adding a little more cornflour until the dough is smooth, satiny, and no longer sticky.
6. Divide the dough in half and place one half in a snap lock bag.
7. Place the remaining dough into the center of the baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top of the dough and roll until about 5mm thick.
8. Work quickly to punch out the decorations using biscuit cutters. I used letter punches to press the words into the dough, but you need to do this very quickly as the surface dries fast.
9. Use a straw to cut small holes for the twine
10. Place the cut dough onto a tray also lined with baking paper and allow to air dry for 48 hours or until completely hard.
11. Use twine to hang the decorations from.You can draw designs straight onto the hard clay with a pencil.
Here are a few tips I learnt during the process:
– dip the biscuit cutters into a little cornflour before cutting to make sure that the dough doesn’t stick or warp.
– the dough looks slightly translucent when it is set. You can make it more opaque or coloured by adding paint or whitener (like used in cake decorating).
– Turn the ornaments over after 24 hours to help them dry.
– I used our metal punches to press letters into some of the shapes. You need to press the punches in very quickly once the dough is rolled because it starts to dry and the letters won’t be deep or clear.
– Don’t use any equipment you really love, because once the dough dries, it is rock hard and will be stuck there forever (which is why I used an old icecream container).
So tell me, does Christmas really start earlier every year, or does it just seem that way? Have you used cold porcelain before?