Today, I’m so glad to welcome Louise as she shares a beautiful post about White Clay Butterfly Garland with us! A wonderful addition to all of the butterfly activities we’ve been doing this week. Well this is exciting… my first guest post! Hi, I’m Louise from Building Blocks and Acorns and I’m so happy to be able to share with you this White Clay Butterfly Garland. I can’t take the credit… my 19 month old boy did most of the work. It’s THAT easy! Homemade White Clay Recipe Ingredients (makes approximately 12 butterflies)
2 cups Baking soda
1 cup Corn starch 1 1/2 cups Warm water Method Start off by putting the baking soda and corn starch into a pot and mixing them up. Then, add the warm water and stir it through; it has the appearance of milk at this stage. Continue to mix the ingredients together, over a medium heat. Give it a good stir as it changes from the milky-appearance, to that of toothpaste and sticky mashed potato (not very poetic, but at least you know what I mean!!!)
After a few minutes of warming the mixture, it will continue to dry until it resembles a slightly sticky white play dough. At this stage, you’ll need to take the clay mixture off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t worry if it starts to dry in areas; this will change once you start to handle the dough. Once it has cooled enough to be handled safely, knead and squish the mixture. This is the point where I brought my little boy into the proceedings (he is known as ‘Darth’ on my blog, thanks to my husbands’ love of all things star-wars!)
‘Darth’ got straight to it and did all of the work for me, simply by playing with the dough… we had plenty of white sparkly glitter on the table, which mixed in beautifully as he played. ‘Darth’ did get VERY glittery, but as you can see he had lots of fun! Making the Butterfly Garland ‘Darth’ helped to roll out the dough and I showed him how to cut out a butterfly shape, using a cookie-cutter. I gave him his own mini roller from a play dough set we have, but he preferred to use mine! The mixture was like rolling out icing for a cake and you will definitely need to put down some grease-proof paper underneath, as it sticks very easily. You could pop down a little plain flour, to stop it sticking to the surface, too.
The only thing I needed to help ‘Darth’ with, was lifting up the cut butterfly shapes. I placed them onto a baking tray with greaseproof paper on it. It was at this point that I decided the butterflies needing just a little something… it would have spoilt the gorgeous glittery simplicity of the decorations to paint them (although once dried, they can be painted if you want!) So we went out to our herb plants in our front garden and collected a few leaves, to do some sensory leaf-printing. The herbs filled the kitchen a gorgeous scent and added a beautiful natural pattern, when rolled lightly with the back of the leaf on the white clay.
Then, we used a straw to create threading-holes on either side. If you would like to create hanging decorations instead, just make one hold in the top center!
Once they were all done, we popped them in the oven and cooked them at 230 degrees F for 50 minutes. These were about 1/2″ thick. Alternatively, you can leave them to air dry for a few days but I was just so excited to see them dried! If you’re making them a similar thickness, I’d recommend taking the tray out of the oven after around 40 minutes, to turn the butterflies over, to let the under-sides dry out, before finishing off the ‘cooking’ time. Once they were cooled, I threaded ribbon through five of the butterflies to make a small garland to go on a shelf in our house. They’d also make a beautiful gift for Mother’s day, a birthday or even wedding! I just love how the details of the leaf-prints showed up even more once they were dried, too!
Louise is a Primary school teacher in North Yorkshire, UK, where she now teaches part time to be able to also look after her little boy, known on the blog as ‘Darth.’ She loves sharing the activities that she does on her days off and has a particular emphasis on open-ended, sensory and imaginative play, often using natural materials (and getting very messy!) You can ‘like’ Building Blocks and Acorns on Facebook by clicking here.