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Bread Clay Bugs For Kids Projects

Updated on July 26, 2019
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise homeschooled her 4 children and has stories. She provided art lessons for many children in the homeschool community for many years.

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These crabs aren't necessarily bugs but the process is the same.
Source
These crabs aren't necessarily bugs but the process is the same.
These crabs aren't necessarily bugs but the process is the same. | Source

Made From White Bread

There are so many natural things that can be made into some craft or another. Clay is one of those things. Clay is such fun to experience and create with. It has been around for thousands of years in several forms. Clay can be made from river mud then baked to make ceramic glass; clay can be made with wet paper and can be used for sculptures when it is dry. In Japan, there is a clay made from rice.

However, the clay I am giving the recipe for today is made of bread. Yes, bread! White bread, to be exact, mixed with regular white glue. Mixing the clay may require some help from a parent or older sibling, but once the clay is made, children need no help to create all kinds of things. The clay is simple and economical, fun to make, perfect for the kids.

I have directions for creepy bugs. My children have made these and loved the process as well as the finished product.

Another crab
Another crab | Source

You Will Need

  • a bowl for mixing
  • 2 tablespoons white glue
  • 2 slices white bread
  • tempera paint, or watercolor paint, or acrylic paint
  • plastic bags
  • pipe cleaners for bugs and crabs

Lobster
Lobster | Source

Step 1. Mix Clay

Break up the bread into a bowl and pour the glue on top. Knead the bread with your hands. The dough will be very sticky at first and will almost look as if you have done something wrong. Keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth and sticks together more. You will have to clean off your hands periodically to keep the dough from continuing to stick to them. The lump will eventually look smooth and elastic. If it appears dry and crumbly, add more glue. If it appears too sticky add another slice of bread. The clay is ready when it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore and forms a doughy ball.

Do your children like to play with clay?

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My Bug construction illustration
My Bug construction illustration | Source

Step 2. Color The Clay

Divide the dough into equal portions for as many colors as you want. I like to divide the dough into about 5 or 6 portions for color. If you want white, leave the clay plain. It will dry off-white. Add a drop or two of tempera paint to each lump and knead till the color is mixed throughout. Sometimes I like that variegated look, so I mix the color only slightly with the bread so that I have swirls of color with swirls of white bread. Store in plastic bags. Outside of the bag, the clay will begin to dry right away and will be completely dry overnight (depending upon the thickness of the project). This dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week before developing bread mold.

Step 3. Separate and Bag

Roll the dough into small marble-sized balls in each color. The dough can be formed into anything small that you would use the Fimo clay (sold in stores) for. The Fimo face molds work very well with this clay also. The colors that you mix into the clay will appear much darker after drying because the glue dries clear and allows the true color to show through.

Cut three pipe cleaner lengths for legs
Cut three pipe cleaner lengths for legs | Source

Step 4. Glue Legs

You will need three pieces of pipe cleaner about 4 inches long each. Cut the pipe cleaners to the right length with scissors. Now pull two of the colored marbles out of your plastic bag. Squash the balls of clay into little cookies. Don’t make them so flat that they are tortillas. Then put a little glue onto one of the cookies, place all the pipe cleaners on top of the glue, put more glue and then the other cookie on top of the pipe cleaner-legs. And what you have made is a bug-leg sandwich. The legs should be sticking out both sides of the sandwich.

Bug Wings applied
Bug Wings applied | Source

STEP 5. Bug Wings

Now pull out one more marble of clay, any color you like for the wings of your bug. All true bugs have wings. Break it into two pieces. Roll the two pieces into two caterpillar shapes, then squash them flat and glue the two flat caterpillars to the back of your sandwich. They should look like wings, flailing out the opposite direction or perpendicular to the legs.

Bug head
Bug head | Source

STEP 6. Bug Head

For the head, you must think about the kind of bug you want to make. Bugs come with all different kinds of heads. Some have big bodies with small heads; some have small bodies with big heads. Some have a horn, like the Rhinoceros beetle. Some have pinchers for a mouth, like the Hercules beetle. Some have a long curly mouth/proboscis like the butterfly or the mosquito. Whatever you decide, shape the head and glue it onto the bug-leg sandwich near the top of the wings.

Add balls on the antenna and claws for lobsters
Add balls on the antenna and claws for lobsters | Source
Draw on some bug eyes when dry with a Sharpie
Draw on some bug eyes when dry with a Sharpie | Source
Bend the legs only when the bugs are completely dry.
Bend the legs only when the bugs are completely dry. | Source

STEP 7. Details

Now you will need eyes balls for your bug. Pull out another ball of clay and pinch off little pieces to roll into balls for the eyes. Then glue them onto the head of your bug. With the clay that is left, you can make extra details, like dots on your wings or a stinger, etc. With an extra pipe cleaner or wire, add antennae too.

STEP 8. Dry

There it is, the bug must dry untouched for a day (or overnight). You can’t play with it or bend the legs until it is completely dry or it will begin to crumble and then it will be ruined. When it is dry, bend the legs, add a magnet to the underside and attach it to the refrigerator to scare Mom. Everyone will think you have really big bugs in your house. Totally gross.

Glaze with Diamond Glaze or clear fingernail polish.
Glaze with Diamond Glaze or clear fingernail polish. | Source

Final Thoughts

Do you think this would be a fun project for your children or students? Let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions or thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.


Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      4 months ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Crampton,

      Did you use to play with your bread as a child as I did? I knew as an 8-year old that bread made a cool pasty dough if you squish it together. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This project sounds like it would be great fun. I think that many children would enjoy making clay creatures from bread. Thanks for sharing the instructions, Denise.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Robie Benve,

      Yes, they would make wonderful tarantulas. Just add 4 pipe cleaner lengths instead of three in the body sandwich and they would have 8 legs. I'd love to see the creations you come up with in the end. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      OMG, my daughter loves spiders and keeps asking for a pet tarantula, and I say over my dead body, lol. I think this could be a great activity for her, and we could make some very precious and cute little friends. Thanks for sharing!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you, Eric. My kids loved doing this project and I used to do it with grammar schools as well. The boys especially thought it fun. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very fun project. Thank you.

    working

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