Bread Clay Project for Kids and Crafters
Bread Clay, Make It From 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 aliens. My children have made all these and loved the process as well as the finished product.
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 alien's legs and arms
Bread Without CrustClick thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Mix Bread 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.
MixClick thumbnail to view full-size
Do your children love clay?
Step 2. Color the Clay
Divide the dough into desired portions for colors. I like to divide the dough into about 5 or 6 portions for color. If you want white, leave the clay alone. It will dry off-white. Add a drop or two of tempera paint (or other paint) to each lump and knead till the color is uniform 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 a bread mold.
Step 3. Separate and Bag
Separate the colored clay and roll little balls the size of large marbles, keeping them in a plastic bag.
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.
I find that one loaf of white bread will make enough for two projects each for 20 to 22 students.
Step 4: Glue Legs
You will need four pieces of pipe cleaner about 4 inches long each just as for the bugs. Cut the pipe cleaners to the right length with scissors. Now pull three 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 two of the pipe cleaners on top of the glue, put more glue and then one other cookie on top of the pipe cleaner-legs. Put a little glue onto this sandwich, place the other two pipe cleaners on top of the glue, more glue on top of them and place the third cookie over this. Squish down a little on your double decker sandwich. And what you have made is an alien bug-leg sandwich. The legs should be sticking out both sides of the sandwich in a cross formation.
Alien Legs and ArmsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Step 5. Hands and Feet
Now pull out one more marble of clay, any color you like for the upper body of the Alien. This is the piece that the arms will be sticking out of. Place one more pipe cleaner piece onto the back of the sandwich with glue. Break the clay piece in half and roll the two pieces into two round shapes, then squash one flat and glue to the back of your sandwich over the pipe cleaner arms. With the second round shape, break off small pieces and make 10 very small pea-shaped marbles with them. Glue each one onto the ends of the pipe cleaners for feet and hands. They can be squished flat or left round as desired. Make sure to use a dot of glue with each one.
Bread Clay Works Like Polymer Clay But Don't Bake It
Alien Head and Eyes
STEP 6. Head
For the head of your Alien, you must think about the kind of Alien you want to make. We are making it up so they can be as different as your imagination or can be just like some bug heads. Bugs come with all different kinds of 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 directly onto the body sandwich near the middle or glue another small pipe cleaner to the center of the body for a neck and glue the head to that.
I gave a couple of mine long necks and then curled the neck around a pencil to give it spring look before gluing the head to it. I did the same for some of my arms too.
STEP 7. Eyes and Details
Now you may want eyes for your Alien. Pull out another ball of clay and pinch off little pieces to roll into balls for the eyes. You can add one, two, or even three eyes. Glue them onto the head of your Alien. With the clay that is left, you can make extra details, like dots or a stinger, etc. With an extra pipe cleaner or wire, add antennae if you like.
Bend Legs Only After It Is Dry
STEP 8. For Aliens, Dry
Totally otherworldly Alien: it must dry untouched for a day (or overnight). You can’t play with it or bend the legs or arms 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, bend the arms and let it hold your pencil on your desk. Everyone will think you are really creative and weird.
You can spray your finished project with varnish if you like but it doesn’t need it. I like to paint on Diamond Glaze for a glassy look when the clay is completely dry, but again it doesn’t need it. The hardened bread will stay nice for years. Don’t allow it to get immersed in water.
You can make little angels using the Fimo face molds or any number of other projects. Don’t allow the projects to be too thick or the clay will take longer to dry and may even crack slightly. Have fun creating.