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Bread Clay Project for Kids and Crafters

Updated on July 19, 2015
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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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, bugs, and flowers. 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 bugs and aliens

Bread without crust

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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.

Mix

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Do your children love clay?

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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 over night (depending upon the thickness of the project). This dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week before developing bread mold.

Aliens

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.

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Legs

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Step 4: For Aliens, 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.

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Step 4. For Flowers, flatten disc

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. You can shape them into heart shapes or leave them round discs. This is what you will glue your roses onto.

Bugs legs

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Step 4: For Bugs, 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.

Alien legs and arms

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Step 5. For Aliens, 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.

Rolled Tortilla

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STEP 5. For Flowers, tortilla flower

Now pull out one more marble of clay, any color you like for the flowers. Break it into two pieces. Roll the two pieces into two caterpillar shapes, then squash them flat. Roll them up like rolling up a tortilla before your eat it. It should look like a spiral rose bud. Now pinch off the bottom half of the bud and glue it onto one of the discs. Do the same thing with the other flat caterpillar shape. And with the leftover pieces make a third rosebud and glue them all onto one of the discs.

Bug wings

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STEP 5. For Bugs, 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, you know. 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, going the opposite direction to the legs.

Bread clay works like Polymer Clay but don't bake.

Alien head and eyes

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STEP 6. For Aliens, 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.

Flower petals

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More flowers

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STEP 6. For Flowers, leaves

For the leaves, pull out a green marble from the bag. Pinch off a tiny piece and roll it between two fingers until you have a football shape. Then squash the football and it should look like a leaf shape. Press it against a real fresh leaf from off of a tree and it will have natural looking veins. Glue several leaves around the rose buds.

Bug head

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STEP 6. For Bugs, 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.

Bug eyes like Alien eyes

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STEP 7. For Aliens, 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.

Glaze

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STEP 7. For Flowers, ribbon and magnet

Now you can decorate your flower disc by adding ribbon or lace and a refrigerator magnet or a pin-back to the backside of the disc.

Glaze bugs

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STEP 7. For Bugs, 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.

Dry and bend legs

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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.

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STEP 8. For Flowers, dry

That’s it, the flower pin must dry untouched for a day (or overnight). You shouldn’t play with it or move it until it is completely dry or it will begin to crumble and then it will be ruined. It will shrink a little while drying and the colors will get darker. When it is dry, it will make a great gift for Moms or Grandmothers or even sisters. Everyone will think you are a really great artist.

Glue pins

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STEP 8. For Bugs, 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.

Finally

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.

Fun Clay Comments Wanted

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      billybuc,

      So sweet of you to say so. I agree we need to kids involved in more healthy creative endeavors than just punching buttons with their thumbs.

      Blessings,

      Denis

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm all for any craft project that can involve kids. We need kids introduced to the arts and crafts. Great project here.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      FlourishAnyway,

      Well, have fun. I enjoy it myself so I totally understand what you mean. But after your teen sees all the fun stuff you made, he/she may have a change of mind. Ha.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Forget about the kids! I'm doing this one myself! I probably won't get my teen to join me, but I will definitely do this. Up and more and sharing, pinning.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      CorneliaMladenova,

      I'm so glad you like this project. My children loved to play with the clay too. We made things and jewelry I am still wearing. It lasts much longer than you would imagine. Have fun.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 2 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Great hub, Denise. Never have thought that bread could be turned into clay. This is amazing idea and I passed your article to my kids, they will for sure be occupied during the rest of the summer holidays. By the way, I love the bugs! :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      BlossomSB,

      I'm glad you like the idea. I don't know where I got the original idea but I've been playing with bread all my life. My mother told me to stop playing with my food and I still don't obey her. Sad. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      crazymom3,

      So glad you like my idea. It is fun and easy. I'd love to hear how it comes out with your children.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Great idea. I've never heard of adding the glue before, but we used to make brooches and things with bread when we were kids. The addition of glue sounds great.

    • crazymom3 profile image

      crazymom3 2 years ago

      This looks fun and easy thank you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Larry Rankin,

      Thanks so much for your kuddos. I appreciate the comment.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Dana Tate,

      I think so too. Very fun and no baking. And being that it is made of bread and glue, if the kids should eat it... well it's not harm I guess.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful crafting project.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      This hub is very useful for all the mothers and babysitters who want to keep the kiddies busy. Voted up and useful.

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