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How to Make a Dorodango

Updated on March 26, 2011
A handful of mud that sticks together when compressed in hand.
A handful of mud that sticks together when compressed in hand.
Mud shaped into a nice ball.
Mud shaped into a nice ball.
Rolling the bag into fine dirt.
Rolling the bag into fine dirt.
Nice and smooth
Nice and smooth
Ball, sweating in zip bag
Ball, sweating in zip bag
 

 

Got mud? Then you can make a dorodango! Hikaru Dorodango are shiny balls of dried mud. School children in Japan have been making dorodango for many, many years. This is a fun weekend project to do with your friends and family. It's also a great Scout camping activity!

 

Materials

  • Mud
  • Dirt
  • Water
  • Plastic zipper bag, sandwich or quart-sized
  • Polishing cloth - a bandana or soft cotton dishtowel works well

Steps

  1. Dig up a scoop of mud and squeeze it with your hand. If the mud is too dry to hold its shape, add a little bit of water. If the mud is too wet, mix in a little dirt. When the mud holds its shape, form it into a small golf-ball-sized ball.
  2. Dip your fingers into some water and rub your wet fingers over the ball to smooth the surface so that there are no bumps or cracks in the mud.
  3. Sprinkle dry, fine dirt onto the mud ball and rub it gently into the surface, shaping the ball as you go along. Blow off any excess dirt. Continue to do this until the surface of the ball is fairly dry and there are no bumps or cracks. This might take awhile!
  4. Place the ball into the plastic zipper bag and seal. Leave it alone for about an hour or two. This will draw water out of the ball and help it dry.
  5. After an hour or two, remove the ball from the plastic bag. It will probably be damp, and there may be a soft spot where it was sitting in the bag. Pat your hands on top of dry dirt. Your hand should look dusty. Rub this "dust" that is sticking to your hand onto the ball, smoothing the surface. Continue to pat your hands in the dirt and then rub the dust onto the ball until it is well-covered, dirt no longer sticks to the ball, and the surface of the ball is dry and smooth. (This part can take 30 - 60 minutes!)
  6. Shake all of the water out of the plastic bag and then place the ball back into the bag. Repeat steps 4 and 5 several times over the day. Each time you put the ball into the plastic bag, more water will be released. Patting the fine, dry dirt on the surface of the ball helps dry it out more and thickens the surface.
  7. When no more water can be drawn out of the ball, it will feel very hard and leathery. The ball will be light in color. Using the polishing cloth, gently rub the surface of the ball. Try to make it as shiny as possible. When it is shiny all over, you have a dorodango!
 

 

Comments

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  • prokidwriter profile imageAUTHOR

    KA Hanna 

    10 years ago from America's Finest City

    They are decorative now days, but some would argue that it is the process of making a dorodango that is of interest. A professor in Japan researched how children play, and found that children could be engaged for hours by the process of making dorodango.

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