Homemade Clay Beads

Children's Crafts: Let's Make Homemade Clay Beads!

For some the summer is underway and in full swing. For others it's going way too fast and the end is almost near as their school districts start in early in August and the kids see the last few weeks of summer coming. For others summer has been a long, drawn out time of trying to find things to entertain their kids with and they've run out of idea's.

One idea too tuck away in your mind is homemade baking soda and cornstarch beads. Faux 'clay' beads if you will... at a childs level. Easy to make and non-toxic you can then add cheap craft beads and a string of yarn to design beautiful necklaces and plan a day of dress up and fun for your little ones. When your kids are older (as mine are) you'll be surprised at how the 12 and 13 year olds will still be interested in making the beads, only this time by themselves without any help from you and they get quite detailed in the design. My oldest daughter (18) uses idea's like this for last minute crafts for the children she babysits. A fun idea for any age! *The photos are not of my hands. They are photos I found in a craft book I own from Better Homes and Gardens.

Kids Craft Beads


2 c baking soda
1 c cornstarch
1 1/4 c water
plastic straws
toothpicks or small paintbrushes
food color or non-toxic paint
aluminum foil

The dough is salty and will dry out your hands so have lotion on hand for later. Prepare a cookie sheet with a sheet of aluminum foil over it. Stir together the baking soda and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add the water and stir over medium heat until the dough starts to look like mashed potatoes. This may take up to 10 minutes. Pour the clay dough onto your aluminum foil and cover with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out. Allow it to cool before you handle it. Whenm it is completely cool you can start to make beads. Keep the dough covered or in a plastic container until you are ready to use it.

Break off a small piece of dough. Shape it as you wish in balls or squares, etc. Cut your plastic straws to about 2-3 inches long pieces and insert the straws into your beads to make large holes for stringing. Use tiny toothpicks or small paint brushes to 'paint' your beads with food color or non-toxic paints.

If you prefer, color the entire batch at once and cut or craft the beads from it. Using a handful of the dough, mash it a bit into the shape of a hot dog bun. Add bits and drops of food color to the center and gently fold it into itself and roll into a log shape or triangle or square. Break off pieces for shaping or slice them using a butter knife. Make holes in the beads as you did before with straw pieces.

Lay the beads on your aluminum foil covered cookie sheet and allow to dry overnight. They will need at least 6 hours to dry and maybe more if you live in a humid area or it's been raining. When dry they are ready to be strung on yarn to make beautiful necklaces or bracelets.
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