Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Bead and Clay Crosses
This is a project I do at Easter time with the students. These are done by Grade 1. I also did this with Grade 4 this year using smaller beads and more complicated patterns.
Click on picture to see larger.
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 cups to 2 and 1/2 cups warm water (varies depending on flour and humidity, enough for a soft dough)
Knead into a soft dough
Store in a ziploc bag. If not using right away you can store in the refrigerator for like forever. Just pull it out ahead of time to come to room tempertaure before using.
I like to color the dough. Using liquid tempera or acrylic paint squirt some on the dough.
Fold over the dough.
and then knead like crazy....don't worry if it looks marbled like this it just means you have to keep kneading.
It will eventually look like this. Even color throughout.
Roll it out and then using a cookie cutter cut out the shape.
Place a paper clip 1/2 way in at the top for hanging.
I get the kids to put a bit of water on the surface of the cross using their finger and then they can start forming their design with beads. We use pony beads in different sizes as well as wood beads and large decorative beads.
I asked them to try and make a pattern using color or shape.
They need to push the beads in fairly firmly.
I then place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I write the name of the student on the paper in sharpie and then place their creation either on top or next to their name. This allows me to keep them straight until they are baked when I can then write their names on the back in sharpie.
Bake in a 250 - 300 degree oven for about 2 - 3 hours until hard. You don't want to overbake and have them get a brownish tinge.
When cool add a coat or 2 of Mod podge. This will help "glue" into place any loose beads as well as add a nice shiny finish.
Keep in mind that salt dough responds to the humidity in the air. It can sometimes feel soft even after baking and sealing. Just let it be and it will dry out again.
That's it. I add a ribbon thru the paper clip at the top and the kids have a great creation to take home for Easter.
See you next time.
these really are cute and vibrant and lovely - beads and clay are such a great combo. i'm just curious - are schools able to do faith-based art where you are? if there are students who are not christian there, what did they make instead of the cross?ReplyDelete
I think flowers would be a nice Spring theme idea for a project that is not faith based.Delete
Thanks for another great project.ReplyDelete
Can you really bake the plastic beads no problem?
I can't wait to try this with our daughter!ReplyDelete
The colors, simplicity....really beautiful.ReplyDelete
Beautiful and colorful. Love it!ReplyDelete
Jen: The school I work at is a Catholic school. In Calgary we have 2 major school systems..the Public School Board and the Catholic School Board.
thicklygrownwithweeds: You can bake the beads as long as you don't exceed 300 degrees in the oven...sometimes the really small ones get a little soft but otherwise no issues.
Gail, this is so cool! I'm going to do this with my two kids. I'll give you credit on my blog and let you know when we do. : )ReplyDelete
Wow, they are so beautiful!!!ReplyDelete
Gail -- I just wanted to let you know that I posted a link to this post, as well as your blog, on my new blog about creativity:ReplyDelete
I love your blog and find so much inspiration from it. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas!
ah, cool... just curious about how that works out. these really are beautiful.ReplyDelete
so wonderful...beautiful project that is so accessible for kids!ReplyDelete
Gail! This is awesome. I'm going to do them with after school art next week! Thanks for all the continued inspiration! Hope you are still enjoying your bag! Let me know if you ever want to decorate on bags for an Earth Day kind of project. I could send you a batch. I have done it many times, you can see here:ReplyDelete
All you need are fabric markers and cardboard for the inside to not bleed through.
Though, of course, you would probably come up with some kind of cool glue tie dye thing for the bags! Ha!ReplyDelete
what is 2-2 of water?? what does the two dash two mean? is it 4 ½ cups????ReplyDelete
it means 2 cups to 2 and 1/2 cups of water, it varies depending on the brand of flour, humidity etc.
Thank you for such a prompt response!!!! xo
Gail-- Great craft! Can u color the dough and then refrigerate? Also, to what thickness do you roll the dough to before cutting out the shape?ReplyDelete
Hey anonymous, yes you can color the dough and then refrigerate. I roll a 1/2" thickness, any thicker and it takes too long to bake.ReplyDelete
Can I use food coloring for coloring the dough?ReplyDelete
Hi Gail! Love this idea...can you use sequins too? Wil they be ok in the oven?ReplyDelete
You can use food colouring, paint gives you more colour options. Sequins will melt in the oven but you could try those sparkly gems.
hi gail, thank you for the idea. its so great to have an activity for kids for easter that isn't a bunny!ReplyDelete
I made up a batch of your clay and the Sunday school kiddos made crosses. This project was successfully completed by all ages from preschool - 5th grade.
I never knew you could use acrylic paint to colour dough. I loved it and it was so easy to get off my hands.
We will make these again next year. We will make some of them into magnets. And I will test to see if these would hold up as a rear view mirror decoration.
Here's a link that shows some of our crosses: http://fruitfulwords.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/c-clay-crosses-easy-to-make-using-homemade-dough/
Thanks, again, Gail, for coming up with great ideas and sharing!
I'm planning on doing this project with my son's Kinder class. So wonderful! We are making a large,circular (flat) bead to be worn around the neck. Do you think it's better to use the paper clip, or to make a hole in the bead for a string to wrap around. Which would be more durable. I'm going to give them a good coat front (and back?) with the mod podge. Any other tips/suggestions? Thanks for the inspiration, Gina
I think the paper clip might be more durable. Another thing you could try is to insert a metal grommet where you want the hole to be. That way it's not sticking up from the top of the bead.
oh my goodness, how beautiful, thank you!ReplyDelete
Beautiful crosses! Where can you get the cross cookie cutter?ReplyDelete
I purchased my cross cookie cutter at MichaelsDelete
Did you bake the crosses on a cookie sheet or without?ReplyDelete
Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.Delete
Gail, what would happen if I didn't bake it? Would the clay dough just get hard anyway? I'm thinking of doing this as a "make and take" and wondered what would happen if people just allowed them to air dry, rather than bake it in the oven. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Hi anonymous, I have left it just to dry before and it will eventually dry out. You can also send a note with your 'make and take' suggesting that parents can bake in the oven if they want to speed up the process. Good luck with the project.Delete
Would it work if I baked all the crosses ahead of time and then let my students paint the crosses instead of using beads?ReplyDelete
Yes, salt dough takes acrylic paint quite nicely but some sealers will react to the salt dough so I use Mod Podge to get a nice shiny finishing coat after painting.Delete
Any ideas if I do not have a cross cookie cutter? Thank you for this great idea!ReplyDelete
You could cut out a cross shape with a knife.Delete
Can you microwave it?ReplyDelete
I have never tried microwaving it, you are basically baking it to dry it out. I'm not sure if you would get a similar result. You can always do a test.Delete
Gail-I would like to do this project in Haiti for a VBS project with kids. What do I need to take into account? Humidity? Do they have to be baked? If so, do you have another recommendation for a no bake clay to use?ReplyDelete
Yes, humidity will hamper the drying out process. You bake them to speed up the drying out process. The clay will respond to humidity in the air even after it's baked. That's why it is used as an old fashioned barometer, if the clay figure is soft you know rain is in the forecast.
All air dry clays are vulnerable to cracking. The better quality ones like DAS are pricey. You could try imbedding the beads in Crayola's model magic. You could use Fimo or polymer clay but you have the baking issue again.
One thing you might want to try is drywall filler on cardboard. I have had good success with imbedding items in drywall. It's similar to the grouting in a mosaic. Cut out a cardboard cross, it needs to be heavy cardboard as thin cardboard will curl when the drywall is applied( it could be wood as well), spread a good coat of drywall on, as thick as the pony bead width, and then press the beads into it. The drywall starts setting up as soon as you spread so you might want to 1/2 of the cross at a time, I would do a test. Set aside to dry (about 6 hrs. You still need a coat of podge to seal it.
You could also glue the beads on a cardboard cross and then apply the drywall like a grout just like a traditional mosaic.
Hope that helps a bit.
so, is the dough supposed to be supper sticky when done kneading? Should I store it for a while before adding the paint? My dough was super sticky and hard to get off of our hands.ReplyDelete
You can add a bit more flour if needed. The dough will be a bit sticky and when you add the paint it will increase the moisture a bit so dust with flour when kneading.Delete
Thank you for a great tutorial. I did a quick practice one today and it worked beautifully. I cooked mine in the microwave for 1 and a half minutes - checking every 10/20 seconds. I don't have a cutter, but just used a flat knife to cut a quick cross shape. I didn't use the paperclip as it's obviously metal, but cut a hole in the top using a straw to hang the ribbon through.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this great idea. I will do it for a group of cousins ages 3-9 for an Easter craft. I have not used this dough in ages and I would like to know how if the acrylic paint stays true to its color or if it lightens up considerably once in the dough? That is, I'm not sure if mixing the paint into a big ball of dough will make the color lighter, say like it does when you mix food coloring into white frosting? The color lightens up quite a bit and you end up having to add and add to get a truer color. I will have just small jars of paint as we will be traveling while doing this activity, so I want to make sure to buy the right color. The pink and blue crosses you have in the photos are good colors; did you buy a darker pink and blue paint, or were those pretty true to the color in the bottle? Thank you.ReplyDelete
I like these. I am a big time crafter with 2 Etsy shops. I am wondering if they break easily?ReplyDelete
Not really but salt dough responds to the humidity in the air even after sealing with podge. I live in a very dry environment so I occasionally have issues of cracking with thin pieces of salt dough but I have not had any of my salt dough crosses break. Hope that helps.Delete