I was dreaming of a white Christmas last year – although we were facing 30+°C days. Why then?
Because of these …
I’ve ALWAYS wanted these houses, that make these villages. They are the ultimate for me.
So why don’t I have any? Well, here in sunny South Africa they cost upwards of R400 – per house!!! I simply can’t – and even if I could, won’t – pay that much for decorations.
This being my dilemma, I started doing my research on ways to make it myself.
Trust me, I tried different recipes.
Salt clay – unfortunately this is a very brittle medium, it breaks way too easily. It is also very unforgiving on your skin and nails.
Clay made with glue – trust me, if you are going to cook the glue – BAD idea. Even with the extractor fan on and all windows open, it still send me on a very nasty trip.
Baking soda and cornstarch clay – this was the winner. A tough medium, it can actually take quite a beating to my surprise. Unfortunately you can’t make any solid objects with it, it cracks while drying, BUT you can make any 2-D shape with it.
What you need:
- medium sized pot – preferably non-stick
- wooden spoon to stir with
- measuring cups
- plastic bowl for cooling
- cling wrap
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup water
Combine the ingredients in the pot. Stir until all the cornstarch is mixed in. Bring to the boil over low heat while stirring continuously. It will first start to bubble – keep stirring. Then it will start to look a lot like mashed potatoes. Keep it boiling for another 1 – 2 minutes. It will look like you will NEVER get that pot clean again. Remove from heat. Place in your plastic bowl. Cover with cling wrap. Fill your put with some water – in 10 minutes it will wash clean without any problems.
Let the clay cool down until you can handle it without burning yourself. Now knead it on a flat surface to remove the starch. It will be nice and smooth when it is ready. Wrap in cling film. Let it cool down. Have fun!
What I LOVE about this recipe:
- It’s fast, easy and cheap to make
- You can pre-colour it with food colouring. We added food colouring to it before making our decorations – just like you would with fondant – so there was no need for paint!
- It can take a beating, I dropped a piece about five times before it broke – yes I did it intentionally to see how strong it is.
- You can dry it in a fan assisted oven @ 80°C for 30 minutes on one side and a further 15 minutes on the other side. (So you turn it round after 30 minutes. I put mine on a wire rack on top of the baking tray when I turn it round, that way it really dries fast and evenly.)
- If it is a bit warped after drying, you can still press it flat while it is hot without breaking it – I know, amazing!
- It dries perfectly white if you don’t colour it!
How to make a house:
What you will need:
- clay or fondant board to roll your clay out on
- rolling pin – the ones you use for clay or fondant works best
- cutting tool
- glue gun
Simply roll your clay out to your preferred thickness (I prefer mine really thin), lay the template on top of it. Cut it out, making imprints or other features that you would like your house to have on it.
- Use a palette knife to lift your panels up. Place on a baking tray.
- When all your panels are made, bake for 45 minutes. Let it cool down completely on a wire rack.
- Now use your glue gun to assemble. Any piece that is too big, you can simply cut smaller with scissors – even when it’s completely cold!
- Use the left over clay to cover all the seams.
As you can see, I’ve put lights inside of mine.
Two things about the templates I’ve shared.
- The church – the steeple is too long, it is not in proportion with the rest of the building. So you either need to make the steeple shorter, or make the building taller (hope that makes sense).
- The simple house – not the one with the chimneys, it is a template for a paper house, so you need to cut the panels loose from each other. You also need to cut the roof panels slightly larger.
I hope you have lots of fun making your decorations and houses using this recipe. Please share photos of the projects you make.