Teachers almost always have the best intentions. I know that. I was a classroom teacher. And even now as I teach at home, I also know that sometimes a good deed goes awry.
That is what happened with Mr. Frog.
Mr. Frog was my kindergartener’s clay creation for art class this year. For weeks I heard about how Mr. Frog slowly morphed from a mound of clay into his froggy form full of color and detail before entering the awe inspiring kiln.
We eagerly awaited the day my daughter would see what he looked like after going into the kiln, and she had a special place picked out for his new froggy home.
Except the day she was supposed to bring him home…nothing.
When I first asked my daughter if she got to bring home her frog that day, she shrugged it off and changed the subject. I knew something was up, so I gave her some space until she was ready to talk about it.
Later that night I walked in as she was hiding something deep in the dark corners under her bed. When I asked what it was she again shrugged it off.
It wasn’t until we were snuggling at bedtime that she crawled into my arms and began to weep as all the emotion she was keeping inside overcame her. As she cried she told me that she brought Mr. Frog home but that Mr. Frog was now different. He wasn’t the same as she add created with her own vision, her own unique way of thinking.
You see for some reason my little lady had created a one-eyed frog. I don’t know if it was intentional. I don’t know if she ran out of time. But when she turned in her finished frog she insists that Mr. Frog had one big eye, not two.
And that’s where her sweet, well intentioned art teacher’s good deed went awry. I imagine many of those little frog eyes on those hundred or so kindergartener created frogs fell off somewhere in the transition to and from the kiln that week. And I imagine that her poor teacher did her best to match the right eye with the right frog.
Except our Mr. Frog was only made with one eye.
And without meaning to the message that my soft-hearted, self-proclaimed future artist got when Mr. Frog came back with two eyes was, “That’s not right. It should be this way.”
She was crushed.
And although we’ve discussed what most likely happened, Mr. Frog still sits hiding away under her bed, not quite his original self.
I knew for sure we’d be spending some time experimenting with our own clay creations in the near future, so our sponsored series with Elmer’s seemed like the perfect opportunity to make our own DIY Air Dry Clay and see if we could get little miss creating with clay again.
This air dry clay recipe takes just a few minutes to make, and you only need a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Whenever we’re mixing up a new play recipe or starting a craft project I choose Elmer’s adhesives. I know they are high quality, and I always get consistent results with them.
MATERIALS YOU’LL NEED
- 4 oz bottle of Elmer’s Washable School Glue
- 4 oz cornstarch
- 2 tbsp baby oil (or substitute with vegetable oil)-We s
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (or substitute with white vinegar)
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN AIR DRY CLAY
We’ve seen a few variations of this recipe, but the one we’ve found to work the best is shown in this video. Check it out to see the steps in action.
Start by pouring Elmer’s School Glue into a bowl. Add in the cornstarch.
Mix to combine the two ingredients a bit. And don’t worry if a bit of the mixture gets on your little one’s hands or the table. Elmer’s glue and cornstarch are both washable, so clean up will be quick and easy when you’re finished.
Then add in your oil and lemon juice. Continue mixing until the texture is like a smooth frosting. Microwave for 30 second then stir. The video recommends microwaving again for 30 seconds, but we found that to be a tad too long for our microwave oven so we only did 15 seconds on the second round.
Once the dough is cool enough to touch knead it like you would with a play dough or bread dough recipe.
Be sure to watch the full video to see the transitions in texture and get extra tips.
Just when you think this recipe was a total flop and there is oil oozing off your hands, give it just a bit longer. Somewhere in there is a magic transformation, and you’ll finish with a nice malleable clay that your child can create with.
NOW IT’S TIME TO CREATE
As I suspected my daughter was eager to experiment with her new clay, but she did not want to create another frog. Some wounds are just too fresh to re-open I guess.
She did however create a handful of little trinkets. Some of them she formed freehand on her own, and for others she used some mini cookie cutters.
We let them dry overnight, and then she painted them to her liking.
And if you’re wondering what happened to Mr. Frog, he’s emerged from the under-bed world and found a new home that he shares with his new friends ladybug, butterfly and pumpkin.
Both of my daughters are excited to make even more clay creations. This time they want to make a batch of little trinkets to share with friends as gifts. Sounds like another fun project is in our future!
Want to try some more DIY fun with Elmer’s?
Try making this DIY silly putty.
Or create your own sparkly suncatchers.