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crafting

Arts & Crafts, Life & Style, Special Occasions

How to Make Homemade Clay From Household Ingredients

Follow this easy recipe on how to make homemade clay, from just two common household ingredients – cornflour and bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda). You can then use this to make beautiful homemade clay Christmas decorations.

Making decorations from air-drying clay is always a really fun activity, especially with kids. However, the packs of air-drying clay always come wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. As such, I’ve been having a go at making my own homemade clay. It turns out this is easier and cheaper than you might think. In fact, it’s a really fun, plastic-free way of making clay, and for making beautiful zero-waste Christmas decorations.

If you’ve tried to make homemade clay from a cornflour and bicarbonate of soda recipe before, then you may have experienced some cracking. I have a clever tip below to help prevent this from happening, so keep reading!

Image of homemade clay stars strung up on Christmas garland

How To Make Homemade Clay

You Will Need

65 grams of cornflour (plus a little extra for dusting your work surface)

125 grams of bicarbonate of soda (this is also known as baking soda outside the UK)

180 ml water

Method

making homemade christmas decorations
  • In a saucepan, mix the cornflour, bicarbonate of soda, and the water.
  • Next, gently heat the mixture on your hob. The consistency will first be that of a soft paste. Keep mixing it until it takes on the consistency of mashed potato.
  • Once you’ve reached the desired consistency (if you’re unsure, the mixture will start to pull away from the pan), then remove the pan from the heat immediately and leave to cool. You now have homemade clay!
  • Use the clay on a cornflour dusted work surface to create the shapes you require. If you are using cookie cutters to cut out shapes, then less complex shapes work best.
  • If you’re planning on hanging your shapes on your tree, or to create a garland, then use a skewer to poke a hole at this stage too.
  • Once you’ve cut out your shapes, leave them to air dry for one to two days. After two days, you can then bake them in oven for around 20 minutes or so at 80°C The cooking time depends on the size of your shapes, so keep a close eye on your creations.
  • Remove the decorations from the oven. They should have dried to a white clay texture. This can be left as it is, or you can paint them paint or marker pens.

Why Do You Air Dry And Then Bake?

It’s important to air dry your homemade clay first, before baking, as this type of clay is prone to cracking. Especially so if you dry them out quickly in the oven. Slowly drying the clay creations in the air, away from the sun and direct heat, before baking helps prevent cracking.

How To Make Homemade Clay Christmas Decorations

  • Follow the above recipe to make homemade clay.
  • Once cool, dust your work surface with cornflour, and spoon your homemade clay on to the cornflour dusted surface. Next, using a rolling pin, roll out the clay until it is around 5 mm thick.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut out your desired shapes. Again, simple shapes work best. At this stage, take a skewer, or similar, to make a hole, to allow you to hang up the decorations either on your tree or as part of a Christmas garland.
  • Finally, leave the shapes to air dry for 1 to two days. Once air dried, bake the shapes in the oven for around 20 minutes, turning halfway so that the clay evenly cooks. Again, if 20 minutes isn’t long enough, keep the shapes in the oven until the clay is no longer soft.

If you would like to incorporate some texture into your decorations, use a textured rolling pin, or use a piece of lace to press on a pattern.

How To Store Your Homemade Clay Decorations

If you are using your homemade clay to make Christmas decorations then it’s important to store them correctly, so that you can enjoy them year after year. We had a disaster the first year, when ours were stored incorrectly and became soft and mouldy, so do learn from our experience!

I find it’s best to store your clay decorations in an airtight Tupperware tub or glass jar. If you have any silica gel bags lying around from any items you have bought then you can add a silica gel bag to help absorb moisture. However, some silica gel can be poisonous, so do bear in mind that the gel is in there when you come to decorate the following Christmas – particularly if you have pets and/or kids. Alternatively, a tablespoon or two of dried rice in the tub will also do the trick.

More Crafty Ideas!

For more homemade Christmas decorations ideas, then I’ve got loads of great eco-friendly ideas for you.

Firstly, here’s how to dry orange slices to make stunning natural garlands. And if you’ve caught the natural garland bug, then here’s how to make a popcorn garland. Finally, here are even more stunning plastic-free and zero-waste Christmas decorations to make.

If you’re busy getting ready for Christmas then you can also check out my guide to having an eco-friendly Christmas. It’s bursting with festive ideas that are kind to the planet! From choosing an eco-friendly Christmas tree, to help finding eco-friendly gifts and wrapping paper. From tips on plant-based Christmas dinner ideas to tips on reducing your festive food waste, it’s all in there.

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Image of homemade clay stars on festive branches, with a blue text box that says how to make homemade clay using common household ingredients
Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

How to Make Beeswax Wraps Cheaply & Easily

beeswax food wrap diy

Are you looking to make beeswax food wraps? Let me show you just how easy and cheap it can be with this full DIY guide.

Hello!  It’s been a little while since I shared a DIY with you, but today I want to share my tried and tested technique for how to make beeswax wraps.  If you’re looking to reduce your single-use plastic consumption, then these beeswax wraps make for a great alternative to using cling film, tin foil, or plastic Tupperware to store food in.  And the best part is they are really easy to make.

We actually stopped using cling film and tin foil a long time ago.  We switched to using parchment paper to wrap our food in before popping it in the fridge or freezer or storing food in glass jars or Tupperware tubs.

All of this has been doing the job pretty well.  However, I’ve been trying to find an alternative to parchment paper as I’d like to be able to not buy so many single-use products, like parchment paper.  I also wanted to find a way to transport my lunch without the need for bulky Tupperware tubs.  Those things are a pain to carry around all day!  So, lo and behold, the answer I was looking for: the beeswax food wrap!

how to make beeswax wraps

I had seen some pretty nice ones for sale online, but the statutory maternity pay I’m on at the moment sadly doesn’t quite stretch to beeswax wraps.  I had some fabric scraps left over from an old craft project.  And I also some beeswax pellets leftover from making beeswax candles and homemade nappy rash cream so decided to try my hand at making my own.  How hard could it be? Turns out, not very hard at all.  Let me share with you now my easy method on how to make beeswax wraps.

how to store food without plastic

How to Make Beeswax Wraps

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You will need

Freshly washed and dried fabric scraps* – a variety of sizes.

Beeswax pellets*

A silicone basting brush*

Oven tray

Tongs*

Method

Preheat your oven to 85°C (185°F)

Lay your piece of fabric flat on your oven tray.  Sprinkle the fabric liberally with your beeswax pellets.

Place in the oven for around 5 minutes, until the beeswax has all melted.  Keep an eye on it the whole time to avoid burning.

Once all the beeswax has melted remove the tray from the oven and quickly use your silicone basting brush to evenly distribute the beeswax.  The beeswax will start to set as soon as you take it out of the oven so you want to do this bit very quickly.

As soon as you’ve done this use the tongs to remove the fabric and hang it up to dry.  It will take only minutes to set and then it’s ready for use. To do this, using the tongs, I hold my fabric above the tray for a minute to allow the beeswax to set (and to catch any drips), then I drape the fabric on my washing line.

If you find you’ve got too much beeswax on your fabric then simply place it back in the oven for a few minutes until the beeswax has melted. Then brush down with your silicone brush again.

To remove the beeswax from your oven tray and basting brush, wash them in hot soapy water.

Have fun making these beeswax wraps – I find it can get a bit addictive!

How to use beeswax wraps

You can use beeswax wraps in practically any way you see fit – for example wrapping cheese.  Just wrap the cheese in the wrap and use the heat from your hands to seal the ends.  Got a leftover bowl of food?  Simply place a beeswax wrap on top and again, using the heat from your hands, seal the wrap around the edges.  The uses are endless!

See my notes on usage below for some more handy hints.

Beeswax Snack Pouches

how to fold beeswax wraps

My eldest daughter loves the little snack boxes of raisins.  I’ve found it’s cheaper and less wasteful on the packaging front to buy a big 1 kg bag of raisins and make my own little snack packs of raisins using the beeswax food wraps and a bit of origami.

how to fold beeswax wraps uk

1. Take a square of beeswax coated fabric and fold diagonally, as in picture two.

2.  Fold down the left-hand corner, as in picture 3.

3.  Next, fold down the left-hand corner like in picture 4, lining up the edge with the previous fold.

4.  Now fold down the triangle that’s sticking up at the top.

5.  Flip it over and fold down the other triangle.

6. Finally, open it up and fill it with raisins or any other snack of your choice

To seal, fold down the flap on the side that doesn’t have any folds in it. Then you are good to go!

origami fold

Beeswax Wraps Usage Tips

There are a few points to remember when using beeswax wraps.

Heat & Cold Considerations

Firstly, the most important thing to remember is beeswax melts at a low-ish temperature. To be precise, the melting point of beeswax is around 62°C to 64°C. Therefore, any use that is going to be around or above that temperature is a big no-no.  Think cold.

I, therefore, wouldn’t recommend using your wrap directly on hot food.  Let the food cool first before wrapping it.

And like cling film, your beeswax wrap is for food storage only. Don’t use them in your oven or microwave.  The beeswax will melt and will leave a big mess that will not be fun to clean up.

You can freeze your fabric wraps.  I wouldn’t use it for long-term freezer storage though – only for the food that you plan on freezing in the short term.  I would suggest that your wraps spend no longer than one month at a time in the freezer.

How To Wash Beeswax Wraps

With these heat considerations in mind, wash your beeswax food wrap in cold soapy water using a gentle eco-friendly washing-up liquid, like Bio D*.  I would avoid using alcohol-based washing-up liquid as it can degrade your beeswax.  I would also recommend leaving your wraps to air dry. Whatever you do, don’t leave them on your radiator to dry!

I also wouldn’t recommend putting your wraps in your dishwasher or washing machine.  And definitely not your tumble drier!

beeswax food wrap

Food Safety

If you eat meat, then I would avoid placing your beeswax wrap in direct contact with raw meat. This is because you can’t wash your wrap in hot water to sterilise it.  If you want to store raw meat using your wrap, I would put the meat in a bowl and use the wrap to cover the bowl.

What To Do When Your Wrap Stops Folding

When your beeswax food wrap stops losing the ability to fold, simply wash and re-wax it in the same manner as above.

How to make beeswax wraps cheaply and easily