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Homemaking - Family Fun

Craft Recipes

Here are inexpensive recipes for crafts and fun at home!

Play Dough Recipes

Peanut Butter Playdough
Submitted by CLW
1/2 c. Peanut Butter
1/4 c. Corn Syrup
1/2 C Powdered Milk
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
Mix, Play with and eat. Recipe says makes 12 servings, but i think it is more like 2-3 servings, since we are ever so creative with it.

Self-Hardening Play Dough
Submitted by Beverly
1 1/2 C. Salt
4 C. Flour
1 1/2 C. Water
1 tsp. Alum (found in the baking section of stores)
Mix salt, flour, and alum in a bowl. Gradually, add water. Knead the dough, and add water until dough forms a ball and no longer crumbles. Store in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before using.

Playdough #1
2 c. Baking soda
1 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. water
You can use food coloring if desired and oil of cloves.
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the baking soda and add water, stirring constantly. Mixture will become thin and smooth at first. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is too thick to stir. Turn the mixture out onto a cookie sheet to cool, covering with a damp cloth. When cool, knead until smooth. Store the mixture in a tightly closed plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Use hands, garlic press, cookie cutters etc, to shape. Clay will harden at room temperature, depending on the size of the object. Most items are dry after 24 hrs, and if necessary, you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees, turn it off, and put the clay in to dry, turning the pieces occasionally.
Consider using different kitchen spices to color such as mustard or cinnamon and all spice. Can use emery board to smooth rough edges. This clay is VERY absorbent and may take more than one coat of varnish . Sometimes up to five coats are necessary. Also, with this recipe, knead a few drops of white glue into small workable portions of the dough. This gives it additional strength.
Creative tips:
To make realistic indentations in strawberries or oranges, roll the molded shapes up the fine-shred side of a cheese grater. For apple or pear stems, use a real stick or twig. To make hair for a goofy face, squeeze the clay through a garlic press. After drying for 24 hours, use acrylic tube paints to give your creations personality. If your creations should happen to come apart after they are dry, use household glue to re-attach the parts.

Play Dough #2
Submitted by CLW in loving memory of Mari Alter who is singing with the angels in Heaven
The play dough is REALLY soft and smooth.
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 tsp. cooking oil
1 c. water (or less, start with LESS)
food coloring or powdered tempera paint
Mix all dry ingredients. Add a few drops of water at a time. Add a few drops of coloring. Stir until a dough ball forms. Put in plastic zip locks and store in fridge if you need to store it.

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
5 1/2 cups flour
2 cups salt
8 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cups oil
1 container (1 1/2 ounces) pumpkin pie spice
Orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
4 cups water
Mix all of the ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Remind them that these goodies only smell good. No tasting please!

Smooth, Cooked Play Dough
4 C. Water
4 C. Flour
2 C. Salt
4 Tblsp. Cream of Tartar
2 Tblsp. Cooking Oil
Food Coloring (optional)
For fun, add food coloring to water. Mix ingredients in a large pan. Cook over medium heat. Stir mixture to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture becomes stiff. Allow the dough to cool some before children play with it. Dough will not harden completely and cannot be baked. Store dough in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before using.

Clay Recipes

Baking Clay
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all purpose flour
Stir the salt into the warm water. Let cool. Add flour and knead for 8-10 minutes. For coloring the dough, add food coloring or powdered tempera pain to the salt and water, before adding the flour. Create figures and bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 minutes to one hour or until all moisture is gone. Paint creations when cool. You can also seal the complete work with a non-toxic, water-based sealer.

Modeling Clay
2 cups salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
Stir salt and water over heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cornstarch and cold water. Mix until smooth, return to heat and cook until thick. Cool before using. Store in plastic bag.

Cornstarch Clay
Submitted by Beverly
1 C. Cornstarch
1 1/2 C. Flour
3/4 C. Warm Water
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Gradually, add warm water a little at a time. Mix into a stiff dough. Knead the dough, sprinkling with flour if it is too sticky. Store dough in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before using.

Fossil Clay
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup used coffee grounds
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients, adding the paint or food coloring to get desired color. Add more flour if dough is too sticky. Form into a ball and flatten onto aluminum foil. Press plastic creatures, bay leaves or other objects into clay and allow to air dry for 2 to 3 days. Turn over, putting dry side on a cooling rack to allow air circulation.


New Old Crayons
Submitted by Martha R. and Lisa C.
Making new crayons from old is a FUN and easy craft.

  1. Gather old broken crayons. Remove all labels and tape.
  2. Sort into color groups -- reds, blues, purples, yellows, etc.
  3. Wash out old cans. Water packed vegetable cans work best as they have little to no residue. Cans from fatty products (broth soups) and tomato products tend to interact with the wax.
  4. Prepare molds. Candy molds, Jello Jiggler molds, soap molds, or interesting ice cube trays make great molds for crayons.
  5. Place the crayons from one color family in a can. If you are a little short on cans, start with lighter colors first. You can easily do orange in a can after yellow, red in a can after pink, purple or black in a can after blue, and brown in a can after orange.
  6. Place cans on eye of stove over medium to medium low heat. Be patient! Shake the can occasionally to make sure that all crayons are getting down to the bottom to melt. Don't overheat!
  7. When no lumps are left, pour wax into molds. If you spill, wait till the wax hardens and it will peel up with your fingernail. Place in refrigerator or another cool place (NOT freezer) to harden.
  8. When the wax is completely solidified, gently pop out the crayons from the molds.

Soap Crayons
Submitted by Jean and Shelly B.
I prefer using the color gels from cake decorating instead of using a ton of the expensive drops! You also get a much wider choice in colors in the gels.
1-3/4 Cups Ivory Snow Powder
1/4 Cup Water
50 Drops Food Coloring
Ice Cube Tray
Mix the soap powder and the water together. Add the food coloring and stir. Pour the mixture into the ice cube tray. Allow the crayons to harden. Pop the crayons out of the tray and break or cut into pieces. These are fun to write with in the bath tub. Note: Plastic candy molds can be substituted for the ice tray.

Papier Mache

Basic Papier Mache Recipe
Submitted by Jamie
Blow up a balloon and tie to be used as a base. Mix together 2 cups flour and 2 and 1/2 cups water. (For easier cleanup, put your bowl inside a plastic grocery store bag or line bowl with plastic wrap.) Mix well. Mixture will be a little lumpy, but try to get out as many lumps as you can. Use your paper strips and apply as usual. After applying mache, let dry for about 3 days. Pop the balloon and let dry an additional 3 days.

Submitted by Martha R.
Stuff a paper bag with wadded up newspaper. Add rolled magazines for legs (if you are making a legged creature.) Stuff a smaller bag and attach for the head (if needed) and add on any other parts like ears or a trunk, depending upon what you are making. With a Sharpie, make a circle slightly bigger than what your hand can fit through on the top of the pinata. This is where you will insert the candy and toys, so make sure NOT to put paper mache strips on it.
Tear newspapers into one-inch strips. Prepare the glue by whisking one cup of flour into two cups of water and stirring over medium heat till thickened. Let cool until able to be touched. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue and apply to the paper bag shape. (Don't forget to leave the circle you drew uncovered!) Make one to two layers of strips (going opposite directions over each other) and set pinata somewhere to dry. Let dry a couple days (or more depending upon your climate.) Then, repeat the layering process. The number of layers to put on depends upon how much challenge your pinata breaking participants need, but you want it to be sturdy enough so that it doesn't bend when you push on it. Usually about four applications of strips will get the job done.
After the pinata is completely dry, cut a hole in the bag where you drew the circle. Pull out and discard all the wadded up newspaper. Decorate it with fringed tissue paper, glitter, buttons, jewels, or whatever may apply to make it look like the desired item. Tie rope around the center so that you can hang it up. Fill with candy. Now you are ready for your party! Make sure to have a baseball bat and a blindfold ready!


Salt Rock Crystals
Submitted by Jamie
You will need vinegar, salt, warm water, porous stones(or charcoal briquettes) and a small glass bowl. Add 3 tbsp. salt to warm water, stir until it dissolves. Continue adding salt 'til no more will dissolve. Add a tbsp. of vinegar, fill bowl with porous stones or charcoal briquettes. Leave on top of the refrigerator for two days. Check. There should be crystals forming. As water continues to evaporate, the bowl should be filled with rock crystals.

Rock Candy
Submitted by Lisa C.
1 Glass jar or drinking glass
Food coloring (optional)
1 Piece of cotton string
1 c Water
1 Pencil or stick
2 c Sugar
1 Paper clip
Additional sugar as needed
Tie a short piece of cotton string to the middle of the pencil or stick. Attach a paper clip to the end of the string for a weight. Moisten the string very lightly, and roll in a bit of sugar (this will "attract" the sugar crystals from the syrup to the string). Place the pencil or stick over the top of the glass or jar with the string hanging down inside.
Heat the water to boiling, and dissolve the 2 cups of sugar into it. For the biggest crystals FAST, heat the sugar-water solution a SECOND time, and dissolve as much additional sugar as you can into it. Add a few drops of food coloring to the solution if desired.
Pour the solution into the prepared glass or jar and leave undisturbed for a couple of days. Depending on how much sugar you were able to dissolve into the water, you should start to see crystals growing in a few hours to a few days.

Homemade Volcano

Submitted by Sharont.
Take a soda pop bottle or any bottle with kind of a small opening, place the bottle in the middle of a dirt pile, pile up the dirt around the bottle like a mountain being careful not to get the dirt in the opening (I place a baggie over the top while piling up the dirt and then remove it). Add baking soda, food coloring and when ready the vinegar for the eruption. Your kids will want to do this over and over with different colors of food coloring, adding in cars, towns and toy soldiers to get smothered with the foam. It's great cause once they get the hang of it they can make their own any time they want. The added bonus is that the mess stays outdoors. The downside is that it can't be transported.

Scented Cinnamon Ornaments

1 cup cinnamon
1 Tbsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 Tbsp. white glue
Mix dry ingredients. Add glue to applesauce. Mix well with dry ingredients. Roll out the dough and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. (Rolling between two layers of wax paper or plastic wrap makes this much easier.) Use a straw to make a hole in the top of the shape. Allow to dry on wire racks for several days. Turn them once or twice a day. After they are completely dry, paint with acrylic paint. Put a cord or ribbon through the hole to create a hanger.

Fall Leaf Projects

Submitted by Amy
You could use poster board and either collect real leaves or cut out pictures of leaves. I have even made color copies of real leaves. Use just a little glue to hold them in place, or double tape. Cover with contact paper. With pressed flowers, you can make bookmarks the same way.

Last year we got small picture frames from the thrift store that hold one good size leaf or a couple smaller leaves. Collect some leaves, and put them in the frames. I jut used heavy off white paper for the background. They are still on the wall and are beautiful!

Leaf rubbings: Find leaves with well defined veins on the back, put paper over them and color lightly, then label.

Leaf tracings: Hold the leaf down, trace lightly around it, and color.

Submitted by Michelle T.
We melted paraffin wax, and dipped the leaf in it and it preserves the leaves. In the past, I have put the leaves between two pieces of wax paper and ironed it.

Another idea is to make a tree frame and each day add a leaf with something written on it that you are thankful for. Soon you have a full tree! This was a Thanksgiving project.

Scrap Cloth Crafts

Submitted by Briva
Scented sachets using wax candle chips and cloth squares tied up with ribbon. I recycled my daughter's colored socks, added some excelsior stuffing-filled the socks with that and added scented oil, tied with a ribbon, and use in our clothes drawers.

Submitted by Nina
With cloth scraps - cut the scraps in 1 or 1 1/2 inch squares with pinking shears. (You will need a lot.) Buy a straw wreath from any craft store. Using a Phillips screwdriver punch the fabric into the wreath, pattern side up. Cover the wreath until the wreath isn't visible from the front.

Cut the fabric in approximately four inch strips. Get a wire hanger, and bend it out into a wreath shape. Have the kids knot the fabric strips on the hanger, completely filling it.