DIY craft recipe :: how to make clay

Here’s a super easy DIY craft recipe that shows you how to make clay {that’s actually more like an air-drying dough) and turn it in to some beautiful butterflies.

A super easy DIY craft recipe: how to make clay ~ and a beautiful butterfly craft

DIY craft recipe :: how to make clay

To make the air-drying clay/dough you will need one part PVA glue and two parts cornflour {UK name} / cornstarch {US name}.


Then all you need to do is mix the two together.

craft recipe how to make clayIn a matter of minutes you’ll go from this :: to this :: to this, and you’ll have a lovely, white moldable dough, similar in consistency to ready-roll icing/frosting.

butterfly craft Then you can roll out the dough and use some cookie cutters to stamp out some shapes. We’re making butterflies today, but watch out for a beautiful loveheart version in my play dough e-book, which will be out soon.

craft recipe butterfly craftYou can use a pencil or skewer to make a hole in your butterfly, if you want to be able to hang it up.

butterfly craftAnd you can use a dry paintbrush to sweep over the surface and remove any clay dough crumbs that you might have on the surface of your butterflies.

how to make clayThen you can set your butterflies on a flat surface {we used a baking tray lined with baking parchment} and leave them overnight to dry out.

how to make clay recipeOnce they are dry the hardened clay dough is a wonderful surface to decorate, and it takes pencils and wax crayons really well.

butterfly craftsYour children can add colour and patterns and symmetry to make each butterfly unique.

craft recipe how to make clay butterfly craftThen you can add string or ribbon threaded through the holes so you can hang up your butterflies. We’re adding ours to our seasonal tree which sits year-round in our entrance hall – click through if you’d like to see the Valentine, Easter and New Year versions.

the homemade play dough recipe book call

 Love play dough? Take a look at The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book :: recipes and ideas for a whole year of play! 


  1. Sam @ Thrive 360 Living says

    These are wonderful! Love that it’s such an easy clay recipe. I can’t wait to make some. These will be also be perfect at Christmas time when I have my kids cookie decorating party. I always like to have a fun craft for the kids to do as well.

  2. Veens @ Our Ordinary Life says

    I am in love with your butterflies. I am defintely going to try these 😀 Do you think we can paint them as well?

  3. says

    Oh this is so simple yet so cool!

    I love that you can draw on it with pencils! I also have a hankering to pretty them up with water colours (wish I could get my hands on some liquid water colours here!). I SO want to try this!

  4. says

    Thank you for your suggestion. Will let you know how it goes. We are planning to make ‘Dinosaur teeth’ and ‘Dinosaur fossil pendant’ for my Dinosaur obsessed kiddo :)

    • says

      Hi margret. It just means that, whatever measure you are using, you need one measure of one and two measures of the other. So maybe one cup glue, two cups flour. Or one jug glue, two jugs flour.

  5. Lila says

    Hi, sounds super easy, thanks for this recipe!
    I was wondering if anyone has tried it with normal white flour instead of cornflour. I understand it may not be as smooth, but will it hold together…?
    In our school we often make salt dough (two parts flour, one salt, one water), so we have flour in hand but no cornflour.
    It would be great to know if it works before I waste any glue! :s
    Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Lila, I have only tried this one with cornflour, so I’m not certain, but I would *think* it would be fine, as it would be the glue that would do the holding together. You could try it with super small amounts of flour and glue to test it out – just keep the ratios the same. I’ll test myself this week if I get chance.

  6. Amira says

    Hi Cathy, do you think recipe can be used if i want to make the clay into pin badges/brooch? (I mean, it won’t crumble right?) And what if I substitute the PVA with typical clear glue, is it the same?

    • says

      Hi Amira, I think the dough would be great for brooches. I’ve had a garland of hearts (one of the ideas in The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book) hanging in my kitchen window for months, with no crumbling or cracks. I think you would need to superglue the brooch pin on the back once the brooch had dried out though – I’m not sure the clay would hold it on its own. As to the glue – everyone seems to call if different things! I think PVA is also known as school glue – or commercially as Elmers? It’s white coloured but dries clear. Hope that helps! Cathy

  7. Lila says

    Hi again,
    back to report on PVA and plain flour.
    Well, it kinda worked, of course it’s not super white but a cool shade of beige, it took cookie cutters well, on the possitive side it dried a lot quicker than the salt dough I’m used to (just one day in bright sunshine – no oven drying tried), *but*… Although when first mixed it was nice and pliable, we found it went hard rather too quckly (I’d say within 20 minutes or so). Then it was difficult to roll out to thin sheets, it was more stretchy and wouldn’t take any texture.
    It was a good alternative, but to be honest I wasn’t impressed.
    Does this discription sound anything like what the cornflour version behaves like?

    • says

      Hi Lila, thanks for reporting back! When we used ours we intended to make the butterflies and dry them out to decorate – rather than having a dough we could have a long playtime with. So, I didn’t notice that it went hard too quickly (as really that’s what we wanted) and we had no problems rolling it out. I agree about the dough not taking texture in the way another clay might – this dough has more ‘bounce’ rather than holding a print. I think this dough is great if you know what you want to make, but if you want to model – re-model – play, perhaps it’s not the dough for that job.

  8. Lisa Marie says

    This is going to be great to make with my granddaughter, I have been looking for ornaments to make with her so she feels like shes giving out christmas gifts. thank you for posting how to make this.

  9. Michelle Jamieson says

    Loved reading all the comments! Great response. I am wanting to use the clay for our playgroup to create nature collages on. More of a 3D collage with twigs, gumnuts, pinecones ect….sounds crazy I know! Do you think it will hold these ‘sculptures’?

  10. Martha says

    I used this recipe more than 30 years ago when my kids and I made Christmas ornaments. We painted them with Elmers All Purpose glue, colored with food coloring–and I still have them today!

  11. Johanna says

    I thought it was a great idea ! I’m used to make salt dough and even if this one is a bit more expensive due to the PVA it looked like so much easier: no baking, the dough is white as snow so it doesn’t need under coats before decorations etc… But we had a disaster, my own fault, I misread the recipe and used one part starch / one pva, to top it off I let my son hand mix it… When I realised it wasn’t really working I put my hands in it too…. Argggghhhh what a mess !!!! Just to clean our hands was a nightmare ! Now that I have realised my mistake I’m laughing about it and can’t wait to try again :-))) and I’m so glad I’ve tried it at home first not straight away at playgroup

  12. Donna says

    Hi there, just tried this but epic fail. I put the corn flour in a bowl and then glue. It was too dry. Where have I gone wrong

    • says

      Hi Donna. Did you use the right ratio of ingredients? As flour is a natural material it sometimes need more/less glue to get the right consistency. If your clay is too dry I would suggest adding in more glue.

  13. bae says

    im confused you have not said what exact amount of ingredients to use and how u no when the dough is just right

    • says

      Hi bae. You will need to decide how much clay you want to make. You’ll see the recipe says I use one part glue to two parts flour. So, you’ll need to think about what project you want to make and how much clay you need. If you think about the volume of ingredients that will help you work it out. So here I used two cups of flour to one of glue to make about 12 butterflies. And as I mentioned, you’re looking for a consistency of clay that looks like ready-roll icing/frosting. The ratio of glue to flour should work fine, but you can always add a little glue if it seems to dry, or more flour if it seems too sticky. As flour is a natural material there can be a little variation. Hope that helps. Let me know if you try it. Cathy

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