Cold porcelain is not actually made from porcelain, but it's cheap and easy to prepare. If you want to learn how to make cold porcelain, read this page.
What is Cold Porcelain?
Cold porcelain is an inexpensive, non-toxic, easy-to-work-with material.
Despite its name, it is not porcelain; its main components are cornstarch and white glue, but can also include low quantities of oils and glycerol which promote a porcelain-like, smooth texture. Because most of the constituents are biodegradable, lemon juice and sodium benzoate are sometimes used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
It can be made at home very easily with or without applying heat to the mixture. Once sculpted into a finished craft, it does not require heat in order for it to cure, instead hardening by exposure to fresh air. It can be used for innumerable small projects, however, even once cured it is easily softened or even dissolved by heat or water, thus it is not suitable for making crockery.
How to Make Cold Porcelain
- 1 cup (125 grams) cornstarch or cornflour
- 1 cup (240 mL) white or clear glue
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) baby oil or olive oil
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar
- Lotion (optional)
Using a Microwave Method
Step 1: Mix together 1 cup (125 grams) cornstarch and 1 cup (240 mL) white glue. Use a microwave safe bowl.
Step 2: Mix in 2 Tbsp (30 mL) baby oil and 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice. Alternatives are listed in the ingredients section. Keep mixing until there are no lumps present.
Lemon juice is not vital for consistency but is strongly recommended as it inhibits the growth of mold.
Step 3: Alternate 15-second intervals in the microwave with more stirring. Microwave it for 15 seconds at a time, taking it out to stir in between. Depending on the power of your microwave, this should take somewhere between three and nine 15-second intervals.
- The mixture will form clumps as it cooks. Try to stir in as many of these as possible between microwaving.
- The mixture is ready when it is sticky and very clumpy. This will be easier to judge once you see how your first attempt ends up.
- It's better to make an undercooked batch than an overcooked one, since the former is easier to salvage.
Step 4: Put lotion on your hands and a clean kneading surface. This will prevent sticking. Feel free to prepare the work surface during the microwave intervals.
Step 5: Knead the mixture until it cools down. Immediately remove the hot dough-like mixture from the bowl and begin kneading it.
It will usually take 10 to 15 minutes for the mix to cool to room temperature. Knead the mix for this entire period.
Step 6: Wrap the mix tightly and let rest 24 hours. Use plastic wrap to make an airtight seal around the cold porcelain mix. Store it in a cool, dry place for 24 hours.
You can coat the plastic wrap with lotion to prevent sticking.
To make an easy airtight wrap, shape the mix into a log and roll the plastic wrap around it. Twist each end.
The refrigerator is a fine place to store the mix, but any location out of direct sunlight, heat, and moisture is fine.
Step 7: Check consistency. After a day of rest, remove the cold porcelain and see how it turned out. It should now be ready to use.
Take a piece of the cold porcelain and tear it apart gently. A well made batch will form teardrop shapes as it stretches and breaks.
If the inside of the clay feels sticky, knead in additional corn starch.
If the cold porcelain is brittle or dry, it was probably overcooked. You can try adding a little more oil, or make an undercooked batch and knead the two together afterward.