Working With Your Hands: Craft Recipes

Written by Michele Wheat

If you're looking for fun rainy day activities, consider working with a parent or guardian to cook up some crafts in the kitchen. Not only is it a great way to get familiar with different objects and ingredients, but it's a fun way to spend the day! Most of the recipes involve things that are probably already in your kitchen or household and involve just using your wrist to stir together a few ingredients. However, it's best to make sure you have an adult helping you; not only is it safer, but it's always better to share the fun and creativity with somebody you care about.

Paper Mache Paste

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 5 cups lightly boiling water

Mix flour into one cup water until mixture is thin and runny. Stir into boiling water. Gently boil and stir for 3 minutes. Cool before using

Note: Best used with newspaper strips for paper mache

Liquid Starch Finger Paint

  • ¼ cup liquid laundry starch
  • 2 drops food coloring
  • or 1 tsp. Tempera paint

Mix ingredients in small plastic bowl until blended

Corn Starch Finger Paint

  • 3 tbsps. Sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups cold water
  • food coloring
  • soap flakes
  • or liquid dishwashing soap

Mix sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan over low heat. Add cold water and stir until mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Divide into four or five portions (in muffin tins or cups). Add a drop or two of food coloring to each portion and a pinch of soap flakes or soap. Stir and let cool. Store in airtight container.

Laundry Starch Finger Paint

  • 1 cup laundry starch dissolved in cold water
  • 1 qt boiling water
  • 1 cup pure white soap flakes or powder
  • Food coloring or poster paint

Add boiling water to starch and cold water mixture and boil until thick. Remove from heat and stir in soap. Divide into small containers and add food coloring as desired.

Poster Paint

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsps. powdered tempera paint
  • 2 tbsps. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid starch or liquid detergent

Measure flour into saucepan. Slowly add 1 cup water until mixture is smooth. Heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Cool. Add 1/4 cup flour paste into small jar or plastic container. Add tempera paint and water for each color. For opaque finish add liquid starch. For glossy finish add liquid detergent.

Condensed Milk Paint

  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • food coloring

Mix one cup condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring. This makes a very bright, glossy colored paint.

Frosting Paint

  • 1 cup powdered tempera paint
  • 2 tbsps. wallpaper paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid laundry starch

Mix tempera paint with wallpaper paste. Add starch, mixing until thick enough to spread - like frosting. Place paint on a plastic lid and use popsicle sticks to spread.

Note: Once this project is put together, the frosting is not edible

Face Paint

  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. cold cream
  • food coloring

Stir together starch and cold cream until well-blended. Add water and stir. Add food coloring. Using a small brush paint designs on child's face. Remove with soap and water. Store in airtight container.

Egg Yolk Paint

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp. Water
  • food coloring

Mix egg yolk with water and lots of food coloring. Use a paint brush to paint on baked cookies. Return cookies to oven until egg has solidified

Oatmeal Playdough

  • 1 part flour
  • 1 part water
  • 2 parts oatmeal

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Knead.

Note: This project isn't edible, but it is not toxic if it is eaten by mistake.

Uncooked Playdough

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsps. Cornstarch
  • Tempera paint or food coloring

Mix water, salt, oil and enough paint to make bright colors. Gradually work flour and cornstarch to consistency of bread dough.

Kool-Aid Playdough

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsps. salad oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsps. Alum
  • Kool-aid for color

Boil salt in water until salt is dissolved. Add Koolaid for color. Add salad oil, flour and alum. Knead or process until smooth.

Note: This project can keep for up to two months and possibly longer if kept in good conditions.

Colored Playdough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • food coloring

Mix all ingredients in saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until ball forms. Knead until smooth.

Salt Playdough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour

Mix ingredients and cook over medium heat. Remove from heat when thick and rubbery. As the mixture cools, knead in enough flour to make a workable dough

Peanut Butter Playdough

  • 18 oz. peanut butter
  • 6 tbsps. Honey
  • Non-fat dry milk
  • Cocoa for flavor

Mix all ingredients, adding enough dry milk to make the dough pliable. Shape, decorate with edible treats, and eat!

Simple Playdough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 6 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3 cups cool water
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • food coloring

Mix dry ingredients in a big cooking pot. Blend liquids together in a bowl. Combine with dry ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and can be pinched without sticking (about 5 min.) Turn onto board or counter and knead until smooth play dough consistency. Store in an airtight container.

Potato Dough

  • 4 or 5 potatoes
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups flour

Bake 4 or 5 potatoes, in the skin, until soft inside. Peel, and discard peel. Mash potatoes until you get a fine, even texture. Combine 1 - 1 1/2 cups of flour to every 2 cups of mashed potato and form a dough. The color will grey after a while, but if you add food coloring, when you make it, you won't even notice.

Note: Completely edible and tastes great if you cook it in boiling water for one minute and serve it with tomato sauce, butter, or gravy.

No-Bake Craft Clay

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • food coloring
  • Paint

Mix all ingredients except paint in saucepan over medium heat for 4 minutes until thick (like mashed potatoes). Add food coloring to water before mixture to add color. Remove from heat, turn out onto a plate and cover with a damp cloth until cool. Knead like dough. Store in airtight container.

Cookie Clay

  • 2 cups salt
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Mix salt with water in saucepan. Stir and boil. Add cornstarch and cold water. Keep heating if it does not get thick. Roll out dough on board floured with cornstarch. Let dry then decorate.

Baker's Clay

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tsp. powdered alum
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • food coloring

Mix all ingredients in bowl. If too dry work in extra water with hands. Color by dividing and adding food coloring to each portion. Roll or mold as desired. Once molded or rolled bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes in 250 degree oven. Turn and bake another 1 1/2 hours. Remove and cool. When done, sand lightly if desired and paint.

Bread Clay

  • 6 slices white bread
  • 6 tbsps. white glue
  • 1/2 tsp. detergent or 2 tsp. Glycerine
  • food coloring
  • Nail polish

Remove crusts from bread and knead with glue. Add either detergent or glycerine. Knead until no longer sticky. Separate into portions and add food coloring if desired. Shape and brush with equal parts of glue and water for a glossy coat. Allow to dry overnight to harden. Paint with acrylic paint. Seal with clear nail polish.

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.


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup cold water

Mix water, syrup and vinegar in small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water. Add this mixture slowly to first mixture. Stir constantly. Let stand overnight before using.

Homemade Paste

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Cold water

Add cold water to 1/2 cup flour until a thick cream forms. Simmer on stove for 5 minutes. Add food coloring or flavoring if desired.

Note: This is wet and messy and will take a while to dry.

Library paste

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. Alum
  • 4 cups water
  • Oil of cloves

Mix all ingredients in saucepan and cook until clear and thick. Add 30 drops of Oil of cloves and keep covered.

Pasta Dye

  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • food coloring

Mix alcohol and food coloring in bowl. Add small amounts of any type of pasta to liquid and gently stir. Dry on newspapers covered with wax paper.

Note: Don't taste the materials before or after making this project.

Egg Dye

  • 1/4 tsp. food coloring
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar

Measure liquids into a bowl. Separate into small bowls. Add food coloring to each mixture. Soak hard boiled eggs in dye

Great Goop

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • food coloring

Boil water in saucepan - add cornstarch stirring until smooth. Add food coloring and stir. Remove from heat and cool.

Note: Great to play with on any plastic covered surface!

Whipped Snow

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup pure laundry soap or flakes
  • Electric mixer

Put water and soap in large bowl and beat with mixer until very fluffy. Add food coloring if desired.

Note: This can be molded into shapes and left to dry.

Homemade Silly Putty

  • 2 parts white glue
  • 1 part liquid starch

Mix ingredients and let dry until workable. Add more glue or starch if necessary. May not work on humid days. Store in airtight container.


  • ½ cup Glue
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp Borax

Mix ½ cup water and glue. In a separate container, mix ½ cup water with 2 tbsp Borax. While stirring the Borax mixture constantly add the glue mixture. The blubber should immediately glump up and if it doesn't seem tough enough mix more Borax in.

Note: You can use the same toys as you do with the silly putty, but it won't be as sticky as the silly putty.


  • Cornstarch
  • Water

In a large pan with sides, pour in a bunch of cornstarch and add a little bit of water and mix it up with your fingers until it's just a little bit stiff.

Note: To save this mixture, let it dry completely and then put it in a plastic bag.

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