I am making a concerted effort to do more hands-on activities with my kids this year. Since we are studying ancient history, brown clay seems to be used over and over again. For example, in the Ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform activity. I thought I would make a post to describe how I am making this air dry mud clay, using a standard homemade air dry clay recipe modified to be colored brown using coffee. (Note this recipe can stain, so wear old clothes!)
Air Dry Mud Clay Details
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup coffee grounds or instant coffee crystals (The instant crystals give a more uniform color, but are more likely to stain hands, clothes, and surfaces. This tutorial shows instant coffee, but you can see the result using ground coffee at the end of this post. Note that even though it looks grainy when wet, it hardens a solid color.)
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 cup measuring cup
- 1/2 cup measuring cup
- pot for heating on stove (note that I ended up using a slightly larger pot than shown in the picture above)
- spoon for stirring
- measuring glass
- Measure 1 and a half cups warm water.
- Pour the water into a pot.
- Measure a half cup of instant coffee crystals or coffee grounds.
- Pour the coffee into the water.
- Stir the coffee into the water.
- Measure a cup of baking soda.
- Pour baking soda into coffee mixture.
- Stir the baking soda into the coffee mixture.
- Measure 1 cup cornstarch.
- Pour cornstarch into pot with baking soda coffee mixture and stir.
- Heat on the stove using low heat.
- Stir frequently while it heats. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once it gets about as thick as mashed potatoes, remove it from the heat.
- Use a spoon to pour the hot clay onto a plate to cool.
- Once it is cool, shape as desire.
The clay will harden overnight. Note especially if you are using the instant coffee crystals instead of the coffee grounds, this will color your hands a bit as you use it, but it will wash right off. We did not get any clay on clothes thankfully, but I imagine it would stain as badly as a coffee stain on clothes.
Have fun with your homemade air dry mud clay!