Of all the kneading masses that are available on the market, cold porcelain is a very special one. It can be processed very thinly, dries in the air, and can be made in any color with pigment powders, chalk, or acrylic paint. In this article, I am going to explain to you what cold porcelain is, how to make it, and the things you can do with it plus a small tutorial.
What Is Cold Porcelain?
Cold porcelain is a grain-based product. You can find recipes to make it yourself on the internet and in various books. It is not very expensive and you can make it with things that everyone usually has around the house. Handy when there are small children who want to clay. Recipe here : 3 ways to make cold porcelain
However, for more sophisticated work, it is recommended to pick out cold porcelain that is factory-made. It stores longer and has a finer structure. And of course, it saves a load of dishes.
Among all the brands that can be found on the market, Sculpey Model Air Porcelain Clay ( found on Etsy) is a very pleasant one to work with.
Fresh out of the package, it dries semi-transparently, shrinking another 20% while drying, making your miniature creations even smaller than they already were.
Also, I got another question, so I’m diving more into depth about it :
How long does cold porcelain last?
Cold porcelain paste is often combined with preservatives to try to extend the shelf life (and make sure it doesn’t get moldy), which is at least 1 week without preservatives at normal household temperatures if the material is properly packed.
Preservatives in recipes include witch hazel, lemon juice, citric acid powder, and clove oil. Sodium benzoate is used in some recipes.
Some previous recipes contain formalin/formaldehyde as a preservative, which should be avoided as it is a health risque! Check the commercial porcelain clay mixes on the preservatives before purchase!
Cold porcelain should be wrapped in cling film and stored in a cool room after mixing it in an airtight plastic bag/container. It should not be kept in the fridge or freezer as this can affect the PVA glue.
Some recipes that contain glycerin are said to be kept in the freezer for up to 3 years. This can be affected by the brand of PVA glue you use, so experiment with freezing your favorite recipe.
Some dyes can reduce the shelf life of cold porcelain by drying it out faster, so avoid mixing in color (including white) until you are ready to work with your cold porcelain mix.
Cold Porcelain – How To Use It?
When bought, the clay will be well packed in several layers of foil. The most convenient way is to use an airtight sealable box, especially for porcelain. Open the package and divide the clay into several small pieces. Pack each piece well in cling film and keep them in this box.
The piece of clay that you are going to use can be placed on your worktop under a cap so that it does not dry out while you are working on it. Pigment powders are offered when purchasing the porcelain. These are small pots that contain a colorant, which can be kneaded through the porcelain with very little bits.
During the drying of the clay, the color will become even more intense. Decide which colors you want to use before starting a workpiece. The tip of a piece of porcelain can be pressed into a little pigment powder and then kneaded.
It is preferable to wash hands between two colors, especially with yellow and red powders. Place the clay under caps on your work surface and you can start your project! Have a look at this Youtube video on how to make DIY cold porcelain projects as well:
Cold Porcelain – What To Do With It.
You can, of course, just model the porcelain. The clay will dry faster on the outside than on the inside. This will smooth out a rough texture (think of fingerprints). If the object is made too big or too thick, the clay can crack. For large projects, it is better to make a structure of other materials, such as aluminum foil, and to coat it with porcelain clay.
Cold porcelain is very suitable for very fine workpieces, such as flowers. Because the clay can be rolled out super thin with a roll-out piece, very beautiful shapes can be obtained with punches or cutters, which can then be modeled.
Cold porcelain clay recipe.
Here’s a basic recipe:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup white PVA glue
- 2 tablespoons baby oil or mineral oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar
- Food coloring (optional)
- Varnish or clear nail polish (optional, for sealing and adding shine)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and white PVA glue. Stir them together until well combined.
- Add the baby oil or mineral oil to the mixture. This helps to improve the elasticity and texture of cold porcelain. Mix well.
- Gradually add the lemon juice or white vinegar to the mixture. This acts as a preservative and helps prevent the cold porcelain from spoiling. Stir until the mixture starts to come together.
- At this point, you can add a few drops of food coloring if you want to give your cold porcelain a specific color. Knead the mixture until the color is evenly distributed. Remember that the color will lighten slightly as the cold porcelain dries.
- Transfer the mixture to a clean work surface and knead it with your hands until it becomes smooth and pliable. If the mixture feels too sticky, you can add a little more cornstarch. If it’s too dry, add a few drops of water.
- Once you have achieved a smooth and workable consistency, you can start shaping and modeling your cold porcelain. Use your hands or tools to create various shapes and designs.
- Let your creations air dry for about 24 to 48 hours, or until they become completely dry and hard. The drying time may vary depending on the thickness and size of your creations.
- Once dry, you can sand the surface of your cold porcelain creations to smooth out any imperfections. If desired, you can also apply a coat of varnish or clear nail polish to seal and add a glossy finish to your pieces.
Note: Store any unused cold porcelain in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. If it becomes a little dry after storage, you can knead in a small amount of baby oil or water to revive its pliability.
Let Me Show You How It Works With This Project.
We are going to show it with small flowers. Miniature flowers can be made from cold porcelain in many ways. You can press small pieces flat between your fingers and shape them even further with a steel pin or frill needle. This requires some practice, as the clay will become even thinner during processing and can crack before drying.
It is easier to make flowers with the help of cutters or flower sponges. Make a ball of porcelain with pigment powder in the desired color. Roll it out thinly on your work surface and cut out or punch a number of flowers.
With a bead, the petals can be gently pushed into shape on a bubble mat. Actually just as is done with paper flowers.
Prick a hole in the middle and glue the flowers to a stem, which is already provided with a dried ball of porcelain. Let the flowers dry upside down. After drying, beautiful bouquets can easily be composed.
It gives a wonderful effect of dusting the flowers after forming. With a slightly larger brush, a very little pigment powder is absorbed above a sheet of paper.
This gently touches the edges of the not yet completely dried flower. It’s like a bit of rouge is applied to the cheeks.
Use a large brush and very little powder for maximum results. The leaves can also be beautifully dipped, it gives a lifelike effect and just removes that plastic-like shine from the dried workpiece.
Also, try to provide a candlestick or lamp with an edge of flowers and be amazed at the nice result!
Working with cold porcelain clay, to me is 1 of the easiest things to work with, especially for flowers, plants, leaves, etc.. Especially because you don’t need any glue, which is a very handy thing to make little miniature plants, trust me (no glue to be removed, no ‘threads’ of glue that stick out the miniature pieces is heaven 😉 ).
Do you have any questions about this tutorial or would you like to know something more about cold porcelain clay? Feel free to ask in the comments below or now join my new Facebook group!
I wish you happy crafting!
My name is Lizzy, and I am an amateur miniaturist obsessed with everything in the dollhouse and miniature world, ever since I was a teenager.
I love to write as well about all things happening in the miniature world, hence the reason why I created this blog!
I wish you happy reading and crafting!