Air-dry clay makes a good art supply for kids and adults. It is easy to sculpt and shape and only takes about 24 hours to dry, depending on the project. It is easy to paint with acrylic paints after drying. Air-dry clay bowls cannot be used to hold food or be washed and dried because moisture makes the clay soft again. Air-dry clay should only be used for decorative items and should be kept indoors out of the elements.
Use balls of air-dry clay flattened on a washable surface to a little larger than the finished size. Keep it 1/2 to 1 inch thick. A child can place her hand on the flattened clay and press hard enough to make an impression. Cut to the right size and smooth edges letting it dry about three days before painting. Place the project on a table or insert a U-shaped wire into the top edge before it is dry to hang on a wall. Instead of using hand prints, use sea shells and other objects with interesting texture to press into the clay.
Make a little clay pot to keep paper clips, pencils or loose change. Roll clay into a ball and press a hole in the middle with a finger or thumb. Begin pinching and pulling from the hole out until a pot is moulded. Let the pot dry several days and paint. Another method uses coils to make a pot. Roll clay into long coils. Make a flat base and coil the clay around the edges and up. Leave it as is or smooth the coils out using a spoon. Make engraved designs in the pot using plastic knives, skewers or forks.
Other Decorative Items
Indoor wind chimes are easily made with air-dry clay. Roll clay out to 1/4 or 1/2 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Poke a hole in the top and bottom and let dry. String the chimes up with fishing line so when they touch, they clink. Make holiday ornaments by leaving only one hole in the top to insert a hanger for the tree. Paint ornaments after they set then spray with clear acrylic when the paint is dry.
Make beads and pendants with air-dry clay. Roll clay into a snake and cut portions off to make beads. Poke a wooden skewer into the piece and form it into the desired shape. Wiggle the skewer around to make the hole bigger and remove. Let the beads dry and then paint. Make pendants by sculpting clay into shapes like cats, birds or any other animal or object. Leave a hole at the top in which to insert a findings ring or strand of cording. Let dry, paint and seal with clear acrylic spray.