During my years of doing volunteer work with children, crafts like these salt beads were always a huge hit. Recently I came across the very old recipe I used for making this salt clay and thought I would share it here. Working with this clay would be a fun summer project… doable for a wide range of ages… and the salt beads are especially interesting for older children looking for a quality “something” to make.
The recipe is simple. Combine one cup of salt with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of corn starch and cook over a medium heat until the dough is thick. Stir constantly to prevent burning. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it well and form it into beads by rolling small bits of dough between your fingers until they are smooth and nicely shaped. For anyone having trouble making beads of uniform size, try rolling out a small piece of dough to make a rope, then cut equal size slices off the rope to shape into beads.
From the plum tree on our front lawn
Make a hole in the center of each bead or string the beads directly onto a heavy piece of thread, making sure to run the needle directly through the center of the bead. The beads should be turned on the string once a day as they dry to prevent sticking and to keep the stringing hole open. Dental floss is a great option for stringing the beads because it is so sturdy… it is even less likely to break than heavy thread.
No clasp is necessary if the string of beads is made long enough to pass over the head and the ends of the threads are knotted securely. Untinted, the beads will be pure white. For colored beads, food coloring or skin-safe soap dyes can be kneaded into the dough. Try combining two pieces of different colored dough to form two-toned or mottled beads.
The beads should be dried for several days… they will become rock hard. Most colors will fade slightly as the beads dry. The finished beads have a slightly rough texture and an interesting sparkle when the salt particles catch the light.