Cold Porcelain

Cold porcelain mouse by Jorge Rubicce

Cold porcelain is a no-bake, air-drying modeling compound (also called 'paste') ideal for making flowers and figures. Cold porcelain can be purchased commercially (although hard to find in USA) or made at home from simple ingredients (see recipes below). A few vendors offer their homemade cold porcelain for sale at places like Etsy and Ebay. Cold Porcelain is not an actual 'porcelain', but, when dried, the finish becomes opaque and porcelain-like. The 'cold' refers to the fact that it does not have to be baked or fired to cure. Items made with cold porcelain dry hard and durable and have a much finer finish than items made with bread dough or any other homemade recipe.

The most popular things to make with cold porcelain are realistic flowers and cute cartoon-style figures such as the mouse shown above. When making flowers, you can get wafer thin petals. When making figures, Styrofoam shapes are often used as armatures. Cold porcelain is very versatile and suitable for modeling small or large. I've seen some cold porcelain figures that are quite large...from a foot to 2 feet tall.

There are many different recipes for cold porcelain but basically it is made with cornstarch, glue, oil and preservatives. The paste is prepared by cooking on the stove or in the microwave for a brief time and then kneaded until smooth. There's even some non-cook recipes.  Cold porcelain is known throughout the world by many different names..... as porcelana fria, masa flexible, biscuit, pasta di mais, among others.

Below are some of the easiest and best recipes to start with. You can find many more recipes by searching the web, but be cautious. Some will call for ingredients that are not as 'user friendly' as other recipes. (Never use a CP recipe that uses formalin, it is dangerous and poisonous.) Use good quality ingredients. Not all mineral oils, cornstarch, glues, etc, will work the same, therefore, some experimentation with different products may be necessary.

Notes:
  • Cold porcelain paste will dry translucent unless a whitener is added to paste recipe as you make it. Wilton "White-White" (for cakes) can be used or white tempera paint or similar products. Adding whitener will also help make your colors brighter if you also pre-tint your CP.
  • You can pre-tint uncured CP or paint after it's dried. This blog contains many tutorials for adding pigment and painting. 
  • Make sure the cornflour/cornstarch you use is actually made from CORN (not wheat), it makes a difference. 
  • Store paste in an airtight bag or tightly wrapped in plastic. 
  • Keep in well lighted area. Do not place in a dark drawer for a long period of time, this will make the paste moldy. 
  • Store in a dry area at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, but you can freeze. 
  • Use cold cream or dust with cornstarch to keep paste from sticking to hands, work surface or molds. 
  • Paste that has been tinted with color will dry out faster than non-colored paste. 
  • As a project dries, it will lose 15% to 20% of the original volume and this shrinkage must be considered when modeling.
I haven't personally tried every one of the recipes below. Please use 'comments' to tell us about your experience with the ones you've tried, especially the 'no cook' options.

There are many more recipes for cold porcelain in addition to these...which one to use depends on your own experience and what you will be making with the cold porcelain. Some recipes are softer, some harder, some more flexible or rigid.  This is a short list of recipes that have been recommended by others.

Compare the texture and consistency of your own CP 
with the CP in this video...this is how it should look!


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Basic recipe #1 for microwaving (by Sangeeta

2 cups of Corn Starch
2 cups of Elmer's Glue or wood glue (should be white)
1 Tblsp of lemon juice (it acts as preservative) or 1 tsp of citric acid
2 Tblsp baby oil (you could use any oil be it mineral, cooking, baby or even Vaseline petroleum jelly will work)
1 Tblsp of white liquid tempera paint
1 Tblsp of cold cream, non greasy, without lanolin and silicone (Nivea or Ponds)

Glass bowl (microwave compatible) & wooden spoon

Mix all the ingredients in the bowl, excluding the cold cream, which is used for kneading the paste. I use a hand mixer to mix as it removes all the lumps and is a very uniform mixture.

Place the bowl in the microwave and cook it during 3 minutes on maximum power. Open the oven on each minute and mix the paste with the wood spoon, so that it cooks all around equally. Variations in the different models of microwaves can modify the cooking time of the paste. Therefore, it is essential that you observe it minute by minute. If necessary, monitor it every 30 seconds for the last minute.

As soon as the paste is cooked, spread only 1 Tablespoon, as it indicates the recipe, on a marble or kitchen counter top surface and place the paste, still hot. The hotter the paste when kneaded, better the results. Knead the paste for some minutes; say about 5-7 minutes. The trick, the more you to knead, better it will be to work.

When the paste is well kneaded, make a coil, thus preventing the formation of air bubbles.

Place the paste in a well closed plastic bag or in plastic film such as Saran Wrap or cling film to prevent it from drying up. (I use a plastic bag lightly greased with the hand cream.)

(Note:  I can vouch for the ease of making this recipe.   It's the one I use myself, except I use the 'White-White' by Wilton to whiten the paste.)


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Video demo by Sangeeta showing her microwave method (for Basic Recipe #1)





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Basic Recipe #2 from Creations by Edith (stovetop)

2 cups or corn starch
2 cups of white glue
2 tablespoon of glycerin
2 tablespoon of stearic acid
1 tablespoon of sodium bensoate.

Mix them all together and cook it on low heat until it does not stick to the pan any more.

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No cooking needed, recipe #3

This recipe is made with non-toxic ingredients. It does not contain any chemicals that could be hazardous for your health and does not need to be cooked at all.

When kneading this paste, if too sticky, add some cornstarch,.  To keep from sticking, rub a dab of shortening (or cold cream) to your hands and keep the rolling pin very clean..... rub a dab of shortening on the table too, Small amounts, do not overdo it.

1 cup Aleene’s Tacky Glue Original
1 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon Tylose**
1 tablespoon Wilton liquid white color (this is add to the paste to prevents it from becoming transparent when dried)

**Tylose is a gumpaste used by cake decorators. It is the product known as CMC.   

Mix all ingredients and knead to get a soft paste. If too sticky, add cornstarch.

Do not cook. Store in well lighted area, tightly wrapped in plastic. Do not refrigerate. 

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Instant CP, recipe #4

Edith sells a glue specially formulated for cold porcelain, this makes a real flexible paste, ideal for flowers.
Mix 4 spoons of adhercola glue and 4 spoons of corn starch.
Mix them together and it's ready!  No cooking needed!


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Recipe #5 & Video demo by Rubina, showing her stovetop method.


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Recipe #6 & Video demo by Marisol Romero, showing her stovetop method.  


Marisol says: The quality of the paste and elasticity of the dough often depends on the vinyl glue or adhesive you are using, always use known brands of good quality. 

This is the recipe used for the cold porcelain in the following videos: 

500 grams white glue (about 17.6 ounces)
250 grams cornstarch (about 8.8 ounces)
1 / 2 tablespoon stearin (used as tallow in the manufacture of candles and soap)
1 / 2 teaspoon sodium benzoate (preservative)
1 tablespoon glycerin (a preservative, lubricant and thickener)
1 1 / 2 tablespoons of Vaseline

Spanish is spoken in this video demo for preparing the cold porcelain paste. Even if you cannot understand what Marisol is saying, you will be able to see how she mixes and cooks the paste and learn the consistency when done.

Mix everything in a non-stick pan and remove the lumps, mix until everything is smooth and then cook over slow flame until everything starts to gather…keep stirring. You can see the paste, as it cooks, begins to hold together like a firm dough and very little sticks to pan. She cooks it for a little bit and takes it off heat to stir well and then cooks some more. 

Marisol also demonstrates the kneading and stretching of the cooked paste. As you knead it, if you are doing it right, it will have no lumps and be extremely smooth and easy to handle. When ready, she divides the CP into smaller chunks (let rest for a day before using). 

Video doesn't show Marisol putting the CP in plastic wrap or a container to store until used, but it should be always be stored air-tight. Wait until it cools to wrap.

Thanks to our friend Morena in the Air-Dry-Clay Yahoo Group, we have a translation of some tips Marisol suggests in these videos. Marisol says:
  • The white glue known as "school glue" is not the best quality for cold porcelain, use a glue that has more consistency, like white carpenters glue.
  • Use a Teflon pan and wooden spoon.Follow the amounts in the recipe. If you double the recipe it will be very heavy and difficult to mix.
  • Use low, low, low fire. Important to keep mixing while it is cooking, scraping around and folding the clay. That allows clay to cook evenly. Remove pan from fire if you feel you are not folding fast enough.
  • If there is shine, that means the clay is not cooked; shine means the glue in it is not cooked.
  • It is best to put the paste on marble to knead it, because it will stay cool. Marble or aluminum.
  • Once clay is mixed, separate into parts, cover with plastic until it is cooled down. Then wrap in plastic bag and put in glass or air-tight container. 
  • Best to wait 24 hours before using clay.

Part 1 of 2


Part 2 of 2



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Recipe #7  Basic Stovetop Recipe
Click here for step by step photos of another stovetop recipe.  This recipe is accompanied by lots of photos and uses the following ingredients:

1 cup Cornflour (cornstarch)
1 cup PVA glue
2 tablespoons Baby oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar
Non-greasy moisturizer

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Click the "cold porcelain" label in the sidebar 
and you might find some more CP recipes not shown here! ;-)













2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting! I am a crafter with all types of clay,and I really wanted to try Cold Porcelain,so yeah. I didn't like Polymer clay because you had to bake it...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much, it is very helpful

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! ;-)