Crafty Recipes

I volunteer to teach different craft classes at a local senior center. Every time I visit I end up learning a lot more from the “students” than I could ever teach them. I’m also reminded that there was a time when there wasn’t a craft store in every town and to craft you had to use what was available‚Ķ and your imagination.

These following “old fashioned” craft concoctions (or recipes) are fun and relatively inexpensive. A real bonus is that your campers can be part of the preparation.

Most kids love anything slippery and slimy. There is nothing as amusing as sticking your hands into a bowl glob and a few minutes later coming up with dough clay. Or being able to blow the biggest bubbles from a bubble solution you made all by yourself.

Here are some of my favorite old time craft recipes. You’ll find most of the ingredients in your kitchen cabinets. Enjoy!

Salt Dough Clay

This is a delightful air-drying dough for all ages.


4 cups flour

1 cup salt

1 1/2 cups of warm water


1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.

2. Add warm water slowly, using your hands to mix all together.

3. Knead on a flour-covered surface for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

4. Wrap the dough tightly or place in an air-tight container. Take out only what you will be using.

Optional: Dough can be colored with food coloring. Add a few drops at a time and knead dough.

Colored Rice or Pasta

Ever wonder how some people can get a nice, even color to rice or pasta? The trick is the rubbing alcohol that quickly evaporates after evenly spreading the coloring.


1 cup white rice or pasta

1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol

Food coloring

Zip lock plastic bag for each color

Small paper cup

Paper plate


1. Put rice in zip lock baggie.

2. Mix a few drops of food coloring with alcohol in a small paper cup.

3. Pour liquid over rice and seal baggie.

4. Shake until color is evenly distributed.

5. Spread colored rice in a thin layer to dry on a paper plate. Allow to dry completely.

6. Store rice in an air-tight container.

Sticker Glue

Create your own fun stickers with this yummy tasting glue.


1 Packet unflavored gelatin

2 Tablespoons boiling water

2 Tablespoons cold water

2 Drops of grapefruit seed extract or vitamin E

1/2 teaspoon white corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or other flavoring)


1. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.

2. Add cold water.

3. Stir in corn syrup, GSE or vitamin E and flavoring. Mix well. GSE and vitamin E are both natural preservatives. This glue has a shelf life of around 4-6 weeks in keep in a dry cool area. Store in an air-tight container.

4. To use glue just brush on the back of paper or stickers. Allow to dry completely. Then to stick all you need to do is lick!

Down Right Silly Putty

Who needs a plastic egg anyway?


1 cup white glue

Food coloring

Approximately 1/2 cup liquid starch

Small bowl

Spoon or craft stick


1. Mix glue with a few drops of food coloring until you are happy with the color.

2. Begin slowly adding liquid starch. Stir and mix as you go. Continue stirring in starch until mixture reaches a shapeable, stretchy consistency. You may need slightly less or more than 1/2 cup of starch.

3. Store in an airtight container.

Mellow Jell-O Finger Paint

This paint smells delicious!


Package of flavored gelatin

Boiling water

Small bowl


1. Place gelatin powder in bowl.

2. Slowly add boiling water until mixture is the consitency of finger paint.

3. Allow mixture to cool and begin to paint!

Sassy Sidewalk Chalk

Chalk it up to fun and draw to your heart’s content.


2 cup water

2 cup Plaster of Paris

2 tablespoons Tempera Paint (wet or dry)*

Paper towel cardboard tubes

Duct or masking tape

Large measuring cup or bowl

Spoon or craft stick

Paper or Styrofoam plate

*Food coloring can be substituted by color, is not as intense and will fade over time.


1. Cut paper towel tubes into 2-3 smaller sized tubes. Cover one end with duct or masking tape. Make sure the taped end is secure so you won’t have any leaks.

2. Combine all ingredients and stirring until well mixed.

3. Let mixture stand a few minutes.

4. Place tubes on plate. Pour mixture into holders and let stand until semi-firm.

5. Remove holders and let dry completely. Chalk should be ready to use in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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