Nature Prints

When we were visiting St. Louis years ago, we went to the most fabulous children's museums.  While we were there my daughter was able to do some sculpting.  They used crayola air dry clay and they had a spot to leave the sculptures while you did other activities so you could come back to get them later.  Unfortunately we forgot to go back to get it.  My daughter was distraught at the time over this so I told her I would go buy the clay so we could do it at home.  Well, I bought the clay and over three years later we still hadn't used it once.

So when I saw this at Artful Parent's blog while looking for play dough activity ideas.  I had to give it a try.
Since I had never used this, it was fairly dry.   I added water to it and worked it around
Even with lots of water added the clay was still very tough to work with.  This made it really hard for the kids to participate much.
The kids went out to the garden and picked a few things they thought would make fun textures
Getting ready to do our first press
Project fail -- either the air dry clay is too hard or you need to dry your plants hard first because this didn't work at all
I thought a harder flower might work better.  Project Fail again.
After a few more fails I found that putting my nature item into water and then getting the dough already formed into the flat surface I wanted and just pressing down helped a lot
Everything stuck right into the clay so you have to be careful as you pull it off the disk of clay
Finally a beauty
We left them out turning them back and forth every 5 hours or so and over a day time they all dried nice and hard
So this wasn't as wonderful as I thought it might be.  It was much harder than I thought.  Next time I will probably want to get sculpey dough because it might turn out prettier like over at Artful Parent.  Soon we will make play dough and see what these look like when we press them in the dough.  I think that will be much more fun for the kids than this was.  I do have to say that working with the clay was very relaxing and fun for me!

Linked to:
Sunday Showcase, craft school Sunday, link and learn, marvelously messy,


  1. how pretty, I have some air dry clay so I think ill try these with my daycare children

  2. These are wonderful - my daughter and I did a very similar craft this week as well using homemade air dry clay and painting them afterwards! Thanks for sharing!


  3. We did a similar craft using dough made from coffee grounds! It made very cool "fossils" that look like stone when dry.


    Thanks for sharing your air dry clay prints--I'm thinking they would make neat Christmas ornaments!

  4. a perfect summer craft! thanks for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  5. This looks like fun. We have done similar things with toy dinosaurs and bugs creating "fossils". We have also done handprints which make a great keepsake. We'll have to use this stuff in a more nature-oriented way now....

  6. this does look fun & you can jzz them up by painting them! :) Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase!


  7. What a great idea- and how many science activities can be created from this! Thanks for linking up at The Sunday Showcase!
    Classified: Mom

  8. i love the fact that it has a science correlation!! they might be fun to make and then paint too.((hmmmm...) i love jean's site too! thanks so much for linking this up to my tip-toe thru tuesday party! hope to see you next week!

  9. Even though it was harder than you thought, I think it turned out fabulous! What about having a day of painting them? Just the printed part, or the whole sculpture! It's beautiful either way :) I features this on It's Playtime this week with a theme of Art without painting :) Thanks!!

  10. Love how you experimented and tried ways to make it work!!

    We have tried this with 'AMACO' air dry clay. First we roll them flat with rolling pins, then place the leaf over it and roll it over the leaf (get better imprints).
    And later with some(esp large leaf) we cut around the edges with crinkle cut knife and painted green!!


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