Cold porcelain, aka "porcelana fria", is a modeling material brought to us from Argentina.
It is mostly used to sculpt small figurines and flower decorations, but is also ideal for beads,
jewelry or even fun pencil toppers.
It is called cold porcelain because it does not need to be fired.
As it dries, it becomes hard, with a velvety, slightly translucent, finish, just like true porcelain. You can dye or paint it.
Made with low-priced and natural ingredients - white glue and cornstarch - cold porcelain is both inexpensive and eco-friendly.
In a salad bowl (or non-stick pan) mix 3 cups of white glue and 3 cups of cornstarch.
Add one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of glycerin*, 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
Blend thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Heat in a microwave oven or in a saucepan on the stove.
For microwave heating: Cook in a microwave-compatible recipient for 2 to 3 minutes on high (for a 800W oven; longer for a less powerful oven).
Stop every 30 seconds to mix. During the last 30 seconds, stop every 10 seconds to check the consistency of the mixture.
As soon as the dough becomes thick and lumpy (like ricotta cheese), remove from the oven.
Stovetop: Cook in a saucepan over low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon.
As soon as the dough becomes thick and lumpy (like ricotta cheese) and starts to pull away from the side of the pan, remove from heat.
Cooking is the only tricky step to making cold porcelain.
You need to cook just long enough to thicken the dough but not too long, otherwise it will be too hard and impossible to work with.
Coat your working surface and your hands with cold cream or hand cream.
Knead the dough until it has cooled. It can be quite hot to begin with, so take care.
The dough is sticky and lumpy at first, but as you knead it, it becomes smooth and supple.
Make a large ball and store it in an airtight container for 24 hours before using it.
To make this green mouse, a ball of cold porcelain was slightly tapered at one end to form a pear shape.
The ears are made of two little balls. For each eye, a pin was inserted through a bead.
A beaded cotton thread makes a decorative tail. Let the figurine air dry, avoiding drafts and changes in temperature.
The drying time depends on the size of your figurine.
The long necklace pictured above was made with rolled-up ropes of dough.
The beads were decorated with acrylic paint and gold wax on both sides.
Insert two eye pins
into each coil. Link up the eyes to three chain links. Finish the necklace with the rest of the chain.
* Glycerin: You can find this in hobby stores (it is used to make soap, for example).
The blog of a pioneer of cold porcelain (in Spanish): a recipe by an Argentinian woman, Andrea.