How to Make Cornstarch Beads

These beads mimic clay and are easy and fun to work with. They're perfect for preschoolers to make and play with, teaching them patterning, or sequencing, which helps lay the groundwork for reading and science. And they can be used in kid's craft projects requiring beads.


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • hot water
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • Tempera paint powder in at least two colors (optional)


  1. Image titled CornstarchBeads Step 1
    Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Mix a little bit of tempera paint powder into the hot water, tablespoon of olive oil and add it a little bit at a time to the dry mix, until it forms a sticky dough. The consistency should be similar to clay.
    • If you’d rather not go through the work of dividing the dough into multiple bowls for coloring, you can make this recipe with plain water, without the tempera powder, and allow your child to color the beads by hand once they’re dry, using ready-made paint.
  2. Image titled CornstarchBeads Step 2
    Roll the dough into small balls (these will be your beads) and poke a hole into each one with a pencil, knitting needle, or toothpick. Make sure to make the hole is big enough for yarn or string to pass through.
  3. Image titled CornstarchBeads Step 3
    Put the clay beads on a covered cookie sheet and allow them to dry outside on a sunny day. Depending on the weather, this can take up to a week, so you might also like to clear space on a sunny windowsill for nights and less sunny days.
  4. Image titled CornstarchBeads Step 4
    When the clay is dry, it’s ready for beading. Cut a piece of yarn into the appropriate length for your child’s necklace or bracelet, wrap a piece of masking tape around one end to make stringing easier, knot the other end, and set them to work!
  5. 5
    If you want, you can coat the beads in lacquer or varnish them before beading so that you don't have to worry if they fall in water and it also gives a shiny finish.


  • This recipe is enough to make one color of bead. Double or triple it for each additional color.


  • Don't Add Too Much Water Or It's Going To Be Sticky.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Tempera paint powder in at least two colors
  • Warm water
  • Several mixing bowls
  • Pencil, knitting needles, or toothpicks
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape

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