Step 1: Create the mud

In a clean container, add dirt to water. Start by adding a small

amount of dirt, mix, and slowly add more dirt until the mud

reaches an even consistency, like cookie dough.

Step 2: Create the core

Grab a handful of mud and begin to shape it into a sphere with

both hands, squeezing out as much water as you can. Eliminate

irregularities from the mass by gently shaking it. The vibration

removes voids, increases surface moisture, and facilitates

compaction. As you shape/shake the mud, clayey particles will

migrate to the surface, forming a slip layer that will make it easier

to smooth the mass into a sphere. Proceed to step 3 when the

ball becomes tacky to the touch.

Step 3: Create the capsule

Holding the ball in one hand, grab handfuls of dirt with the other

and sprinkle the dirt over the ball. With your thumb, gently sweep

the excess off, rotating the ball as you do so. Use the outer

curvature of your thumb, near the base, to do this. The newly

added dirt will absorb the surface moisture very quickly. Work the

ball to a point where it retains its shape but isn’t so dry that cracks

begin to form.

Step 4: Build the shell

Run your hand through screened dirt and pat the fine particles

that stick to your hand into the surface of the dorodango.

Repeat until the surface feels oily or until particles fail to stick

to the surface.

Step 5: Polish and dry

Polish with a soft cloth—carefully at first if any moisture is present,

or the cloth will mar the surface. Polish or buff more vigorously

once the ball is dry. A glass bowl can be used to compress the

surface and bring about a higher shine.