Jonni Good, Ultimate Paper Mache
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Paper Mache Recipes, Tips, Techniques, and Experiments

New Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Better Measurements

I wanted to standardize the new air-dry clay recipe, so it will come out exactly the same every time. To do that, I measured the ingredients, and took special care to weigh the toilet paper after the water was squeezed out.

The toilet paper can be squeezed too dry, and if that happens you end up with lumps in your clay. The only way to know for sure that you’re squeezing it exactly the same amount every single time is to use a scale. I know that most people in Europe use a scale in their kitchen, but you may not have one if you live in the States – unless you’re into baking great bread. If you don’t have a scale, you might still want to watch the video to see how the paper looks before it’s mixed in with the other ingredients.

The air-dry clay recipe, with both cups and gram measurements:

First, mix together –
1/2 cup toilet paper (24 grams dry, 110 grams wet)
1/2 cup Joint Compound (200 grams)
1/2 cup Elmer’s glue (130 grams)
1/2 cup corn starch (70 grams)
3 tablespoons mineral oil (or use linseed oil or any vegetable oil)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (70 grams) to start

Then, add up to 3/4 cup (100 grams) all-purpose flour and mix.

About the author

Jonni Good

I'm a sculptor, author, gardener, and grandma. When I'm not catering to the needs of my obnoxious cat, I make videos, create stuff, and play around with paper mache. I'm also the author of several highly-rated books on paper mache. You'll find them in the sidebar, and on


  • Thank you for the awesome recipe! The clay is a huge jump from flour paste and paper strips, and it’s actually fun to work with. It doesn’t make nearly as much mess either. One question though, do you think it would be possible to make the recipe without the cornstarch?

    • Yes, the original paper mache clay recipe doesn’t include corn starch, so this one will probably work without it, too. It will probably be stickier, but that should be OK – it would stick to your armature better. Give it a try, and let us know if you like it without the corn starch.

  • HI Jonni, I love your work and I just ordered your book from amazon uk. I work with adults with learning disabilities and in a few weeks time I will be supporting them to make paper mache animals using your recipes and techniques. I just am not sure if joint compound is toxic in any way, that is should we wear gloves whem mixing it up, or maybe I should mix it up. None of them put stuff in their mouths and my guys are quite good at following instructions, I just need to ensure I work safely with them.

    • Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for buying my book – I hope you get a lot of good out of it.

      The joint compound isn’t allowed in some school districts in the States, but I think it’s because you can’t sand it without wearing a mask. I normally use a mixer to mix it up, and apply it in thin layers with a knife, so I don’t bother to wear gloves. However, if your students want to apply the PM clay with their hands, like some of my other readers, you’ll want them to wear gloves. The calcium content of the joint compound can dry out the skin. You really don’t want anyone eating joint compound (or the glue or toilet paper either, for that matter), but I do caution parents of young children that the mixed up batch looks a lot like cookie dough, and they might sneak a taste while parents aren’t looking. I don’t think it would taste very good, and it doesn’t sound like that would be a problem with your class, anyway.

      If you check with your school administrator and they say you can’t use the joint compound, you can always go back to the paper strips and paste over armatures that were built with a pattern. It takes a little longer, but the patterns will still ensure that the sculptures come out nice, no matter what material you use for the skin.

      Have fun! And if your students would like to share their work when the pieces are finished, you’re more than welcome to post images in the comment area on my blog.

  • I have a paper mache dog I am making and it is
    covered with the masking tape. Can I use the smooth
    air dry clay recipe to cover the masking tape?
    I was going the use the paper clay recipe but
    I wanted to use the air dry clay recipe to get
    a smoother surface.

    • Hi Maggie. Yes, you can use the air dry clay recipe over your paper mache dog. You might want to watch this video to see the clay being applied to a sculpture. It isn’t as sticky as the original paper mache clay recipe, so there are a few tricks to making it work the way you want it to.


  • Hi Jonni, I have a question for you, I don’t know what Joint Compound is. I’m from Portugal, and I don’t know what is Joint Compound called in my country. Can you tell me if there is another thing that I can use instead?
    Sorry for any mistakes!
    Thanks a lot, love your work.

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