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.

Note: This clay is intended to be used as a thin layer over an armature, like regular paper mache. It won’t dry all the way through if you use it as a solid mass, like ‘real’ clay. Also, there are some tricks to using it. Be sure to watch this video to see how it’s done.

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 (baby 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.

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848 Comments

  • Hi Jonni,
    first of all you really do amazing stuff, congratulations! I just bought your book on masks because I will need to do several masks inspired to the Greek tragedy. The masks will be used as decoration for a benefit event inspired to Greece and my idea would be to do two masks (tragedy and comedy) and one others inspired to satires, gods and the like. I am planning on using some plastic molds as an armature for the mask. I wanted to ask you if you believe your paper mache recipe or the air clay one would be best for this project. I saw that in your book you seem to never use the air clay for the masks but I am afraid the paper mach would not be easy to use in order to make details like curls for the hair and/or grapes on their head like I am planning to. What do you advise to do? Thanks and, again, amazing job!

    • Hi Monica. I don’t normally use the pm clay for the main body of a mask that’s intended to be worn, because it dries so hard and isn’t very comfortable. But for a display mask, it would work just fine. The air dry clay recipe on this page is smoother than the original recipe, but it has less paper so it’s not quite as strong. Some people use this recipe as a second layer, over the original recipe, so they can have the best qualities of both versions. Others like to make the main shapes with paper strips and paste, just so they have a base, and then they add the air dry clay for details.

      Just to complicate things by giving you another option, you can use a few layers of plaster cloth for that basic shape, (in place of the paper strips and paste), and use your pm clay on top of that. The plaster cloth hardens really fast, and you can start applying your details even before the plaster cloth is fully dry. This would make a heavier mask, and it wouldn’t be a great idea for one you wear, but it does speed up the making of a display mask.

      I hope you’ll let us see your masks when they’re done. This sounds like a really fun project.

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