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.

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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 amazon.com

796 Comments

  • 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.

      Enjoy!

  • 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.

    • I don’t know what the drywall joint compound is called there, but a reader from Brazil says they call it Massa Corrida. I don’t know if any other product can be used instead.

  • Jonni – You’re fabulous I love all your creations! I am a true beginner and have made a couple of things that are ready for paint, which prompts me to ask you, what is the best paint to use for this clay or what is your favorite paint? I just want to make sure I don’t make a big mess! And btw, this new clay recipe is awsome!!!!!!!!

  • Thank you Jonni for the direction. I’m working on a paper mache baseball with my nine year old for a school project. It is his first experience with paper mache, and while he was a tad hesitant in the beginning he soon got used to the paste. He now has a list of paper mache projects that he’d like to attempt. I’m going to try to make the clay for him. I would love if this is the key to getting him away from technology!!!! 🙂

  • You provide a LOT of useful information, Jonni! Thank you! One thing I am wondering about is if either of your recipes would stick to hard plastic? I would like to use your recipe to make a mold of a section of smooth plastic (some curves), and I’m wondering if it will release easily enough without treatment, or if I need to line it with plastic wrap. Have you ever used it that way?

    • I have not – I would test a small place first, just to make sure it comes off cleanly. Remember that it will feel dry on the top, while still wet where the pm clay is next to the plastic, because air won’t be able to circulate. Give it plenty of time to dry before peeling it off. And please let us know if it works or not – this would be good to know.

      • Well, I still don’t know if it sticks to plastic — after three days, it was still damp when I removed it from the hard plastic. But it released fairly easily, once I got my fingernail under it. This piece was about 1/4″ thick. I turned it over after removing it, and it still didn’t want to dry inside — maybe the skin that had formed on the outside was preventing it. I’m too impatient to see if it dried in a week or two, and tossed it

        Next, I rolled out a thinner piece in an oval shape (1/8″ thick, 7″ x 3.5″) and formed it around a glass jar (no lubricant used). After two days, the outside was hard, so I lifted it off; it wanted to hold on, but did release. The area against the glass was still somewhat soft and damp, BUT it did retain its shape very well (think wide wrist cuff). I was impressed! I left it sitting on the top of the stove (between the burners) while I baked some biscuits. It’s hard now, and its shape didn’t change much — I was able to get it back over the jar with only a bit of difficulty. There appeared to be a small amount of shinkage and distortion, but it was quite minimal. If it shrank in thickness at all, it was so little that I was unable to measure it.

        But what REALLY surprised me was its strength! Grasping the cuff firmly in both hands, I was just BARELY able to break it in half — I really had to force it, and if it had been any thicker than 1/8″, or wider, I’m not sure that I could have done it without a pair of Vice-Grips. And this was without ANY kind of support material other than the jar itself.

        This stuff could be used for hollow, stand-alone moldings. BRILLIANT!

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