Bobcat Sculpture

Paper Mache Clay

Several years ago I developed a new recipe for a sculptural material I call “paper mache clay.” This material is so easy to use and so easy to make that I now use it exclusively for all my paper mache sculptures. The recipe has now gone “viral” and is being used by artists all over the world.

It might be a bit more accurate to call this material “home-made air-dried cellulose-reinforced polymer clay,” but that’s way too hard to say (or type!), so for now, let’s just call it paper mache clay.

Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache ClayThe first video below shows how to make the paper mache clay, and the second video answers some common questions that I’ve received from readers since I first developed this recipe. Below the videos you’ll find the recipe written out, and a few comments about how it’s used. (This recipe is the basis for my book “Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay.”)

 

I usually make mine fairly thin so it can be spread over an armature like frosting, by using less flour than the recipe calls for – but you can also make it thicker, with more flour, when you want more control over the modeling process. The clay dries extremely hard when applied in a very thin layer (1/8 to 1/4″ thick), and it seems to dry much faster than traditional paper mache pulp. (And it only takes about 5 minutes to make).

Paper Mache Clay on Snow Leopard Sculpture

Paper Mache Clay on Snow Leopard Sculpture

As you can see above, the clay can be modeled into fairly fine details. Using the clay for modeling feels much more intuitive than creating sculptures with paper strips and paste, and once the clay is dry it is a pleasure to paint.

The ingredients are inexpensive, and can be found at your local grocery store and hardware store. You will need:

  • Cheap toilet paper (measure the wet paper pulp, and use 1 1/4 cups – some rolls contain more paper than needed)
  • 1 cup Joint compound from the hardware store (get premixed “regular,” that comes in a plastic tub, not the dry powder form.) (Not sure what Joint compound is, or what it’s called in your country? click here.) Note: buy any brand except DAP. The DAP brand does not work.
  • 3/4 cup Elmer’s Glue-all (PVA glue)
  • 1/2 cup White Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Linseed Oil or Mineral Oil (Linseed oil contains chemicals, so mineral oil is a better choice if you’re working with kids, or if you like to get your hands in the clay)

See the video below for details on making your clay. And if you try this recipe, please let us all know what you think of it–and also please share a photo of your finished work. We’d love to see how it comes out. (Can’t see the video? See the instructions printed below).

[Edit 2/12/2011 –  If you find that your clay seems “rubbery” instead of smooth and creamy, you may need to use a different brand of joint compound. They all make their products using different formulas. Most of them work, but if you find one that doesn’t, please let us know. ]

Making Your Paper Mache Clay

Tools:

You’ll also need a large bowl, (use one with high sides so you don’t splatter clay on your cupboards), an electric mixer, a measuring cup and a tablespoon measure. To keep t he finished clay from drying out, you’ll need an air-tight container. The recipe makes approximately 1 quart of paper mache clay.

Note about Toilet Paper:

Unfortunately, the people who make toilet paper don’t expect us to turn their product into great works of art, so they see no reason to include the kind of information that would make things a lot easier for us.

I use a brand called “Angel Soft,” in the “regular” 2-ply rolls. I buy it at my local Wal-Mart. Each roll contains approximately 1 1/4 cup of paper, which I measured by wetting the paper, squeezing out the water, and then firmly squishing it into a measuring cup.

Since brands differ so much, the first time you make this recipe you should take a few minutes to find out how much paper is in the first roll. Then adjust the recipe if your brand don’t contain about 1 1/4 cup of paper. Fortunately, this is not a chemistry experiment or rocket science – if your mixture contains a little more paper than mine, or a little less, your sculptures will still be stunning.

Step 1. Fill a high-sided bowl with warm water. Remove the toilet paper from the roll and throw it into the water. Push down on the paper to make sure all of it gets wet.

Step 2. Then pick up the paper and squeeze out as much water as you can. Pour the water out of the bowl and put your paper mass back in.

Step 3. You will want to break the paper into chunks about 1″ across. This will allow your mixer to move around the pieces and break them apart.

Step 4. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix, using an electric mixer. The mixer will pull the fibers of the toilet paper apart and turn it into pulp. Continue to mix for at least 3 minutes to make sure all the paper has been mixed in with the other ingredients. If you still see some lumps, use a fork or your fingers (with the mixer turned off!) to break them apart, and then mix some more.

Your paper mache clay is now ready to use. It will look a bit like cookie dough – but don’t eat it!

If you don’t plan to use your clay right away, place it in an airtight container to keep it from drying out. The clay should stay usable for 5 days or more, if you keep it covered. The recipe makes about 1 quart.

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3,761 Comments

  • I’m from Germany where there is no such thing as “joint compound.” Does plaster/gesso work also, if I mix it? We do have an already mixed/stirred plaster mixture which is, however, very expensive and seems to amount most to what i find under “joint compound.”
    Thanks!
    MW

    • We were told by another reader that joint compound is called Fugenmasse in Germany. Plaster gets hard quickly, but joint compound dries slowly, and the clay should stay usable for several days if you keep it covered. Our joint compound is made out of calcium carbonate, along with other materials.

  • Help!
    I just unsuccessfully tried to make the paper mache clay. Perhaps you can let me know where I went wrong? I used a blender instead of a hand mixer (this could be the problem) for I ended up having to mix it by hand. The end product was very tacky so I stirred in more paper. That didn’t seem to help too much. Also the joint compound I used is grey so the mixture has a grey tint to it. Any ideas? Thanks, I really want this to work.

    • Hi Raina. The clay will always be quite soft – more like thick frosting than ceramic clay. However, it shouldn’t be that sticky. Did you try adding more flour? Different brands of joint compound have different ingredients, and that might be causing part of the problem. I’d suggest hand-mixing small quantities of each ingredient in a small batch, and see if reducing the glue or adding more flour helps. The grey color may go away when the clay dries. If not, you can cover it with white gesso before painting.

      Good luck – and be sure to tell us how your second batch turns out.

  • I just wanted to say that your site has been an inspiration for me. Also, this clay recipe has changed the appearance of my paper mache sculptures forever!

    Thanks!

  • what’s the linseed oil used for – what does it do in the clay? i just made a batch without it and it seems to work fine, but i can’t compare it to another batch as this si my first one…

    • The oil gives the clay a slightly different texture (a tiny bit easier to spread over the armature) and may help it dry a little faster. You really don’t need it, and many people leave it out.

  • Using food-grade or pharmaceutical grade calcium carbonate will probably not be cost-effective — the requirements for those substances include things that industrial grade or construction grade materials do not have to follow [because, unsurprisingly, people aren’t supposed to eat plaster or spackle].

    You might, though, see if there are any garden supply places that might have the stuff for use as a soil amendment…

  • Nice site, love paper maché. My mother made a similar compound when I was a child, but sans the joint compound and the linseed oil.. I am definitely going try this method. Your work is excellent!

  • I just mixed my very first batch of clay from the recipe. It seems a little sticky.
    I can’t imagine that it would be easy to work with if it’s sticky..and I have to scrape it off my fingers. Should I add more flour? Also, in this recipe, you say to use one roll of toilet paper, but on the you tube page I found the recipe again and it says to use 2 rolls. The one roll easily made 1 and 1/4 cups of wet paper..
    I guess I’ll need more practice here..

    Thanks, Susan

    • Hi Susan. Different paper manufacturers use different amounts of paper in their rolls – that’s why measuring is important. I never use my fingers to apply the paper mache clay – it is much easier to spread it onto the armature, in a thin layer, with a knife. If it seems too thin you can adjust it with more flour.

      • Oh I see Jonni. Well, I played with it a little bit, and added more toilet paper to the mix and it seems to be more do-able now. It is amazing how different people use paper mache.
        I am new to paper mache, but I am hoping to learn a lot here from you all.

  • I came across this recipe and am very excited to try it out, however I purchased some joint compound from my local Home Depot and on the label it says things like “Harmful if inhaled” and “this product contains chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm.” Are you sure that this is safe to work with bare-handed?

    • Sarah, I don’t actually use my bare hands when I work with the material, simply because it so much easier and less messy to spread the paper mache clay over the armature with a knife. The dust is harmful if inhaled, so I do suggest that you use a mask if you sand the dried clay. I don’t like sanding very much, so I try to smooth the clay as much as I can when it’s wet with a damp knife, and then I smooth it some more, if needed, with a layer or two of home-made gesso – this can be smoothed with a damp sponge or soft brush after it dries, and that removes all need for sanding.

      The ingredients are definitely intended for construction workers, not artists, and need to be used with care. However, many artists’ materials also need to be used with care, too.

      • YOU CAN MAKE HOME-MADE GESSO!!!???? that is sooo cool! i couldnt find any in the local walmart and i didnt want to order any. whould you mind sharing your recipe?

        • Sure. For an easy recipe, mix some white glue, joint compound, and a dab of white acrylic paint. I use about one teaspoon of glue and one tablespoon of joint compound. This will result in a somewhat thin gesso. If you want to get fancy and if you have access to a store that sells powdered marble (calcium carbonate) you could use the following recipe:

          2 parts PVA glue (Elmers)
          4 parts water
          8 parts calcium carbonate (marble dust) or more, to achieve the consistency you want
          And 1 part titanium or zinc white pigment, by volume.

          • You can use tablespoons, or cups, or buckets – as long as you keep the numbers the same, the thing you use to measure doesn’t matter.

          • on a paper mache blog, why are we having a conversation about the awesomeness of capitol letters? you know, Carmelina, i have a feeling that if we lived near eachother, we’d be friends. maybe were e-pals

          • We would totally be friends if we lived in the same city!!! Definitly e-pals!! Call me Carmen!! HAPPY EASTER TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE AND TO THOSE WHO DON’T THEN HAPPY SUNDAY!!!
            Anyway, Bob C. came up with an excellent idea!!! He suggests using calcium carbonate powder form (food grade) to replace the prejoint compound! It is safe since it is in most foods and the material safety data sheet states it’s non-toxic. It has .01 mg- .05 mg of Silica, quartz but not enough to be considered hazardous to your health. It is basically limestone-used in white chalk!!. When mixing it up in the Jonni clay recipe always use precautions-wear gloves and a respirator or mask. This chemical will replace the prejoint compound!! http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=FGcc1
            http://www.dudadiesel.com/msds/FGcalcarb.pdf
            I will try this experiment out and let everyone know the results. I strongly believe it will work!!! I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW AS SOON AS I GET IT IN THE MAIL!! ALL CREDIT GOES TO BOB C. CHEERS ALL FOR NOW!!!

          • I recently discovered calcium carbonate (the main ingredient in wallboard [joint] compound) is also the main ingredient in antacid tablets. So I made up a tiny batch of modified JonniClay using a generic antacid tablet we happen to have around the house.

            I wanted to see if I could replace the joint compound I use in making PM clay with calcium carbonate powder directly from http://www.dudadiesel.com/search.php?query=calcium+Carbonate. I believe I said we could use the non food grade of calcium carbonate and it costs a bit less.

            As a “quick and dirty” experiment I mashed up the generic antacid tablet and without measuring but estimating the ratios, I made it like JonniClay but didn’t use any linseed oil.

            I was a bit dry as I rolled it a bit too much on newspaper to remove some moisture so it could be rolled and shaped into a “ball and bat” shape, see the pic. More to follow.

          • Interesting – you can get calcium carbonate (ground marble, chalk) at some online art stores and, I was told, at sporting goods stores where they sell chalk for marking football fields. The prices tend to be a little high. Bob, my math skills are limited and the calcium carbonate is dry, so how do you think the price compares with pre-mixed joint compound (which is calcium carbonate with other stuff added)?

          • Jonni, The latest tub of wall board compound I bought cost me about $5, it weighs 3 pounds and has water in it (of course) as well as the nasty stuff, crystalline Silica. So I end up paying for water (heavy) and additives I don’t want, crystalline Silica. I’m thinking the $7.25 dry weight (includes shipping) for additive free calcium carbonate maybe an OK price being only $2.25 more. I think I mentioned my last tub of wallboard compound did NOT list crystalline Silica. I don’t know the weight per unit volume so I can’t yet say how much wallboard compound this 1lb container of calcium carbonate will make when mixed with water. A pound of feathers is not the same volume as a pound of lead.

            I did a little experiment to see what was required to get the consistency of wallboard compound using the antacid tablets (a green one and a pink one) with water. I did this by measuring the VOLUME not weight of the tablets I have. I got a mixture with a consistency very much like (brown) wallboard compound. It did seem to work.

            The ratio I ended up with was about 5:1 5 parts of crushed tablet to 1 part of water to get a wallboard (joint) like compound. See the picture.

            Reading the tablet bottle label a bit more closely it shows the tablet is not just 1000 mg of calcium carbonate but also 425 mg of calcium, 10 mg of magnesium with no amounts given for adipic acid, dextrose, mineral oil, polyethylene glycol, the food color…etc. etc. So there are several unknown variables in this experiment but I suspect the “pure” calcium carbonate will test as well if not better…I will know more in a few days when it arrives.

            Given the above information and doing a back of the envelope calculation I would “guesstimate” a 1lb bottle of these antacid tablets will make a bit under 1.5 lbs of antacid wallboard compound when combined with water alone. This “guesstimate” does not include adding PVA glue, TP pulp and white flour so the weight and volume should increase. In addition, if a local source can be found to eliminate the shipping costs this would be very cost effective as well as being free of unwanted ingredients.

            Bob C.

          • Bob, my math skills are limited, but I’ll try to figure this out…

            The powdered marble available online from DickBlick.com costs $6.95 for 4 pounds. If I used my calculator correctly, that would make up about 6 pounds of paste. (Of course, one could just squeeze out less water from the paper pulp and mix in the dry powder, but that’s for another discussion.) My tub of wall board compound weighs 12 pounds (considerably more than the one you purchased, for some reason). That means that making your own “joint compound” with the calcium carbonate would just about double the cost of that portion of the recipe. Since the recipe as it stands is much less expensive than commercial products, it would still be cheaper than buying Celluclay or other similar product.

            I used up the last of my powdered marble (pure calcium carbonate) on some project or other, so I can’t test it myself. I think I’ll order some – even though the resulting paper mache clay will be a bit more expensive, it would be nice to see how it works. You like to make your clay quite stiff, and I like mine quite thin so it spreads easily. I’d like to test it to see if this change would crack or shrink too much when spread in a thin layer. Maybe that extra stuff that’s in the joint compound improves the final mix in some way that we don’t know about. I’ll order some today.

          • I’ve done similar experiments, tho usually having some of the joint compound in as well. I’ll add calcium carbonate if my clay is too wet, and I want a smoother spread (which is why I’m not adding more paper pulp).

            I bought mine at a pottery / ceramics supply place. They get it and sell it in bulk, so the more you buy, the cheaper it is (1lb @ 1.75; 10lbs @ $10).

            In addition to garden centers, you might look around and see if there’s a clay or ceramics supplier nearby.

            — Beth

          • Jonni, I have heard of Blick Art Materials but have never purchased anything from them. After looking at the link you provided I can see their prices are much better then the source I used, dudadiesel.com. I paid $7.25 for 1 lb of industrial grade calcium carbonate (that includes shipping) vs $15 for 4 lbs (also includes shipping) at Blick’s.

            The last batch of modified JonniClay I made was very, very creamy because I substituted olive oil and liquid dish washing soap (%50 of each) to match the amount of linseed oil in your original recipe. In fact it is so smooth and creamy it is translucent near the edges when thinly spread and dried. I was and remain very surprised by this, it has been amazing to use. It is almost gone now so I will be making a new batch soon but you’re right I do like my PM clay a bit stiffer but was very pleased with this batch I just had to learn how to handle it vs a stiffer mix. I think I will reduce the amount of oil and liquid soap by %50 for my new batch. And it’s easier to add more then remove it!

          • OOOOPS Sorry Bob C.
            Bob C. will be using Calcium Carbonate powder NON- FOOD GRADE in his next projects : )

    • Hi Sarah B. I know your concerns with joint compound. As long as you wear gloves to mix it thoroughly it should be fine. THERE IS A POWDERED NON TOXIC SUBSTANCE YOU CAN USE THAT I CAME ACROSS 2 MONTHS AGO AND POSTED ON HERE!! ITS CALLED ACTIVA PLASTER OF PARIS NON TOXIC!! KIDS USE IT IN SCHOOL!!! IT’S SAFE!! It is powedered and when you initially pour it in the mixutre wear a mask and gloves to mix it in thoroughly!! It can be handled and shaped to your liking without the worry of toxicity on the skin. The reason why I wear a mask is that it’s powedered and it can get in the air and irritate the lungs unless you are careful mixing. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY IT’S NON TOXIC which i do like!!! AND IT CAN BE HANDLED!! Experiment with it!! I plan on making a batch using this stuff. I have tested it out and do like the texture of the clay with this activa POP!!! HAVE FUN!!

        • I did test out the clay (small cube) and it does dry up within 1-2 hours, it also depends on the size of your armature and thickness of the clay . I did more research and the website states that Activa plaster is denser than POP. So I am assuming it has calcium carbonate (white chalk powder) which if inhaled can cause lung irritation but like all chemicals incorporated in making clay, there will be some sort of toxicity. Like Jonni say, just use CAUTION-wear gloves, use a putty knife to apply, wear a mask ect… I also found out that creative paperclay has talc powder and volcanic ash also mild toxins if not handled with care. My point is if using these products JUST USE CAUTION. http://jewelrymaking.about.com/od/paperclay/a/122306.htm
          I enjoy making my fun halloween props and of course I use surgical gloves to apply my clay. Like Jonni says which is so true, some art supplies do contain toxins so whatever you use or make USE CAUTION BUT HAVE FUN!!!.

          • Amen. I just checked the label on a tube of cadmium red acrylic paint, and it has warnings all over it. How many people read the tiny words on the back of a tube of paint? And how many people just assume that acrylic paint is safe because you can mix it with water? Nonetheless, I love cadmium red. But I don’t eat the stuff, and I keep it away from my grandson. Not so hard. :)

          • i never even thought to check the toxidity of acrylic paint! wow, it’s like manufactureres are out to get us! oh well, i’m pretty sure nobody eats paint, so we’re probably ok for the most part, but still remember to be safe. and do latex gloves work when applying JonniClay? i don’t wanna get sick from the stuff and yet i need to use my hands to get some of the details right.

          • Hm – I guess that depends on whether or not you’re allergic to latex. If you’re concerned, by all means wear gloves. Like I said, I never get my hands in the stuff, because my modeling tools and knives do a much better job with the details than I could do with my fingers.

          • I bought a box of gloves and I use them when handling all of these products. Although I use a knife to apply the clay… I still wear gloves.

            Better safe… than sorry!! :)

      • I think I’d prefer to use that since I have a 2-year-old running around the house. When you mix it in, do you use the same amount as the joint compound (1 cup)?

        • This is slightly irrelevant, but the words “running around the house” reminded me of something. Dogs are attracted to powdered calcium, which means they will like Plaster of Paris off the floor if the dust lands there. (My dog is still walking around, so it might not hurt anything). You would probably want to keep any bowl out of reach of both dogs and kids, even if you use the “non-toxic” plaster. Just in case.

          • That’s true Jonni. I mix the ingredients outside with a mask and gloves. Yes Sarah B. 1 cup should be fine and don’t forget to wear a mask and gloves just to be safe!! I wouldn’t want non-toxic powdered substance in my lungs, it wouldn’t feel good especially being mildly asthmatic. I have two dogs and a cat so I use the UTMOST precautionary measures when mixing.

  • are you using pipe joint compound or sheet rock? thanks for the tips, Jonni!
    ~Leah
    and how long does it take to dry?

    • Sheet rock joint compound.

      The drying time depends on how thick you apply the skin coat (I try to get it under 1/4 inch thick) and the temperature of the room where it dries. You can speed the drying by putting the sculpture in front of a fan or over a furnace heat vent. The moving air takes away the moisture and lets it dry faster.

  • This looks wonderful! I think I’ll give it a try. I don’t have the facilities to use my soft pastels any more (dust has to be contained) so I am always looking for new and creative ways to create. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • i love this recipe! but do you make the paper frame like you normally would and then do the clay on top rather than layers of news paper, or does it go over the layers of news paper and glue?
    thanks!
    ~leah

    • and can it actually be sculpted into ears and eyes and things or is it just and over coat to smooth things out??? thanks!

      • Not sure if you are asking Jonni this question or me but here is my response. It’s your choice. I like to make the hard shell paper mache (like 3 layers) on my armature then wait a day or two for it to dry. I then put the Jonni Clay on the hard shell and make my form. Yes you can form ears, noses ect. The best clay to use for detail and smoothness, though, is creative paper clay (pricey unless you have a coupon) you buy in the craft stores. YEP I LOVE CAPS!!! LOL! D YESSSSSSSSSS I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!!!! I will post my skull here pretty soon!! Have fun!!

        • Interesting – I have never actually tried using the paper mache clay over a paper and paste shell – the double layer must make incredibly strong sculptures. I just use a knife to spread the clay over an armature that has been tightly covered with masking tape. With the rhino I may do the exact opposite – build the shell with the clay, and then use a final layer of textured paper over the top, both to create the weird bumps and pores of rhino skin, and to give the final waterproof coating something to soak in to. It’s so much fun seeing so many different techniques –

      • Yes, you can sculpt ears and eyes and things. You will need support for ears. I use either light cardboard or the aluminum grid that you can find at the hardware store. It’s intended to be used to keep leaves out of gutters. 1/4 inch hardware cloth would work, too, for really big elephant-sized ears. The eyes, nose and ears on the pig at the very top of this page were all made with paper mache clay.

  • I agree with the comments above, Jonni. I think you are a natural teacher. So go share your talents and help others fortunate enough to be in a class with you!

  • HI Jonni
    I would say.. GIVE YOUR ART CLASSES. You are so sharing on here, I am sure it would come though in person. I have given, and been to a few sculpture classes. (for amature wannabe’s like me) and the most important thing is encouragement, for those who don’t feel confident, once you can get people to believe in themselves, there is no stopping them.
    Chris

    • OMG!! HOW WEIRD YOU TALK ABOUT CONFIDENCE, CHRIS!! I HAD A DREAM TWO NIGHTS AGO TELLING MYSELF I LACK CONFIDENCE!! HOW STRANGE!! I actually do and wanted to quit doing paper mache BUT NOT A CHANCE!! I love doing this stuff!! As for Jonni, Chris hit it right on!!! TEACH ART JONNI!! YOU ARE VERY GOOD AT IT!!!
      Just a note, I plan on making little pumpkins with fake tee lights. It’s going to be cool.

          • and i understand your fealings about halloween. it’s sooo awesome! it’s probably my favorite holliday! my mom thinks i’m a freak, but i love it.

          • I think some people have tried it, but it isn’t easy to get a smooth mixture. You could try it, though. I often use a paint mixer attachment on my drill, if I’m mixing up more than one batch at a time, and that works. It takes a little longer, though.

          • Hi! I have 10 kids coming over for a paper crafts 4-H meeting and would love to try this. We will use small (3 inch or so) styrofoam balls as face bases. Two questions. Will this clay stick to the styrofoam? And, will the above recipe suffice for !0 faces? I’m not sure what type of sculpture this would make, so I can’t quite picture it in my head.

            Thank you!

          • Hi Wendy. I think the clay will stick to the foam, but I haven’t actually tried that. You may want to mix up a batch before the class, just to make sure. It’s pretty sticky, so I think it will work. Since you’ll be working with kids, be sure to leave out the linseed oil and use mineral oil (baby oil) instead.

            You might want to double the recipe for the class. It’s hard to know exactly how thickly the clay will be applied – I always recommend a thin coat, 1/8″ to 1/4″, applied with a knife, but sometimes people get a bit carried away. That will use up more clay, and take longer to dry.

            The one problem you may have with the foam balls is cracking as the clay dries. It shrinks a bit when it dries, and the foam might not be soft enough to compress under the drying clay. Another good reason to do a test before the class.

            Good luck with it!

  • Hi I am from South Africa, I was looking on the website on how to make large paper mache animals (I hold art classess for kids and adults) And I myself have always wanted to make a large animal out of paper mache – so there I was browings and Ivery pleasantly came across you guys. But also to my surprise and delight I see you use clay to finish the product off and the recipe WOW i was excitted. I have one question (It might be an ignorant one but have to ask it any how) and you have the clay on – then what. Is it hard, waterproof, finnished? or is there more to the process – like painting it with a varnish to harden or …….? Its 10:30 here in Cape Town – and winter is setting in Dark and not too cold yet.
    Love to hear from you guys – all seem like such a friendly sharing caring group.
    Best
    Carin Maehr (I have a website but its for training adults in soft skills) http://www.abouttraining.co.za
    So Art is my passion – and love since a child

    • Hi Carin. Welcome. The paper mache clay dries at least as hard as the paper strips and paste that it replaces. You can leave it like it is, or paint it. I think a protective coat of varnish is a good idea, to keep moisture out.

      If you do a class with very young kids who like to get their hands in their art supplies, substitute glycerine for the linseed oil, or leave it out. Boiled linseed has chemicals added.

      The dried sculptures are not waterproof, but they don’t draw moisture as much as paper strips and paste. Still, in a damp environment, they will eventually mold, I’m sure, if they aren’t given a protective coating.

      Be sure to let us know how your classes turn out. I’ve been thinking about teaching a class here in town, but I’ve never done anything like that so any suggestions would be welcome.

      • OOOOh Jonni I have a question!! I have some clay left over from my pumpkin project and it’s getting moldy so I may throw it out. So when I make my fresh batch can I place it in the refrigerator or would that be a bad idea? I will put salt in it next time.

  • Thanks so much for the clay recipe! I am doing a treehouse doll house for my daughter and I feel if i hadn’t found your site I may have given up doing it the old way as it is such a big project. With your recipe I covered the whole tree in one afternoon and it is drying really well. It actually worked really well for the bark texture. Thanks again it was really clever to come up with it. :)

    • What a great project! I hope you’re taking pictures, because I’d love to see it when it’s done. I’d love to see how you did it, too – did you take progress pictures by any chance?

      • yes i have taken progress pictures. i will be finishing it this weekend as it is her birthday next week. i will post some pictures when I am done!

  • hi, i tried your clay recipe today but it was so hard and did not even form a compound. i put more glue and even some water. can yo help me because i have an order this week. and one more question. in real life what do you use joint compound for? i am in Turkey and i couldnt find the name in Turkish. maybe it may help. thanks

    • Hi Melis. The joint compound (also called joint filler) is used when walls are made out of plaster board. The cracks between two boards are covered with some special paper tape, and then the joint compound is spread very thinly over the paper, making the wall completely smooth. This construction method is very common here in the US, but it may not be common in Turkey. The joint compound does not contain any plaster, so it stays usable until it dries. It comes in a plastic tub, already mixed with water. The primary ingredient is calcium carbonate, also called chalk.

      I hope this helps. If not, you may need to go back to using paper strips and paste. If you do find out what this product is called in Turkey, please let us know.

  • I am wanting to try and use the clay to make a giant cracked easter egg to put my 2 and 4 yr old in to take pics for their bday .. any pointers before I start, gonna be a BIG job

    • What a great idea. Since the shell will have no support, and it’s quite large, it might need to be reinforced. I’ve never tried anything like this. Does anyone out there have some advice for Kendra?

        • Hi Kendra
          I would start by using a garbage bag, packed with scrunched newspaper to get the shape you want, tape it up firmly. Then cover with masking tape, and apply the Jonniclay. If you are only going to use it once or twice for pictures, I would not go for much support, maybe just a few coats of clay until it is it strong enough. If it is a cracked easter egg, you could cut the broken bits to the shape you want, if you are going to cut the top off, (like a boiled egg), then pull the garbage bag and paper out. I would do the cutting after just one coat of Jonniclay, otherwise it can be hard to cut. Then you could stick some sort of padding inside to make it comfy for the kids to sit in. Just the way I would approch it. Others who have done similar may have other ideas.
          Chris

  • Hello Jonni ! This is an awesome website and resource that you have created here. I really like how you freely share all your knowledge, experience and tutorials without having any secrets or withholding crucial information. I am myself a very amateur papermache hobbyist and I started with this hobby when I was just 8 years old. Since then I have made many things, most notably two turtles and an egyptian canopic jar. I am now going to buy your book and again start with a small project, thank you so very much for all the inspiration and help.

    Regards Amey

  • I have read through a lot of comments, but I am NOT a crafty person, so I will ask anyway! Can I use the clay method to cover a balloon shape for a pinata? Is it too strong for kids to break open? We would be making it as a cub scout project…so the clay seems good as we can cover the balloon in one night! Thanks….I will try this no matter what with my own kids!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      The pinata will be too hard for the boys to break. Jonni’s clay is pretty tough. My sister, making her pinata for the first time, put 3 layers of paper mache (no clay) on hers. Two days later she pinned it up and the kids couldn’t break it NOT EVEN HER HUSBAND! LOL! 1 layer of paper mache will do (no clay needed). Check out Jonni’s recipe on paper mache paste : ) Have fun!!

      • I agree, Carmelina. In fact, I intended to say exactly the same thing, but somehow I got distracted and forgot to chime in. I’m glad you beat me to it. :)

        • You are welcome Jonni : ) No problem! I will post some more pics of whimsical cutsie type of halloween props soon. I would make some scary stuff but my sisters are already chastising me for even thinking of making scary zombie props. LOL. SISTERS!! I will warm them up to the idea : ) I may just make some neat dragons sometime soon. Talk to you soon : )

      • be careful with pinatas, though. one time i made one that looked like a pineapple for a birthday party, and the leaves on top of the pinata were connected to the wire that held it up. we go it up there, hit it once, and the bottom fell off and just the leaves stayed havging in the tree. now what i do is i do one layer of paper mache, then wrap the whole thing lightly in dental floss so the top and the bottom stay connected. i then do one more layer of papermache with really watered down glue just to make it look smoother but still be breakable. have fun with your pinata and good luck. boy scouts are a blast and will have fun with this project.
        ~Leah

  • OOPS Hopefully you can view these pics
    Here are the pics : )
    Pic #1- Armature covered with paper mache
    Pic #2- Jonni/Debbie Clay on JackO (his name)
    Pic #3- JackO painted black
    Pic #4,5,6- JackO dry brushed with Dragon fire orange

  • Hi Jonni,

    I’ve been using the paper clay recipe for a few projects now – marvellous! I tried it out by making a large wasp and used the recipe for both the wasp and parts of the setting.

    You can also see start of the latest project on there: giant digestive biscuits! These are being cast in sturdy cardboard moulds. The finished result will be a 400% sculpture of a packet of biscuits. The beauty of this particular project is that the slightly rough texture of the dried clay looks perfect on the scaled up biscuit, so there’s very little finishing to do. The biscuits are 27mm thick and are consequently taking quite some time to dry and the kitchen looks like a production line! Great site!

    • The wasp is wonderful, as well as your “suggestive biscuits.” What a novel idea. Now – we have to know how you made the “sturdy cardboard moulds.” How did you do that?

      • The moulds are made from mount board. I cut two large squares with holes in them and then separated them with perpendicular pieces of mount board all round (seen from above, it would look like the second marks on a clock face). Then I glued a strip of card all the way round the circumference and covered it in magic tape to waterproof it. The base was mount board again, with small rectangles glued on in a regular pattern and then covered with cling film, again to waterproof it. Then the two components placed together – et voila! I’ve made two moulds as I need to make a total of about eighteen biscuits and they shouldn’t fall apart before that (I hope). So far, five down, thirteen to go!

  • HI JONNI & ALL MY PAIPER MACHE FRIENDS,
    I AM ALMOST FINISHED WITH MY HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN!!! I POST IT HERE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!! How do I post the pics here? Also, the inside of the pumpkin has loose paper strips, do I yank those out or leave them? if I leave them, the rotting process will begin. Shall I spray the inside with acrylic? if I do spray inside, will I still be able to place a small light to make my Jacko light up at night? OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I have more ideas like scary skeletal creatures and zombies!!!! YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION, JONNI!! : )

    • Wow – I’d say you’re a bit excited about your pumpkin! How fun.

      You can add another layer of paper mache inside so there aren’t any loose paper strips. I don’t know about the light and the spray varnish – if you use one of the LED Christmas lights, which don’t put off much heat, it shouldn’t matter. For other kinds of lights, you’d want to be careful whether you use varnish or not. Anyone else have any suggestions about that?

      For instructions about adding your photos to a comments, click here.

  • I was just looking for papier mache tutorials in the net and ended up here. I just saw the elephant video and it was amazing. I´m from Brazil and I own a small school of samba in my city (like the ones you might have seen or heard during the carnaval parade in Rio de Janeiro) and to do the scupltures I usually use styrofoam carved with blades and painted with resines which causes the price to be astronomic for us (over US$ 700). I would like to try your elephant technique to do a 11 ft (eleven feet -we don´t use this tipe metrics so is close to 3,5m) brazilian jaguar and see how it goes-to put on a parade car. What do you recomend to do to make the structure firm enougth to suport its wheight? Can I use some wire to reenforce it? After I´m done with the jaguar I´ll try to do an indian over 15 ft (close to 4,5m ???) so that comes another question: is this clay better do do faces?. I hope you can aswer me, it´s the first time I´ll try mache. Thank you.

    • I think the clay makes it much easier to do faces. You can see my Joker mask here to see how it can be modeled into details.

      Someone did make a life-sized Indian elephant using the ideas from my elephant video – you can see it here. I’ve never tried anything that big, myself, but it looks like their elephant is plenty strong enough. If you put either paper strips and paste or paper mache clay over an armature that offers some support, either Styrofoam, or crumpled paper over a plywood pattern, the wire shouldn’t be needed.

      • Yes! I want the big stuff. The carnaval parade is in february but we work only in 3 people so after the easter hollydays we have to start doing something. It looks “simple” to do and cheap. Thanks again, I´ll show that to my father and uncle – the other two! Thank you! If it works I´ll send you a picture!

  • Hi. Your site is so much fun to look at. I was hoping to do a novel craft with my granddaughters. I was thinking about having the girls “sculpt” scenery on a firm canvas, let it dry and then paint it with acrylic paints for a 3D picture. Do you think this would work with your papier mache clay?
    Donna

    • Hi Donna. The clay would probably stick to the canvas, and you could certainly do some sculpting with it to create scenery. My only concern is that some of the products in the clay are really intended for the construction trade, so they have some chemicals in them that you wouldn’t want very young children to eat. If you think they’d do some of their sculpting with their hands, you’d also want to substitute glycerin for the linseed oil, since the oil has special drying additives in it. Other than that, yes, it would work.

      My sister-in-law did something similar, using spackle straight out of the tub. I don’t know if she had any problem with cracking or not. You might try it though, since it would be a lot easier than mixing up the clay.

    • Hi Donna,
      I just did something similar with my 4-5 years old son. I didn’t use the paper mache clay, as I still don’t know what kind of ingredients are here, in Thailand – for the ones in the recipe. I will try to make time to find out. We live on “the move” the last 5 years and soon we go to Europe for 3 months , when we come back here I may find out, or may be I find the time in Sweden to try the clay.
      I just want to tell you now about some of the accessories I did – I made a hut out if very fine brunches, glued on the bottom of a plastic yogurt dish (cut a hole for the door first) and the roof – on a form from thick paper – needs patience and a fast, quick glue. I did lather from brunches too – I connected all the parts with a tread – twisted many times around each connection. We made a fence from ice cream picks,( the base could be the clay, but we had another), we made a tree and a fire from the same fine brunches. Our scenery is not so elegant – but we can change the places of it and make variations – we have a lake – light blue color, a thicker plastic sheet, the same material but in darker blue, is the see shore and the green is the field. We could make a boat, but we haven’t yet.Out of some paper forms ( looks like PM clay produces to keep safe in the box items like a fax machine) on which I added some construction and cover with classical paper mache- we have a volcano and a snow mountain.
      That’s all of our ideas – oh, there is a rock with several caves too for his little dinosaurs figures to sleep in.
      Good luck! I think it is fun to do something together with children and they will have the memories from that time for ever, plus will eventually like making it again and have the knowledge to do it again in their life…..
      Deyana

    • Hi Donna
      I have just finished a picture that I used an old picture in a frame that I had, applied the clay and painted it. I did cut out some of the back ground on the canvas board, (so you can see the wall behind it), its a bit different but looks good. I will post a pic soon, but I am putting it in an art show at easter, so will wait till the show is over before I put the pic up. This was a canvas stuck on a board, so strong enough to hold the weight of the clay.
      Chris

  • Hi! I have a question: is the joint compound very important? What happens if I leave it out from my paper mache clay?

    • If you leave out the joint compound you’ll end up with paper pulp and glue. Many people use that type of material. You just won’t be able to get quite as smooth a finish, and details won’t be quite as easy to model. You’ll also want to experiment with the proportions of ingredients to get something that you like.

      A good resource for someone who wants to work with a more traditional paper pulp recipe is http://www.papiermache.co.uk/ – they’ve go a lot of great tutorials.

  • Thanks for this great site!!

    I’m thinking of casting the paper mache ‘clay’ into a silicone mold
    to make thin (1/2″) hexagonal tiles for gaming purposes, question:
    Is there any possibility of shrinkage or warping of the clay upon drying??
    It’s very important that the clay dries so that I get uniform tiles that can be fit together.

    MC

    • Hi Michael. Yes, the clay will shrink. It’s possible that it will warp. And you might need to do a test run to make sure you can get a nice copy out of your mold. My experience with the clay in molds is that the tiny bits of paper tend to prevent the other ingredients from coming into full contact with the mold, and I ended up with a lot of tiny voids. That’s why I moved to using a mixture of plaster of Paris and paper pulp when I made my animal masks using silicone molds. But don’t take my word for it – do some experiments and see how it goes. And do let us know what you discover.

      • Thanks for the fast response, Jonni. I guess you’re right I’ll just have to experiment. Didn’t realize paper mache shrinks and warps somewhat while drying, I’ll have to figure out what to do anout this.

  • For stronger joints, maybe I could make the joints whether flat plane articulations or ball joints out of wood or plastic, and somehow affix the poured paper mache parts onto them(??). I will have to start experimenting!!

    I will stay on the lookout for pourable paper mache recipes. Some European sites might have some (??). I will post if I find something.
    Thank you for the LI-QUA-CHE tutorial above. It was very helpful.

  • Your web site is terrific! I am interested in eventually making articulated dolls that are partially made of sculpted paper mache, but mostly of POURABLE paper mache into plaster moulds. Do you have a recipe for the later, or any recommended sites where I can learn about this process. THANKS. KEEP UP THE GREAT INSPIRING WORK. db

    • The only pourable paper mache product I’ve ever seen is LI-QUA-CHÉ. I have made some things with it and enjoyed working with it, but it’s really hard to find. I have tried to replicate the formula, doing experiments here at home, but have never been successful. I suppose it’s possible that a very thin slurry of plain water and paper pulp might work, but I haven’t tried it.

      If anyone does have any ideas about how to make some faux LI-QUA-CHÉ, please let us know.

      While trying to find the link above, I ran across this nice tutorial on using the Li-Qua-Che product in molds.

    • Articulated dolls? Like ball jointed dolls? I don’t know how durable the paper mache would be if thinned into a more watery solution..

      • I agree – you’d basically be making recycled paper. Without any glue holding it together, I don’t know how long it would last. But once you add the glue, you have problems trying to get it to work in a plaster mold, because it will stick tight to the mold and never let go. If you use a release on the mold to prevent sticking, you lose the reason for using a liquid paper mache, which works much like porcelain slip. That’s why I’d love to see someone come up with a home-made alternative to the Li-Qua-Che formula. I don’t mind buying their product when it’s available, but it’s really hard to find. How the heck do they get it to work???

  • Hi Jonni,

    I have an unusual question, but it seems like if there is an answer this is where I’ll find it. I have a vague idea of trying to make paper mache forms, that can be used as a kind of disposable mold on which to build fibreglass structures. I was thinking that I might be able to use a paste-less, lightly pressed and dried, structure which could then absorb the resin and become part of the structure of the fibreglass object.

    So my question are:

    1) Is there a paste-less way of doing paper mache? And do you have any tips for how to do that?
    2) Is there a recommended way of creating the forms? I was thinking of panels made by sandwiching between wire screens held in frames.
    3) Is there any other advice or recommendations? I’m a complete n00b, and looking to do this more for the adventure of learning than anything else.

    Thanks for all your help, it’s much appreciated.

    Steve

    • Hi Steve, I must say I’m a bit confused about what it is you are asking so I will list the assumptions I made to try and understand the main thrust of your inquiry and you could reply and correct the wrong assumptions I made. It would also be helpful to know what you are trying to make.

      Assumption #1:
      I’m guessing when you talked about “a kind of disposable mold….” could I change the word “disposable” to “consumable” because you want to incorporate this “mold’ in to some kind of fiberglass structure. Is that even close to what you would like to do?

      Assumption #2:
      You want to 1st copy a shape or “mold” it as you say, in paper mache so you can the make this shape with fiberglass and resin. Is this close to what your intentions is?

      Assumption #3:
      You don’t want to use paste with the paper because it might interfere with the fiberglass process. This is a wild guess on my part but I’m guessing it may be close to your reason to go “paste-less”?

      Your 1st question about going paste-less.
      I have mashed up newspaper fine enough to make a rather robust ball from it using no paste of any kind after I squeezed the water out of it with my fingers and rolled into a ball in the palm of my hand…When it dried it maintained its shape and is very light (no paste) I did add salt as a preservative, but no paste and I posted a picture of it here as well. I was thinking there was enough of binder (or what ever is used to make newspaper into sheets) in the water after I broke down the pieces of newspaper to mush (pulp) so maybe it wasn’t exactly “paste-less” but nothing I added.

      Your 2nd question about creating “forms”…That could mean using an existing shape like a commercially purchased mask as a form as an example and making a replica of that or making the mask from the beginning or from “scratch” as it is often call. Your use of the word “panel” in this context is unclear to me?
      I have suggested using window screening material as a support structure sandwiched between layers of JonniClay. Fiberglass window screening material is almost like fabric and would be easier to deal with as compared to metal screening but have never used it and of course many people have used chicken wire as underlying support or “form”. What I have used is cotton t-shirt material and/or pieces of old cotton pillow cases sandwiched between layers of PM clay (or JonniClay) “molded” around Al Foil that was first pressed to a shape I made from a cardboard armature. When this “composite” material of cotton cloth and PM clay or JonniClay dries on the Al foil “mold” it is surprisingly thin, stiff and strong and easy to remove with a release agent put on the foil but in both cases paste is used in the mix.

      Could you use the above method, let it dry then fiberglass over that? I think it would stick to the PM structure or perhaps you could use a release agent and remove the PM structure when all the fiberglass has set?

      Is any of the above even close to understanding your intent?

      Bob C.

    • When fiberglassing there are a couple things to consider.
      1. Fiberglass mat, fiberglass fabric, or really cool looking and expensive carbon-fiber fabric? The two fabrics work more or less the same. Mat however leaves shreds everywhere, even with the best containment system – whatever you touch will have stuff on it. Mat also requires you to press out all the excess resin – the more you press out, the stronger your work will be. Fabric has the same requirement too, but it’s more forgiving. Pressing out excess resin is also a cost saving since resin is expensive.
      2. Epoxy resin or polyester? Polyester is cheaper by 25%-50%, but it tends to be thicker and it has a yellow/brown tint to it (There is a surfboard polyester, but I’ve not used it). Polyester also stinks forever, so you absolutely must skip it if you plan on wearing something. Resin also gets very hot as it cures – keep away from skin and meltable things.
      3. The catalysts and solvents eat everything, except taxes and ogres. Your hands will have a white layer of dead skin for days – get several boxes of disposable gloves.
      4. If you have an armature, it will become part of your fiberglass project unless you plan ahead and build in pieces and use a good amount of PVA mold release and/or wax.
      5. Have fun and don’t stick yourself to the workshop floor (you’d be surprised how easy it is to do).

      Erin

      • 6. It’s also pretty easy to kill yourself, especially if you work in a garage or basement without really good ventilation. Fiberglass is scary stuff.

  • Hi Jonni
    i need help in making a pig’s head by papermache clay could you help me by giving me some tips?

  • hey i need to make just the pig head by paper mache clay but need some ideas and also is there any way i could order it online from your website?

    • Hi Simran. I don’t have a pig head to sell. I do include a whole pig in my book, and you can get some ideas about how the head was formed in the video I made describing that chapter.

      I’m just curious – what do you need this pig’s head for? Is it part of a display of some kind?

  • Thank you both for your advice…I finished coating a pretty large rock a couple hours ago. I took your advice and it’s drying inside a plastic storage tote with a space heater pointed in it’s direction. I’ve thought about plaster of Paris and using it but I really like the workability of your recipe and I need the durability to drill or screw into the rocks. The five original rocks I was going to use are mounted on a shaped piece of OSB board covered in the paper mâché clay and I didn’t have to use a screw, a drop of glue or anything. And it’s a tough piece that I will eventually use on something else. I did add about 1/2 c. Plaster of Paris to the mix tonight to see if it might a little fire under it. Will keep you
    posted…hopefully ready to paint/wash by morning. Thanks again! Looking forward to trying new things as I learn more in the art of taxidermy habitats!

  • Hi there, First I would like to say I think this is an awesome site and very inspiring. I have one question well maybe more than one. They say on other Youtube videos to let the sculpture dry between layers so as not to get moldy but the clay is applied much thicker than paper width so how come it doesn’t get moldy? How long would you let it dry (silly question I guess it depends on the thickness Dah!) What I mean is, it would feel dry on the surface before the middle so how would you know when it is dry completly ??

    • Hi Violet, You’er right drying time is a factor and has many variables including the one you mentioned, thickness, but other variables include the local environment around your piece like temperature, humidity, a fan or an oven, the kind and type of armature (if any) or is the pierce hollow (ie. a chicken wire frame) to allow air to circulate on both sides of
      your piece, the kind and percent of “other” ingredients in the mix etc. These are all considerations that can affect drying time.

      I have NEVER had mold in any of my work (admittedly only 2 years of making paper mache sculptures) but the one variable I always include in the mix is regular table salt. I use it in my paste when doing paper strips and paste or in my pulp when I’m making paper mache clay. I have learned to use an old Osterizer blender to replace the toilet paper (TP) in Jonni’s recipe with newspaper and get creamy results so adding 1 tablespoon of salt works for me with both TP and newspaper. I add the salt when making the pulp and set any extra freshly made pulp aside as a very wet mix in an air tight tub in the refrigerator. When more pulp is required I squeeze out the excess water to use it as needed. I have successfully used pulp months after it was made when stored this way.

      Drying is important to prevent mold and for me adding table salt is too.

  • Hi, I’m wondering how durable this stuff is. I’m wanting to make a ball jointed doll and I can’t get my regular white clay to get thin enough or else it may break. So I’m just curious how strong this paper mache clay is.
    Thank you

    • The clay is quite strong when dry, but I’m not an expert on dolls. I suggest that you do an experiment with it, and see if it will work the way you want it to.

  • I’m in a pinch…I’ve been using your recipe to create habitat rock bases for taxidermy projects. I make everything ahead of time and it works great. Well, my husband is entering a competition with a duck that was supposed to be in a flying position. The competition is Saturday and due to his late performance (haha), he was unable to make the duck a flyer so now I need one large rock pronto!!!! And I need to speed up drying time on mâché…any suggestions or am I just out of luck? All of my projects thus far have taken much more than 24 hrs to dry!!!

    • The fastest way to dry any paper mache is to put it in front of a fan. If the area is warm, that helps, too. I put mine over the heat register from my furnace during the winter, and that works really well – warm air moving around the sculptures dries them out really fast. When I’m really in a hurry, I put an open box over the sculpture and heat register, making sure there’s a way for the air to escape out the top. That concentrates the warm air, and works even faster. Good luck to your hubby in the competition!

    • Hi Shannon,
      I’d suggest drying the rock using a heating fan (about ten bucks at Target) and place it in a closet (or even under a large box). The trapped moving heat should dry it very quickly. If you don’t have a heating fan then a regular fan plus a space heater. Make sure there’s nothing flammable in the vicinity of any heating elements. The closet will get very hot so check it periodically. I use a small room for this and it feels like walking into an oven.
      Also, when you initially mix your mache add acrylic gray color so it dries close to your intended final “rock”color, eliminating paint drying time. You can add detail glazing or rock-like speckles on top of that after it comes out of the heated closet—which will dry faster than a full coat of paint. Your rock may not be 100% dry through and through but should be plenty solid to use for display.

      • Oops….. I see Jonni answered with same advice before mine posted. Nevermind!

        btw…not sure exactly how big your rock is, but plaster of paris sets within hours and can be used even if not technically “dry”. Once set(but still moist) it can be carved for making cracks or rock-ish effects.

        • Actually, I think we were both working on our answers at exactly the same time. I actually like your idea of using plaster instead of paper mache for the rocks – it would be so much faster.

  • finially I found a recipe for paper mache clay. Yours looks so easy to make, I can’t wait to make my first patch. I will be useing this to make miniature vases and planters and stone and brick for the miniature gardens and landscaping I do for dollhouse settings. the vessels will hold tiny flowers (less than 1/4 inch) I make. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Hi. My son and I made our first bowl of paper mache clay. I am amazed at how easy it is to manipulate. We are working on an Egyptian Cat. It is looking amazing. I will send photos if you would like.
    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.
    Karen Hodges

  • Hi, I am not writing often, but I follow all the coments and everybody’s projects. I am learning, especially as many of the terms are very new for me. This forum is so helpful.
    Very sad – even I followed all the steps I couldn’t see Debbie’s vases. I have no patience to see Bob’s figure too. Is it any other way you could post the photos, so it is easier to see?
    I am a bit “stuck” with my boat project and not very sure if the day I will have it finished will come, but if will – I would also like to know an easy way to post the photo of it. DropMocks is not working for me.
    Looking foreward for more photos
    deyana

    • Hi Deyana. WordPress won’t allow me to allow you to post photos directly to your comments. We were doing it that way until a few months ago, when WordPress made some changes. If I can ever get it to work again, I will certainly do so.

      People might find another photo sharing site easier to use, since Dropmocks doesn’t work well with IE. There are many of them out there – Flickr, for instance, is used by many people. Most of them take a bit of patience to get set up with an account, but as long as I get the URL of the photo, I can make the photo appear in the comments.

  • Hi sorry to bother but I’m in Canada and I’m English so finding all these product names a bit confusing!!! I’m guessing the white glue is what I call PVA glue but what is Joint compound??? Ha ha! Thank you!

    Ro

    • It looks like the problem is with Dropmocks. You can pull up their photos easily from the Firefox browser. When I just now tried it using IE8, it didn’t work. Unfortunately, when Debbie tried to upload photos using another image service, that didn’t work either. We might need to go with Flickr – I tried to avoid it because it requires an account, and the process is slightly more complicated.

      Meanwhile, we need to find out how many people this affects. Is anyone else having trouble seeing photos in the comment section when using Internet Explorer?

        • The cross is lovely, Debbie. And I think most people can see them. It’s just the IE browser that has problems with them, and there are many other browsers people can use, instead. I always use Firefox, myself.

        • Nice Debbie, It almost looks like a cross made of granite too.

          On the browser topic:
          I routinely use 3 browsers, Firefox (my default browser), IE and Opera.

      • I use Firefox as my default browser and you are exactly right Jonni, I had no trouble seeing Debbie’s pictures but when I tried with IE8 I got the following message:
        “DropMocks uses Google Accounts for Sign In.
        Google is not affiliated with the contents of DropMocks or its owners. If you sign in, Google will share your email address with DropMocks, but not your password or any other personal information.

        DropMocks may use your email address to personalize your experience on their website.”

        I refused to give them my information which would have then associated me with IE 8 but it seems they already have it when I use my Firefox browser because I’m almost always “signed in” with Google as my Firefox browser home page. This is one of the reasons I have stopped using Google as my “go to” search engine but use Bing.com now instead. Bing is even better in some ways but not as good in other ways but it is my new default. Google is pervasive and I have a Google e-mail account too, so I’m sure we are already “intimate” friends….Sigh!

  • Hi Debbie,

    I am not able to open the link. BUMMER!! I was hoping to see some more of your work. By the way, my boyfriend and I made some clay last night using the correct ingredient : ) The texture is pretty much similar to the other batch I made using the softner LOLOLOL!!! Anyway it all worked out. I can’t wait to show you all my props ; )

      • Hi Carmelina…
        If you can get the link to work… there are two views. Just look to the right side of the image and click on “My vases completed” and “My vases completed2″.

        Debbie :)

      • I had no trouble seeing the pics. (great job by the way Debbie), though sometimes I cannot see the pics in other sections, just gives the names of them. but no link, nor the pic’s show up, but this one is working fine.
        Chris

      • Hi Bob, I believe that our Screed Crete would work very nicely with your projects. We spent 3 years developing this product for machine applied, by screed method, protective coating for EPS foam (Styrofoam). It is more gritty than what you are presently using therefore it will produce a more cement hard looking surface. It comes in an off white color but you may add iron oxide pigments for integral coloring. It does not shrink crack under all conditions. It is a combination filler/polymer mix product. The cost is also very reasonable at about $35.00 per 5 gal’s mix. although it comes in a 41 lb bag and the polymer in a 6 gal bucket, enough to modify 8 bags. Once mixed you can put a lid on it and it will keep for weeks or longer. notify me by email and I can send you photos of this product which we ship all over the Globe. scontrasto@aol.com

        • This is an interesting product. If someone made a large paper mache sculpture, could your product be sprayed over it? Specifically, would the product stick to the sculpture, and would it render the sculpture waterproof? And, do you use a special sprayer, or will the type used to spray ceiling texture work?

          • I just checked the website. The photos are quite impressive, although they’re used for architectural finishes rather than sculpture. The product is definitely used outside, so that probably answers my question about the waterproofing, although moisture might be able to seep into the paper through the product – they’re using carved Styrofoam, which doesn’t absorb water, I think. A finely detailed sculpture might lose some of it’s detail after it’s sprayed, but some styles would work really well with this. Interesting…

          • That screed crete looks like a very cool product. Would love to see how it tests on exterior protection compared to spar varnish and exterior varnish.

            The styrocrete can be rolled on and smoothed, not just sprayed … I wonder if this could too?

            It is necessary to use it with proper ventilation which means stinky and little toxic … but so is spar varnish.

            Thanks for posting this.

            — Beth

    • Very nice Debbie, Three relatively large projects done, congratulations! Such nice shapes and great colors too.

      Thank you for sharing your efforts here.

      Bob C.

      • Hi Bob…
        Yes… they are three very large projects, considering they were my “first”!! I learned a lot about how to create shapes… as well as what works… and what doesn’t!!

        The big, red, round one isn’t as “round” as I would have liked it. But… I tried a different type of armature. It was difficult to get a perfectly round shape. I spent hours adding crumpled up newspaper and masking tape… as well as layer and layer of clay. If I kept adding more clay… it would have ended up being the size of a VW!! LOL!!

        The tall pitcher is just a mistake in the making!! LOL!! It started out as something else because I was experimenting with using plastic containers as armatures and then shaping with crumpled up newspaper and masking tape. I wasn’t sure how to finish off the top… but I had to do something to cover up some awful mistakes!! Yeah… we’ll just call the mistakes… “experiments” instead of mistakes!! LOL!! I added the handle because it ended up being a pitcher… and I wanted it to have a handle!! LOL!!

        The shape of the green one is an “accident”, as well. The narrower sides on the green vase actually shrunk when I used the paper and paste mixture, before using the clay. That was when I thought you HAD to have a few layers of the paper and paste before adding the clay layer!! Yeah… another lesson!! LOL!! The paper and paste made the armature shrink as it dried and the sides ended up concave. I really liked the way it looked… so I just went with it!! LOL!!

        I antiqued them all with a great product that Jonni told me about. It’s made by Golden and it is an Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Satin finish). You just mix it with a dark brown paint and apply it… then wipe it off.

        I am still working on the plant stand. It is 30″ tall and each side is 10″ wide. It is taking forever to clay!! I just painted my cross this morning and as soon as I antique it… I will post a picture.

        Debbie :)

        • Ahh yes “experiments” indeed but your have turned then into admirable art pieces Debbie, they really look great! Love the finish!

          Part of the attraction of doing PM sculpture for me is the challenge of “mastering” the process and the opportunity to be challenged again and again. I agree one must be flexible and adjust to the circumstances but perhaps I’m just stubborn because, for the most part, I try to make the stuff I work on conform to the original concept I had as I began. Sometimes that means I stop working on a project because it’s not “going well” and I will set it aside to “consider the problem” but sometimes I “let it happen” hehehe!

          My 1st basic humanoid figure is an example of that. It is almost finished now but I had several “issues” with that and it has taken me a couple of months to sort it out and because it is a human figure I’m toying with the idea of giving it a faux bronze finish, something I’ve not done before. That has become another new challenge for this project. I also want to mount it on a fancy stained and glossy wooden base….another new area to explore!

          Working this way does slows me down and as a result I don’t make something new every week but it does force me to learn more about what is going on as I consider what options are available to accomplish my design goal. Just another way of working, I guess. I have also learned to have several projects going at once and that helps put the “problem project” on the back burner to slowly simmer in my subconscious as I change focus to the current project. That has been a very helpful approach for me. I guess if I was doing this as a commercial endeavor that approach would not work well.

          Bob C.

          • Hi Bob…
            The project that started all of this for me was a 30″ tall, floor vase (which you probably remember me talking about). It is now laying in the corner of my studio!! I got so frustrated with trying to “perfect” the shape… that I finally decided to put it aside for a while and finish the other projects I had going. I may never touch it again!! LOL!!

            My next projects are a spaceship, a pillar candle holder, a large, decorative platter and some sort of snowman/Christmas project. Of course… before I even consider starting these… I need to get the plant stand done!!

            Any suggestions??? I have been using the Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid mixed with brown paint to antique my projects. Does anyone have another antiquing method? I am always looking for alternatives. :)

            I tried antiquing with stain… but it left the project too shiny. I also tried a Ralph Lauren Glaze in Tea Stain… but it didn’t really antique the way that I wanted it to. I don’t want to buy the traditional “kit” to antique. I would much rather use something to “wipe-on/wipe-off”.

            Any ideas???

            Thanks!!
            Debbie

          • Hi Debbie, You asked the question “any ideas”?
            Hummmm….ideas? I almost always do, some good some not so good perhaps? …. See below for a couple of thoughts:

            On the topic of your plant stand I would suggest putting it aside and not just physically but emotionally too. Leave it for “dead” in your mind at least for a while just to take the “pressure” off and start a “fun” project. You have learned so much with your recent PM efforts I bet the spaceship or candle holder would be fun projects and be a nice distraction, give yourself permission to do a fun project.

            About antiquing:
            I have only done so with wood, nothing to do with PM but I have used the so called “dry brush” technique when I made my PM frog. I applied 6 colors to that, some with the dried brush technique and some with the paint and wipe approach.

            One of the other things I did and am doing now as I try to figure out how to do a faux bronze finish is to make a surface like the piece I’m working on and practice my painting techniques there first. That really helps me a “feel” for things!

            I just did a Bing.com search on “antiquing paper mache” and got a lot of hits. Maybe worth a try for you.

            Bob C.

          • Hi Bob…
            The plant stand is going well… it’s my first tall, floor vase that “bit the dust”!! LOL!! It is laying in the corner and that’s where it’s going to stay for a while!!

            I’ll do some searches for antiquing ideas and share what I find. :)

            I just applied another layer of clay on the plant stand. I also applied a “lip” around the opening of the other 30″ tall, floor vase. This vase is coming along nicely and as soon as the “lip” dries, I am going to sand it (I had two going at once). I also started a couple of “fun” projects.

            Debbie :)

          • Hi Bob…
            I researched antiquing products and I am going to try Minwax Gel Stain in Aged Oak (#602). I found a lot of antique glazes, crackle mediums, and inks… but I think this gel stain will give me the aged look that I want.

            I’ll let you know how it works!! I’ll post pictures too!!

            Debbie :)

          • Hi Debbie, Using a gel stain should allow for thickness variations of the stain which should give you more variation in color, an interesting choice. I’ve never used a gel stain. Please tell us how that works for you and I’d love to see pictures, of course!

            I just finished the wooden base for my humanoid sculpt using 3 coats of regular Minwax Red Mahogany 223 and two coats of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. I’m getting ready to paint the actual PM sculpt base color, a bit darker than burnt umber, then a green patina using the paint and wipe technique and finally the metallic brassy/bronze highlights using the dry brush technique!

            All the paints on the PM sculpt will be acrylic but I may finish with a nice clear Krylon matte “acrylic” spray that worked well on my plant stand attempt. Geees, maybe I’ll just spray paint the whole thing purple, it will be easier and MUCH faster! 😉 Naaaaah!

    • OMG! Debbie the vases look BEAUTIFUL! I was able to pull up the pics on my iPod touch of all this! Very talented Debbie! SHOW US MORE!

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