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Help with Paper Mache Clay Consistency

Made by Jessica Mathews

I have used this recipe a few times. I love the way it dries and really protects the under structure. I’m a theatre artist who usually carves from foam and will do a top coat of this. Every time I have made it I run into the same issue of it almost seems gloopy? Its like my paper doesn’t completely break down. I have tried letting it sit in water longer, drying it out a bit more, leaving it a bit wet. Mixing for loooong periods etc. I just cant seem to get the texture right.

When i go to apply it doesn’t smooth on, it kind grabs itself and rolls leaving a slug trail of gluey water behind if that makes sense? It doesn’t give a full coverage. Wondering what else i should try next time i make it.

Paper mache clay in the bucket
Paper mache clay in the bucket
Brand of joint compound used
Brand of joint compound used

11 thoughts on “Help with Paper Mache Clay Consistency”

  1. I made another batch tonite and went with the grams recipe boy what a difference I think I haven’t been putting in enough paper and other ingredients .. plus I used a hand mixer.. never one for following directions, lol I was using an immersion blender..hand one is so much better… is nice and thick also put in veg oil .. I like it better with oil added..I put a fan in front of it to help with drying..

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  2. Mine comes out the same way…im using the same joint compound I just add another layer…though it was because I add an acrylic modeling paste and sometimes acrylic paint with mine…

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  3. The beauty of working with these recipes is you can play around a bit and it still works! Your gloop really looks too wet to me. I agree with Jonni – try the weight-based recipe and see if that gets you on the right track.

    Typically, I only use toilet paper, water, glue, and joint compound for mine. But if it needs to be thickened up some, I add flour until I get the right consistency.

    I make a lot of the base recipe (without the flour) at first, because that – sealed in an airtight container – will last for ages. When you add flour, you have a more finite working time, as it will start growing mold at some point if you store it.

    So – I’ll start with my base recipe, and then depending what I’m working on, I’ll either use it like that (without any flour) or I’ll add flour as I work…to get the consistency I’m looking for, and an easier spread-on.

    Part of art-making is science experiments!
    :-)

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    • I think ive been leaning towards more water because the first time i made it I def. took out too much so I’ve been scared…. Next time around I’ll try and find a happy medium..

      We have a similar recipe that uses caulk, wood glue and JC, but it isn’t sand able because of the caulk. I really enjoy this as an alternative but definitely prefer the texture of the caulk based.

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  4. The good news is that it still hardens like it’s supposed to and gives nice protection (I work in theatre and shows can be brutal on props). So it does do what it needs – its just a *pain* to apply.

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  5. Hi Jessica. Thanks for posting your question, because I really don’t have an answer for you. The joint compound you’re using is a very good brand. Have you tried the recipe version with the gram measurements? I don’t know if that would help, though, since your paper doesn’t seem to coming apart. I really hope someone comes up with some useful suggestions for you. :)

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    • I haven’t yet, but next time i will. I may also get a blender or food processor to really break up the paper. I’m just using the cheap company provided paper lol

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      • I think that’s part of problem… I was using recycled toilet paper. Going to try one of the fine charmin as paper pulp will be finer. Another thing I have found is when it is past the sticky part of drying I start molding with my hand a bit damp… you can make it do anything at that time… smooth it out… whatever

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