Is Paper Mache Clay Waterproof?

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We all love paper mache clay because it’s so much easier to use than paper strips and paste, and it dries hard and strong, even with just a thin layer.

But is paper mache clay waterproof?

In this video I explain why it isn’t waterproof, but I also offer a few tips that will let you use it outside anyway – at least for awhile.

Links to posts mentioned in the video:

If you have a way to keep paper mache clay dry permanently, please let us know in the comments below. And be sure to tell us how long you’ve had it outside.

5 thoughts on “Is Paper Mache Clay Waterproof?”

    • Hi Miki. You can find “spar varnish” in most DIY stores. It will not permanently protect your work, so you’ll have to bring it back inside to dry it out as I mention in the video. I would recommend using a regular exterior urethane varnish for temporary outdoor displays – the marine varnish isn’t any more waterproof, and it tends to be a lot more expensive.

  1. Hi Jonni,

    I wonder if paper mache clay would be waterproof if Titebond III were used in it or would it just take forever to dry. Cheers.


    • Dan Reeder made a paper mache dragon covered with cloth dipped in wood glue, and he left it in a tree in rainy Seattle for several years. He claims that it was waterproof. I don’t know if the same thing would work for something covered with paper instead of his cloth mache, though. It might be worth a try, but only on some small thing that you don’t mind losing if it doesn’t work. Experiments are fun, though. 🙂

  2. Hi Jonni- good to see you. Of course I know that mache is not waterproof – as is air-dry clay. They all have to be covered with something like paint to do this.


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