My Favorite New Paper Mache Clay Recipe

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No more searching for the right joint compound for paper mache clay!

This new recipe for paper mache clay doesn’t use PVA glue, so you can use any brand of pre-mixed drywall joint compound.

The original idea for using “home-made glue” in paper mache clay came from Rich, “The Ghoulish Cop.” Thanks, Rich!

I simplified Rich’s recipe so it’s now much easier. It only takes a few minutes to make in your kitchen, and it uses inexpensive ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

Why bother to make your own glue?

It’s starting to get really hard to find drywall joint compound brands that will work with the PVA glue that’s used in my original paper mache clay recipe. I’m really excited about this new recipe – I like it even better than the original recipe that I’ve been using for years. If you try it, please let us know what you think of it in the comment section below.

No-Glue Recipe for Paper Mache Clay

My Favorite New Paper Mache Clay Recipe

For the DIY glue/paste:

In a small saucepan, mix:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons white flour

Whisk together thoroughly to remove any lumps. Then add:

  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 capful (about a teaspoon) of white vinegar.

Whisk again until well mixed. Put the pan on a burner set to Medium to Medium-High heat, and stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Then stir another minute until you start to see bubbles and the mixture comes together.

Put the mixture into a heat-proof container and allow to cool.

My Favorite New Paper Mache Clay Recipe

For the paper mache clay:

In a medium size bowl, mix:

  • 1/2 cup wet toilet paper (24 grams dry, 110 grams wet – see video above)
  • 1/2 cup pre-mixed drywall joint compound, any brand
  • All of the ‘glue’ you made previously

When the paper has mixed in completely and there are no lumps, add:

  • 1/2 cup corn starch, divided

Put about half of the corn starch into the bowl, and mix well. Then add the rest. If the paper mache clay starts to get too stiff for the motor on your mixer, or if it tries to ride up the beaters, you can finish mixing by hand with a spoon.

To make the paper mache clay the consistency you like, add:

  • More corn starch, a little at a time.

When the mixture is too stiff to mix with a spoon, turn it onto a work table and knead by hand. When it’s very close to the way you want it, add:

  • 1 capful (about 1 teaspoon) of mineral oil, baby oil, or linseed oil

Knead the clay some more to mix in the oil. Add more corn starch if needed.

Your new paper mache clay is now ready to use. Keep it in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out. If you can’t use it within a few days, store it in the refrigerator. You can use your new paper mache clay for almost any pattern or project on this site.

If you try this new recipe, be sure to let us know what you think of it. 🙂

20 thoughts on “My Favorite New Paper Mache Clay Recipe”

    • Hi Denise. Yes, any form of paper mache can get moldy if it isn’t kept dry. So we need to use thin layers of the paper mache clay, get it dry as fast as possible, and then seal it so it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air. Mold can’t grow without water.

    • We haven’t had enough time to test it to know for sure. In some environments, bugs will eat almost anything. I happen to live in an area with very cold winters, so that kind of bug doesn’t live here. I hope a lot of people will test the recipe, and let us know.

  1. Olá….boa noite. Obrigada por responder meu comentário.
    Eu já utilizei sim, vários tipos de vernizes..mas os bichinhos voltam a atacar.
    Consegui salvar apenas as peças feitas com massa básica sem aditivos de alimentos.
    Ainda assim agradeço sua sugestão, e parabéns pelos seus lindos trabalhos.
    Um grande abraço e mais uma vez te agradeço.

  2. Joni, I just tested your new recipe tonight, and it trowled on beautifully. I spread it over a gourd and foam ball, and it stuck on and blended seamlessly with water. I’m allowing it to dry overnight and will report on hardness then, but so far, I really like it. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us; I think this will be my go-to as well.

    • That’s great! I’m anxious to find out if it cracks over the gourd when it dries. It will shrink a little, and the gourd won’t – but if it does crack, it would be easy to repair it with a bit more of the new paper mache clay. I can’t wait to hear back from you. 🙂

      • Reporting Back: it’s been 24 hours, and the clay feels mostly dry, and so far, NO CRACKS! I was skeptical, too, as shrinkage and cracks have been an issue for me with other paper clays. Let’s give it a few more days to ensure all moisture has evaporated. But very promising.

  3. I am really curious about the role of the sugar in this clay. I don’t want to make something that could get sticky in high humidity. I wonder if I seal it if it would be okay or if it would have some other effect. I also wonder if it would be just as good without the sugar. Maybe some weekend experimenting is in order.

    • Several people commented on YouTube that the sugar acts as a binder. I’m sure they’re right, because the mixture has a strange congealed consistency that it wouldn’t have if I just made a paste using flour and cornstarch. But I don’t know if the paper mache clay would work just as well without it. I have a lump of the new clay sitting on my desk. It has been slowly drying, because it’s over an inch thick. The parts that are dry are very hard. It’s quite humid here today, but the dried clay is not at all sticky. Of course, it doesn’t get as humid here as it does in some parts of the South, or the tropics, so those weekend experiments are probably a good idea. After you do them, please come back and let us know what you find out! 🙂

    • olá… boa noite…li sua receita de papel machê mas fiquei preocupada.
      aqui no Brasil, devido ao clima um tanto quente, se usamos a farinha e amido misturada à cola ou de alguma forma ao papel machê, com o tempo a peça feita fica cheia de furinhos…pois dentro da peça criam carunchos, ou besouros minúsculos que trituram toda a peça por dentro, deixando cheia de furos como um queijo. Jamais recomendo o uso de qualquer alimento. No inicio, perdi muitas esculturas por causa disso. Depois que passei a fazer a massa simples…nunca mais perdi peças . Mas mesmo assim admiro seu maravilhoso trabalho e te sigo nas redes sociais há muitos anos. Um grande abraço.

      • Thanks, Dora. It sounds like you have different bugs than we do. Every environment is different. Have you tried sealing your sculptures with several layers of varnish?

    • I added it with the first ingredients when mixing the new paper mache clay. Thanks for letting me know that I forgot to mention that in the post! I fixed it. 🙂


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