DIY Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Gram Measurements

Play Video

Silky-Smooth Air Dry Clay Recipe:

First, mix together –

  • 1/2 cup toilet paper (24 grams dry, 110 grams wet)
  • 1/2 cup Drywall Joint Compound (200 grams) – Note: DAP brand joint compound will not work. Use any other brand except DAP.)
  • 1/2 cup Elmer’s glue (130 grams)
  • 1/2 cup corn starch (70 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons mineral oil (baby 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.

This is one of the most popular craft recipes on this site…

I used this air dry clay for all of the animal dolls in my book, How to Make Adorable Baby Animal Dolls: With Soft-Sculpted Bodies and Heads Made with Silky-Smooth Home-Made Air-Dry Clay. (Yes, I like long subtitles. 🙂 )

You can also use this recipe with any of my patterns for masks and sculptures, but you may need to brush some Elmer’s glue onto the cardboard to make sure it will stick.

Sculpted face made with DIY Air Dry ClayThis clay is a variation of my original paper mache clay recipe, and it’s intended to be used as a thin layer over an armature. It won’t dry all the way through if you use it as a thick, solid mass, like ‘real’ clay.

However, many readers have told me that it works well in small silicone molds, and some people have used it for beads. If you want to use it without an armature, be sure to do your own tests to make sure it will be strong enough for your needs.

This clay isn’t as sticky as the original paper mache clay, so there are some tricks to using it. Be sure to watch this video to see how it’s done.

How to Mix the Smooth Air Dry Clay Ingredients

toilet paper for air dry clay recipe

Step 1: Measure the paper

You’ll need 24 grams of dry toilet paper. You can use any brand.

Wetting the toilet paper for easy DIY air dry clay recipe.

Step 2: Get the paper wet

Use plenty of water, and swirl it around with your fingers to separate the fibers.

Drain the water from the paper for the DIY air dry clay.

Step 3: Drain off the water

A metal sieve works really well for this.

Weigh the wet paper for the air dry clay recipe.

Step 4: Weigh the wet paper

You’ll need 110 grams. Keep squishing out water until the scale shows you have only 110 grams of paper and water.

Mix the paper and other ingredients of DIY air dry clay.

Step 5: Mix in the ingredients

In this step you only want to use half of the flour. You’ll mix in more flour in the next steps.

Mixing the DIY air dry clay.

Step 6: Add the last half of the flour

Use your dough hooks for this step, because the air dry clay will start to get very heavy, and the regular mixing blades don’t work very well. If the mixer has to work too hard, you may need to do this part by hand – you don’t want to burn out the motor!

Note – the dough hooks on my old mixer, shown here, worked great for this step. But on my new mixer, the air dry clay crawls up the beaters. I now do this step with a wooden spoon.

Kneading corn starch into the DIY air dry clay recipe .

Step 7: Knead in enough corn starch to get the consistency you want

The amount of corn starch is entirely up to you. It will make the air dry clay stiffer, which makes it easier to form fine details. However, the stiffer it gets the less sticky it gets, so pieces of clay won’t stick together as well. Play with it with different amounts of corn starch until you get it the way you like it.

You could use flour instead of corn starch, if you prefer. Try it both ways and see which one you like best.

Finished Silky-Smooth DIY Air Dry Clay

When the air dry clay is ready, you’ll be able to pull up a thin piece of clay, as shown above. It will be softer than commercial air dry clay, but will hold very small details well. You can adjust the amount of flour and corn starch to make it as stiff as you want, but if you add too much it will be difficult to get it to stick to your armature.

Be sure to watch the video for tips on using your new air dry clay.

Share this post:

How to Make Air Dry Clay

1,075 thoughts on “DIY Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Gram Measurements”

    • You need to use the premixed joint compound that comes in a plastic tub. The powdered form contains plaster of Paris, and could set up on you before you want it to.

      Reply
  1. Hi again! I was wondering if you use regular kitchen tools to measure? When you use the measuring cups and the spatula, how do you wash them? Do you use them exclusively for these art projects?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Olivia. I mix my air dry clay and paper mache clay in the studio, so I have separate measuring cups and spatulas that I use for these recipes. I also have a cheap little mixer that I use in the studio. All of the ingredients are water-soluble except the oil, so they wash up easily with soap and water.

      Reply
  2. Hi, I’m planning to use one of your recipes for my students to make fairy houses using glass jars. Which of your recipes would you most recommend for a project like that? I want the kids to be able to mold it and add detail, but it also needs to be able to adhere to the glass jars without being glued. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Any water-based product, like the air dry clay and paper mache clay, will shrink slightly when they dry. If you put them over a hard object, like a jar, they’re likely to crack. I haven’t tried using any of my recipes with glass, and I’m not sure if they’ll stick or not. You might want to put your question into a comment onto the Daily Sculptors page. Many of my regular readers visit that page every day, and one of them might have some experience with using the recipes with glass. I know that quite a few people have made fairy houses, but most people use cardboard for the structure.

      Be sure to mention the age of your students, too.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.