DIY Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Gram Measurements

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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.

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How to Make Air Dry Clay

1,048 thoughts on “DIY Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Gram Measurements”

  1. Hello. Probably I’ve missed this part somewhere along the line but at which stage did you add the joint compound, glue and oil? I’m guessing before you started mixing initially and before kneading? Kind of like in making cooking dough? Sorry for asking the bleeding obvious but I really feel enthused about making something after watching your video and I don’t want to stuff it up too much. Thanks muchly. Carolyn in Adelaide, South Australia

  2. Hello
    I would like to know if you can make some of the animals you have in the background of your videos. What would the cost be, including shipping to Miami? I would like to use them for head pieces therefore we may have to include a baseball cap per animal and work the design of the animal around it so it can fit. If you don’t, then I will try my best to do it myself. Your videos are very clear and easy to follow. Thanks,

    • Hi Helen. I don’t make the completed wall sculptures and masks to sell, but the patterns are very easy to put together. I’m sure you can find someone who can make them for you locally. I do have lion headdress-style masks that include a pattern for the cap, but the sculptures on the wall behind me in my videos don’t have that design element. A lot of people have made them work, though, some with baseball caps and others with bicycle helmets.

      Good luck with them – and if you have any questions, be sure to ask. 🙂

      • Thanks for your kind reply Jonny, appreciate it
        I did buy the patterns, so wish me luck. Will get back to you when I am done, I will also send you some pictures so you can grade me. (just joking). Your patterns are really easy to follow, that’s why I bought them. And I like the wood glue advice. I will try that one first.

  3. Hi there. Used your recipe and the clay is really sticky and clumpy. However I’m in the south and it’s very humid down here. Could you do a troubleshooting video detailing signs of clay that has too much/little flour or starch or drywall paste etc ?

    • Hi Nep. If your clay is clumpy, you might need to mix it longer. It sounds like the paper isn’t coming apart into individual fibers. It also sounds like you may have too much water. Did you weigh the paper and water? If your mixture is not too heavy for you mixer, try mixing it longer. Then put some flour or corn starch on the table and knead it until you have the consistency that will hold a nice thin shape, like I showed in the video.

      And one last question – you didn’t use DAP joint compound by any chance, or Elmer’s School Glue?

  4. Try using resin to coat your Paper Mache Clay Armature for waterproofing. After the Armature has dried, of course.

  5. Jonni, this new video is really good, concise, and thorough. I don’t think you missed a thing. It will be interesting to see if others have some little tips….as you said, we all are constantly refining how you use the clays. Thanks for the props in your video also- you didn’t have to do that! You could have said one of our regulars. Now I will have to link to that video for my new class members in order to give myself some cache!
    I liked your tip about the gel medium, I will try it some time for myself. I can tell the students about it but I usually like to give them the cheap options first. Thanks, I can’t believe how much work you put into these tutorials with a video and then pics and written explanations. You are a marvel!

  6. So, you mentioned plaster tape. Do you make your own? Or is it something you buy at the hardware store?

  7. Can I use this clay to make decorative planters? Meaning, planters you’d put a normal plastic, draining plant pot in to make look nice? It wouldn’t necessarily hold the actual soil and plant itself, but decorate/hide the plastic pot the plant is in now. I hope this makes sense. Can you use the clay to make this? And then maybe I’d glaze the dried clay in epoxy for added water resistance? Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Hannah. You could do that, as long as the air dry clay never gets wet. Make a small item as a test, and use the epoxy product on it. Then, after the epoxy cures, leave the test piece in water for a few days and see what happens. If the water gets through the epoxy, the air dry clay will feel soft.

      Would it be possible to make a decorative sleeve instead of a planter? So it has an open bottom and slips over the real planter and the saucer underneath? Then it would rarely get wet.

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