New Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Better Measurements

Looking for great ideas for your next paper mache project or a gift idea? Check out my patterns and videos for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts.

I wanted to standardize the new air-dry clay recipe, so it will come out exactly the same every time. To do that, I measured the ingredients, and took special care to weigh the toilet paper after the water was squeezed out.

The toilet paper can be squeezed too dry, and if that happens you end up with lumps in your clay. The only way to know for sure that you’re squeezing it exactly the same amount every single time is to use a scale. I know that most people in Europe use a scale in their kitchen, but you may not have one if you live in the States – unless you’re into baking great bread. If you don’t have a scale, you might still want to watch the video to see how the paper looks before it’s mixed in with the other ingredients.

Note: This clay is intended to be used as a thin layer over an armature, like regular paper mache. It won’t dry all the way through if you use it as a solid mass, like ‘real’ clay. Also, there are some tricks to using it. Be sure to watch this video to see how it’s done.

The air-dry clay recipe, with both cups and gram measurements:

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.

Looking for great ideas for your next paper mache project or a gift idea? Check out my patterns and videos for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts.

984 thoughts on “New Air Dry Clay Recipe, with Better Measurements

  1. Hi Jonni,

    I made the clay but it looks less plastic and sticky than your.
    I wonder about the Drywall joint compound… Is it the powder that you mix with water and use to seal drywall joints, right?
    In the recipe should be used as powder or already mixed with water?
    Maybe somebody already knows how is it called in Italy?
    Thank you

    • Hi Luca. The drywall joint compound we use is the kind that comes pre-mixed in a plastic tub. It isn’t the dry powder, which contains plaster of Paris. I don’t think any of our readers have told us what it’s called in Italy, but according to Google Translate it’s called composto dell’articolazione del muro a secco. I don’t know if that helps or not – but it is a product that’s used to seal drywall joints. It just isn’t the powdered kind – we use the premixed version. It’s possible that you could use your powdered joint compound if you mix it with water, according to the package directions, before adding it to the recipe. However, I haven’t tried it so it would be an experiment. Good luck with it!

  2. I want to use this recipe with children. Are there any concerns about skin irritation with the joint compound?

    • The joint compound will dry the skin if they play around with it a lot, and it isn’t edible. If the kids are young enough to put the mixture in their mouths, they should stick to the traditional paper strips and paste. Or if you want them to use it like real clay without an armature, you can find some great recipes online for play clay made with corn starch.

  3. Hi! Thank you for sharing all your techniques and recipes! I’m working on a portrait mask project and I hope I can get it all to work. I gathered the ingredients and followed your instructions. Unfortunately I only had DAP joint compound, but I made a batch of clay anyway. Is there a reason DAP doesn’t work? What will happen? Thanks!

    • Hi Rebecca. It’s possible that your batch of DAP joint compound will work just fine. But some of them turn the mixture into little rubber balls. If it isn’t that drastic, it just becomes really stiff and hard to spread. If your batch is more like cake frosting than Flubber, it will be just fine. Good luck!

      • Thanks for responding so quickly! I was able to use it this time but next time I will get another brand. It is drying right now so I won’t know if it truly works or not until it’s hardened but it behaved just fine when I was applying to my mask so my fingers are crossed!

        • As long as you could spread it, there should be no problems with it drying, and being as strong as it normally is. Non-DAP joint compound is often hard to find, so I buy the Walmart stuff in their paint department. I wouldn’t want to build walls with it, but it works just fine for our recipe. 🙂

  4. I just came across your videos on you tube. I have tried one project so far with diy paper clay. I am excited to try your recipe and hope to have a smoother. Texture thats easier to use. Thank you!

  5. Hi Jonni,

    I’ve just came across your recipe as I’m looking for a no-crack paper clay. I would like to make a fun project – garden figures and home decor figures using plastic bottles picked up from the local beach.

    I was wondering would the clay survive well outdoors? I’m planning on painting and varnishing the completed figures.

    Thank you in advance for any advice!

    • Hi Anna. My original paper mache clay recipe is very strong, so it rarely cracks if used in a thin layer over an armature. However, my own experiments with trying to waterproof it (or any other paper mache) have not been successful. I now use an epoxie clay, like Apoxie Sculpt or Free Form Sculpt, for my outdoor projects. That said, several readers have done their own experiments, and they believe they might have found a material you can use over paper mache to make it weatherproof. Tom’s bear is ‘living’ outside, and his guest post explains his process. I’m sure if you leave a comment below his article he’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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