New Smoother Air-Dry Clay Recipe


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Note: I recently uploaded a video showing a better way to measure your ingredients for the air-dry clay. You can see it here. And I recently published the book that I developed this recipe for – you can see it here.

Puppy doll head, in progressI’ve been working hard this week, developing methods for making the baby animal dolls that will appear in my next book. One thing I worked on was making a new recipe for the dolls that could be made smoother than the original paper mache clay. I tried a number of different versions, and all but one ended up in the trash. This one, though, really does what I wanted it to do.In fact, if you first smooth it with your finger and the glue mix, like I show in the video, let it dry, and then very lightly sand it with a very fine sandpaper, it really is as smooth as porcelain.

I dries really hard, though, like the original paper mache clay, so sanding does take some effort. If you look real closely at the photo of the puppy head I made for my doll book, you can see how smooth it is.  It works very much like air dry clay you can buy at the hobby store, (but lots cheaper, if you need more than one small batch). Let me know what you think.

Recipe for the new Air-Dry Clay:

1/2 cup wet toilet paper
1/2 cup Elmer’s glue (or any white PVA glue)
1/2 cup drywall joint compound (any brand except Dap)
1/2 cup corn starch
3 tablespoons mineral oil (baby oil)
1 cup all-purpose white flour, or as needed

Mixing instructions are in the video at the top of the page.


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307 thoughts on “New Smoother Air-Dry Clay Recipe”

  1. Hi Jonni,
    thank you so much for this site, it is a wonderful resource!
    I’ve been using this recipe on a couple sculpture projects to wonderfully satisfying effect.

    i’m attaching a progress photo – the face has been cast over a positive mold plastilina sculpt, the hand was directly modeled over a wire/foil/tape armature. i’ve also had great success casting into a negative silicone mold (with very thin rolled out sheets of clay)
    i’ve been especially excited about the translucency that can be achieved when casting in very thin sheets, and the wrinkle texture that comes from playing with the surface after the initial “skin” layer has started to set. (it’s wonderful for this grandmother piece)

    i have a couple questions for you: have you tried this recipe with different paper? i would like to make a brown-colored version and was thinking of using recycled brown paper towels – do you think it would break down enough to be smooth?
    secondly, i am looking to use this clay in a live-sculpting performance and was wondering if a heat gun would work to rapidly expedite the drying process. have you tried that?

    thanks again, i’ll send more photos as the project progresses

    cheers,
    tigre

    Reply
    • What a wise and happy Grandmother. First, for your questions – then I have some of my own. 🙂

      I have not tried any other kind of paper, but many people used recycled paper with the original paper mache clay recipe, which has a much larger percentage of paper than this one. And they say it worked just fine. I think it helps if you can soak the paper for a long time, or run it, with a lot of water, through a blender. I don’t know how the weights would work out for anything other than toilet paper, but if you figure it out, please let us know.

      With such a small percentage of paper, I don’t know if it would color the clay. It might become a bit spotty. There’s only one way to find out, though, so let us know how it works out if you try it.

      I’ve noticed a slight puffing of the clay when a thick layer is dried quickly in the oven, or even over a heating vent. There isn’t enough expansion to make any real difference, and I don’t know if the clay settles back into its original shape when it cools. I haven’t really studied it carefully enough, because it hasn’t seemed to really hurt anything. However, with a heat gun hitting just one side of a sculpture, it’s possible that you could get a reaction as one part of the sculpture expands and others don’t. Perhaps cracking? I’m just not sure. I would try it at home before doing a public demonstration – it might work just fine, and, then again, it might not.

      Now, for my questions – when you used the air-dry clay over the positive form, how thickly did you apply it? When it dries, do you feel that it’s strong enough to hold up to handling, without an armature or other form under it for support? Especially when you make it thin enough to be translucent? For instance, would you feel comfortable shipping Grandma, if someone bought it and needed it to be sent UPS?

      Reply
  2. Hi there! My kids and I made some large costume heads with your (wonderful) new paper clay recipe. I went to Lowe’s for more joint compound, and the ONLY brand they had was Dap. So, in a pinch, I bought it. Wanted to tell you that it worked PERFECTLY! (I’ve used your recipe before, with the Sheetrock brand of joint compound, as suggested) This time, using Dap, I had no problem whatsoever. The Ox and the Fox heads are terrific fun, I’ll share photos soon, but thought I’d let you (& wary readers) know that the Dap brand doesn’t always fail. Thank you for everything you’ve given to us, Jonni!

    Reply
    • Excellent! I tried Dap a month or so ago myself, and although the paper mache clay did seem a bit thicker than usual, no rubber balls. Maybe I just got a bad batch one time when I lived in Oregon? It’s good to know, though, because our Lowe’s doesn’t sell any other brand, either.

      Reply
  3. Am really inspired by your work, Jonni. Imade a batch of your paper mâché clay today and started on a small project. The clay came out a bit lumpy and dry and I’ve found the answer by reading your replies to others’ questions. I did soak the paper until it fell apart! But I think I’m using the wrong joint compound because it seems to be setting in the airtight container before I’ve had a chance to use it. I thought I’d read somewhere in the comments which brand to use in Australia but can’t find it now . Do you keep a note if that sort of thing? If you do please could you tell me? Thank you for sharing so much information. You are very generous. All the best, Carol McGill, Queensland, Australia.

    Reply
    • Hi Carol. According to some of our readers, joint compound is called “joint finish” in Australia. It sounds like you may have purchased something that contains Portland cement. Was it pre-mixed “mud” in a plastic tub, or did you buy a powdered product? If it was powdered, it would be the “fast setting” stuff that will thicken after it’s mixed with water. The pre-mixed joint finish won’t do that.

      Here in the States, the brand to watch out for is “Dap,” which doesn’t work. If they have the Sheetrock brand in Australia, try that.

      Also, I’ve discovered that batches of air-dry clay can be very different, even when I think I’m measuring everything the same way. It seems to have to do with how hard I squeeze the paper to get the water out. Too much squeezing bonds the paper bits back together, and they become impossible to break apart again when mixing. I’ll do some experiments today to see if I can weigh the ingredients to get a more accurate formula, including how much water to leave in the wet paper. If I can figure it out, I’ll put up another video.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I did use powdered joint compound! Last night I did another search and found your very detailed explanation on what it’s called in Australia and that I should have used the pre-mixed kind. I’m racing off to find some pre-mixed ‘joint finish’ this morning. As for the paper, well I just wet mine and squeezed it out. Do you think it would work if I put the paper into the blender with water and then drained it through a sieve as is done for paper making, or would that be too fine?

        Reply
        • You can use the blender – a lot of people do. If you are careful to not squeeze the wet paper too tightly, you might not need the blender.

          Reply
  4. Hi Jonni,

    I’m looking to create costume armor out of Paper Mache, and came accross your wonderful site!

    I was thinking that the paper mache clay may be much more durable than standard paper mache. Do you think that it would be wearable and less prone to wear-damage?

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Many people have made costumes out of the paper mache clay. This latest version is so new, I don’t think anyone’s had a chance to try it for that purpose yet. I think the original recipe is stronger and less prone to breaking. You might consider using the original for the main pieces, and then use a batch of the new smoother clay for details or as a final layer to give the costume a smooth finish. Use very thin layers for both, though, or your costume will get heavy. And use mineral oil in both, since the linseed oil has a slight odor that could be annoying if you’re wearing it.

      Reply
      • Okay that’s great news! And thank you for the wonderful recipe and advice 🙂

        Another quick question I had, was that I’m planning to make myself a breastplate piece this weekend, and was going to form the shape using chicken wire. Will the paper mache clay be able to go straigh onto the chicken wire shape, or will I need to create a layer between? Also, if you have any suggestions of another material other than chicken wire that I could use for the base, that would be great 🙂

        Thanks so much!

        Reply
        • I make a lot of concrete pieces with chicken wire armatures. I use a dry wall mess over the wire. It works will. I’ve also used this mess ( it comes in rolls) over topiaries which I use as armatures for mosaic pieces.

          Reply
    • Liezyl,
      I recently found Jonni’s site and made a very durable (kid tested) Lego head and two Lego hands for a costume using her shop towel paste recipe. http://ultimatepapermache.com/how-to-make-a-pantalone-mask-part-2. First, I used a styrofoam base, which I carved, glued together and sanded into the shape I wanted before pasting the shop towels on top. The shop towels act as a skin that can be stretched and smoothed over the entire styrofoam surface to make are hard outer shell. It worked great because it smoothed out the crater-like texture of the styrofoam. As Jonni said, apply thin layers (I only used two shop towel layers) or else it will get too heavy and it does not dry well with thick paste layers. I put on 1 layer of shop towel/paste, let it dry, then did the second layer of shop towel/paste because I wanted it perfectly smooth and dry in between the layers. I had a problem with feathering the shop towel pieces together, but that requires practice and patience. Take your time and it will turn out great. The towels did leave a texture from the absorbant print of the towels, so I finished it with her “Plaster Based Gesso” and wet sanded it, then applied her “Smooth Gesso” recipe, which dries like porcelain. Once dry, I spray painted it with Krylon gloss spraypaint and then a clearcoat spraypaint. Since this was my first time making anything like this, there were a few imperfections from my learning curve, but I was very pleased with how this turned out and so were others! The finished costume with styrofoam, and layers of shop towel skin, plaster based gesso, smooth gesso, gloss spraypaint and clearcoat spraypaint is very hard and durable, yet not too heavy. To my dismay, friends of my sons, amazed at how real the costume looked, tested its durability by literally “knocking” on the surface of the costume with their fists and “banging it on the table” to see how hard it was. NO damage occured! Jonni has several books for sale with great tips; and buying her books is a nice way to say “thank you” for her blog.

      From Jonni:
      “Plaster-Based Gesso Mix:
      1 tablespoon (15 ml) white glue
      2 teaspoons (10 ml) water
      2 tablespoon (30 ml) plaster of Paris
      ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) vinegar to slow down the hardening of the mix
      Small dab of white craft paint (optional)

      This mixture can be sanded when it’s dry, or you can use a slightly damp sponge to smooth it, which is much easier and less messy. The second recipe can go on over the first and leaves no brush marks, so you can get a porcelain finish if that’s what you’re after:

      Really Smooth Gesso Mix
      1 tablespoon (15 ml) white glue
      ½ teaspoon (2 ml) cold water
      ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) vinegar
      ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml) plaster of Paris”

      Reply
  5. Hello! I have known the paper clay recipe for a long time but wasn’t able to fing any Joint Compound in Italy, now that I moved back to Colombia I have found it here, yei! I was wondering if you could mix both the cornclay and the paperclay, as to do the rough general layer with paperclay and then adding the details with cornclay, do you think it would stick? Thank you so much for your generosity and sharing your recipes, I can’t wait to begin sculping with it!

    Amalia

    Reply
    • Hi Amalia. Yes, you can combine the two recipes, but the air-dry clay with cornstarch is not nearly as sticky as the original paper mache clay. Make sure your layer of cornstarch clay comes in tight contact with the dried paper mache clay, and if it doesn’t seem to be sticking, use a wash of glue mixed half and half with water. And do let us see how it turns out!

      Reply
  6. I was dismayed to see that your new recipe for the Air-Dry Clay contains mineral oil.

    The WHO classifies untreated or mildly treated mineral oil (from petroleum) as Group 1 carcinogens; highly refined oils are classified as Group 3, meaning they are not suspected to be carcinogenic but available information is not sufficient to classify them as harmless. There is food-grade mineral oil, but I doubt that is what baby oil is.

    Mineral oil is absorbed into the body through the skin, and is known to impede the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A (and precursors), D, E, K and essential fatty acids. The lower grades appear to contain neurotoxins which can damage the nervous system, and it mimics estrogen.

    The only similar (but safe) type of oil that are safe for for using with eggs is Jojoba oil. It is more expensive than mineral oil, but so is cancer.

    If people still want to continue using mineral oil (it’s easy to find, and cheap), please advise them to use latex or nitrile gloves so their skin doesn’t absorb the stuff.

    We are exposed to so many chemicals these days that we have to pay attention. The average newborn baby already has over 200 foreign chemicals in it’s body.

    Your work is WONDERFUL! Beautiful and innovative, creative, and thanks a big bunch for being so generous with your recipes.

    Sue

    Reply
    • Interesting info, Sue. But if the oil is really that dangerous, even in such small quantities, wouldn’t it be unlawful to make baby oil out of it? I just did a fast google search, and it looks like most of the concern about mineral oil is from small children inhaling it and getting it into their lungs. This recipe is not intended for use by small children, since the joint compound is also an industrial product, and not tested for safety when used by children. However, anyone who is concerned about it could just use olive oil, instead.

      Reply
    • I guess the massage oil was a good choice for me to use, then, lol. I thought I had seen glycerin as an option. I like that you can adjust it to be able to use it as you want or need to. We are faced with many chemicals and hazards. I know the last time I went to home depot or lowe’s for some bolts and screws, I didn’t know until I bought them that on the package it said they were known to have something in them that is hazardous to your health? I needed them for my kitchen table to put the legs on, I had lost the originals while the table has been stored broken down. I would never have thought I would see such a label on a package of bolts and screws. But I didn’t put them in my mouth and only had contact with them for the time it took to put four legs on, and washed right after, so I hope I am ok.
      I hope within reason, these recipes can be worked with and enjoyed. I tried to find out more info on this subject and I do see of course pros and cons. If one is constantly using it, I would think you would need to take some precautions. I see that a lot of the concern is taking it in to your body in foods. It is good to be careful on things as I know our skin absorbs a lot. I will keep it in mind and try to be safe as I will when I use certain paints and varnishes and such for the finishes on these pieces.
      Thanks again for all you do and for this site where we can share information and those concerns along with such great creativity.

      Reply
  7. I have not read all the comments, maybe you someone already gave you this suggestion, why not call this clay, “Corn clay” or maybe “PM corn clay”!

    I am about to try it now. And thanks alot for being so generous with your ideas!

    Reply
  8. Hi Jonni,
    I’ve never sculpted anything before. My son has to built the sphinx for a school project. So far I built up the base with boxes. I was thinking about paper mâché ‘g it but the head of the sphinx is like an ‘A’ frame barn house. How do you suggest I attach the ‘wings’ of his head to the actual head??? (Does that make sense?)

    Reply
  9. Sorry it took me so long to post this. Your air dry clay was much easier to work with than the commercial variety. I left mine a little loose since I was going to use a clay tool to make ropes for “frosting” on the cakes. I was able to get a lot more detail with your clay than the commercial. I think I need a better mixer since I bought a cheap one and it could not get the smoothness that I was looking for with it. The only downside to having it so loose was it took longer to dry but I put it in a warm oven for a bit and that helped. The great thing about this clay is that it has very little shrinkage and the commercial kind tended to have the layers of the cakes lift away from each other as they dried and yours did not. In the photo the cake on the left is the commercial clay and the one on the right is your air dry clay. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Thanks Sukie – I’m surprised that you actually think the new air-dry clay is even better than the expensive stuff! That’s kind of cool (do people still say “cool?”)

      Your photo didn’t come through, and I suspect the system rejected it because it was too big. Please try again. Most cameras offer an “image mode” setting. The setting that works really well for the web is for the TV, or for emails. Different cameras use different terms, of course. I would love to see how your cakes turned out.

      Reply
  10. Just out of curiousity, do you think that substituting non-sanded grout for the flour would still make the clay viable? I also have a problem with flour products, and don’t normally use it in my paper mache recipes. Just wondering.. thank u!

    Reply
    • The grout contains Portland cement, so it may affect the recipe. If it hardens too quickly, that will be the reason why. Another reader suggested using powdered marble (calcium carbonate, chalk) instead of the flour, and that might work, too. Or you might try the easiest solution, and use all corn starch – I have not tried that, so I can’t say it will work, but it might. Let us know what you find out.

      Reply
  11. Hi, Jonni – thanks for your site. I lead the MAIDA Dolls Group which is focused on making antique inspired dolls and accessories. I’ve been sending people over here for a dog’s age whenever they ask about papier mache recipes. I want to try your recipe for your latest smoother air dry clay. I’ve been using creative paperclay exclusively for quite a while. And I like your challenge to sculpt every day. 🙂 I found some antique recipes for papier mache that were used in Germany and oh my some of the stuff in the recipes!

    Thanks again for having such a great site to send people to. 🙂

    Dixie

    Reply
    • Hi Dixie. I love your website – and your dolls. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the new recipe – it is not going to be quite as easy to use as the Paperclay, but it’s so much cheaper. 🙂

      Do you have a post with the German recipes? I’d love to see what they used in their formulas.

      Reply
  12. Do u think mastic would be ok to use in the place of joint compound? I have plenty of mastic, and the other ingredients, but no joint compound in the house, unfortunately. My husband says that it also is waterproof when it dries (mastic). Please let me know what you think.
    I’m making Dragon Egg table lamps for my daughter’s 25th birthday, she’s a dragon nut and asked me to make them for her new home, and I want them smooth before I put the scales on them.
    Also, do you think if I made the base (of the eggs) out of the original paper mache clay recipe and then covered it with this new recipe, it would then be hard AND smooth?
    Thanks for your input, your creations are amazing!

    Reply
    • I don’t actually know what mastic is, and I don’t have any on hand to experiment with. You can give it a try and see what happens.

      You can certainly put the new air dry clay over the original paper mache clay recipe, but be sure to paint some of the half-glue half-water mix on the dried clay before adding the new stuff. That way you’ll know the different layers will bond to each other. Let us know how it turns out.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your quick response. Its appreciated. I finally found some joint compound and I am eager to try this for my crafting. I made a Frankenstein head with your first paper mache clay mixture a while back, and while it dried heavy, it came out BEAUTIFUL
        (for a Frankenstein)
        THANK U!!

        Reply
    • I would like to know more about mastic. I looked it up a little bit and I also remember my ex-husband using it in construction. I see that it can be an adhesive or caulk or is it adhesive that can be used with a caulking gun. Just wanted to make sure which type of mastic is in question and also would it make things more water proof? I am actually working on a project using the new clay and I will be taking pictures as I go. It is for a gift to someone I grew up with and lost touch with over the years that has just recently lost her husband to Alzheimer’s disease. He had it for eight years and has died at only sixty. I was trying to think of something to do for her before this just came about. So now I have my idea and hopefully I can use all of this information to make something unique to share with her at this point in our lives, but also to remember our childhood together.

      Reply
      • What a sweet idea – I know your friend will love whatever you come up with.

        For the mastic issue, I would advise against it if this is a project that really matters to you and you want to get started on it right away. Adding the mastic will completely change the formula, basically designing a brand new recipe. You’ll end up spending your time doing an experiment instead of creating a beautiful piece of art. I speak from experience, here – you would not believe the number of batches of the paper mache clay and the new air dry clay that ended up in the garbage before I finally found the right proportions, and many days went into the experiments. Then each formula has to be tested to see if it’s strong enough to use, or if it cracks, or whatever, which means a few days of drying time for each batch. The same thing happens any time you add or subtract ingredients, or substitute something for something else.

        That’s not to say that the recipes can’t be improved – I’m sure they could be, and many people have come up with recipes of their own that are a better fit for their style. If you do come up with a new recipe that works well, that would be great (and we would all like to know how the new mix turns out). But you could also make your friend a very nice gift using recipes that have already been proven to work, and she would get it sooner. (My little bit of creative philosophy here – take it with a grain of salt. 😉 )

        If your finished piece will be going outside, some of my readers have suggested that you can waterproof an item by using deck sealer or concrete sealer after the PM clay or air-dry clay is completely dry all the way through. Coat all of it, and perhaps do a second coat to make sure there’s not even the tiniest area that is left unsealed. Then paint, and then use an outdoor varnish that contains a UV filter to prevent it from cracking in the sun. If it’s for inside display, you don’t need to go to so much trouble – just seal your dry clay with acrylic gesso, paint it, and use an acrylic artist’s varnish.

        And let us know what you decide!

        Reply
  13. I’ve made and used my first batch, and it’s cracking as it dries. Any thoughts? I had to use about a quarter of a cup more flour than your recipe. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Morgan. I haven’t had any problems with cracking, so we must be doing something different. When I don’t carefully attach a new piece of clay to the old piece, using the water and glue mixture, I do see the two pieces pulling apart as they dry. Is it possible that’s what’s happening with yours? I talk about this in this video. If it doesn’t look like that’s what’s happening, could you take a photo and post it so we can see the problem?

      Reply
      • Thank you Jonni. I was covering a styrofoam ball with paperclay, and now that I think about it the cracks are probably where I have joined the seams and haven’t applied any adhesive. When I did the same process using your original paperclay recipe this wasn’t necessary so I didn’t give it a second thought when using the new recipe, but I will try again today being sure to moisten the seams with adhesive and report if I have any cracking issues.

        Reply
        • Good – I hope that’s the answer. Be sure to let us know if it helps. The new air-dry clay isn’t very sticky, and the stickiness is something that a lot of people didn’t like about the original PM Clay recipe. But that also means that it’s a bit more work to get this new stuff to actually stick to something. But once you get used to using it, it seems to go pretty fast.

          Reply
  14. OK Jonnie, I mixed it up last night with crushed left over low fire clay. I had to crush it so I had a learning curve to get over. My slab artist friend is going to let me buy some low fire no grog white wet clay from her and you said I still could use that? A question I guess. I checked my mixture this morning and it seems to be the consistency and tackiness of yours. I will be trying it today in a very small sculpted piece. I have not been this excited in a long time. The creative process of just getting it made was inspiring as is this site. I will post rejects and success. It is all worth it.

    Reply
    • I’m really interested in seeing if you think the new air dry clay with added pottery clay is as strong as you would like. I know the recipe as shown on this page isn’t as hard as the original paper mache clay recipe, which is nice because you can sand and carve it. But if it gets too soft, that could be a problem. I can’t wait to see how it works for you. (Aren’t experiments fun?)

      Reply
      • Well the first batch did not work but it was the cook and the ingredients I put in that did not work. You HAVE to get the paper good and mashed up! That is number one and number two the clay must NOT HAVE ANY little rocks. That is because I took scraps and busted them up myself. Needless to say I have processed the rest of the clay to dust but to be sure I will sift it once again before using it. Actually the process has been fun and encouraging. I am definitely gonna make this work.

        Reply
        • Just out of curiosity – have you tried this new recipe without the clay? You might like it just the way it is. Also, you could try replacing a little of the joint compound with a little wet clay. It might make the mix a little softer, though.

          Reply
          • Ok second batch mixed with much better results. Here is what I learned….the clay added (even though I shifted it) made the recipe much wetter and mush heavier somehow. I added 1/4 cup more of corn starch and 1/4 cup of flour. That helped. I plan to make your recipe with NO changes after this batch is gone. It is a little wetter and I may add more corn starch…what do you think? I am making a small pair of shoes for an art doll. I finish putting on the clay tomorrow and once dry I will sand and upload a picture. I do know this. From the first bad batch I made, I was able to add some of that clay to the Styrofoam shoe form covered with tape. It sanded nicely. I think this is going to work great once I get the kinks out. I will not have the wet clay until latter this month. I do not want to use regular flour due to the fact that I am gluten sensitive. I just stay clear of any allergen on my skin. Silly probably.

            Reply
  15. Why not try Jonnie’s plaster/glue industrial towel wrap over the styrofoam, then use the paper clay over that? it would be very strong. I can picture boys making dinosaurs with styrofoam armatures.

    Reply
    • Daryll, thank you for your thoughts! I need to search for Jonni’s plaster/glue industrial towel wrap, but when I find it, I will give it a try. Oooh, I really like the dinosaur idea.

      Reply
      • you’ll find this process in Jonni’s Mask book. I’m finding this mix works well over anything. I made dinosaurs with styrofoam in a kids art project. I use Elmer’s glue and tooth picks to fasten really strong armatures. Finishing these with this industrial wrap would make them incredibly strong and easy to finish with or without Jonni clay. it would be a great way for kids( especially boys) to have a paper mâché experience without the frustration of typical paper mâché.

        Reply
        • Great advice! I will remember the toothpick note, as I was wondering how to make sure attachments were secure. Thanks!

          Reply
          • Hi Jonni and Daryll, I wanted to post an update. The industrial/shop towel wraps worked perfectly over the styrofoam! This is so much better than newspaper that is normally used. We unofficially call it “Smurf Skin” (and discussed copyrights – (: ). We ended up using this technique to make a homemade Lego head and hands for use as a costume prop in our homeschool writing arts program. Once the Smurf Skin was dried with a layer of paste hardened over the top, I applied your “Smooth Gesso” recipe. It dried beautifully. I wet sanded just a bit, let it dry, then painted it with Krylon Sun Yellow gloss spray paint. The finished product looks as smooth as plastic, which is the look we were trying to capture. My husband was impressed with the outcome and showed a picture to his friends at work. I will try to post a shot of our work. I still need some practice joining Smurf Skin seams as the Lego head and arms show their seams a bit – looks like slight scars if the light hits it just right. By the time I did the final hand, my seams were feathered pretty well and not as noticeable. This was fun and I am looking forward to making some dinosaurs if life as a mom of two boys permits. Next, Jonni, I am going to look into your book about how you sold your home in 6 days on craigslist. We are currently renting ours out, but may be selling next spring, so I want to do my homework. I appreciate your gentle and helpful spirit and I’m glad I found your site! Blessings

            Reply
  16. Hi, I just found your website and I am in awe of your talent. I would like to try this with my two boys who enjoy crafts. Can you tell me what type of paint to use to make sure the clay does not soften or otherwise react with the paint? We are going to try to put the clay over styrofoam, using the water/glue mixture to help smooth it, then paint the clay once dry. I saw the post earlier about it not sticking well to styrofoam, so we might have to work at it. We have a school project coming up. I will post pictures of the finished project if all turns out well. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Angela. I just now tried the new air dry clay over Styrofoam, and if you use the glue mixture to help smoosh the edges of small pieces of clay onto the foam and to other pieces of clay, it should work just fine. Just don’t try to cover a really big area with one “pancake” of clay, because it will just slide off. Let the piece dry in front of a fan or over a furnace vent – the foam would burn or melt in the oven (guess how I know? 😉 )

      If you let your clay dry completely and then seal it with a layer of acrylic gesso, you can use any paint. I like the acrylic craft paints that come in little bottles that you can find at Walmart.

      I can’t wait to see what you and your boys come up with.

      Reply
      • Jonni, thank you so much for the tips. I laughed when I read your advice about the oven. 🙂 I will try it and let you know how it comes out!

        Reply
  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULef3DJ_qmk

    Hi Jonni

    In this video from the Sermel factory in Mexico you will see that their gesso is very like your new clay recipe, but yours is a better colour imo :). They also use damp cardboard to line their moulds (not paper), so you could try using one coat of paper strips just to line it before putting in your clay. You could also try using handcream to keep your clay moist – water and glue knocks the hell out of your skin after a while and gloves take away some of the enjoyment.

    Reply

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