If your mache clay doesn’t come out the same every time, a kitchen scale is your best friend.
Our good friend Rex Winn shared this recipe for paper mache clay that you make with the help of a kitchen scale. If you use his weight measurements, your paper mache clay will come out the same every time.
The scale removes the biggest question we face when making paper mache clay – how much water should we squeeze out of the wet toilet paper?
- If you press out too much, the paper sticks to itself and your mixer can’t tear it apart.
- And if you don’t press out enough, your paper mache clay will be too wet.
When you use the scale, you know exactly how much water to squeeze out. Just press out some water from your soaked toilet paper and put it back on the scale. The scale will tell you when the paper is ready to be mixed with the other ingredients
Of course, if you don’t have a kitchen scale, just use the original recipe. If the mixture feels too wet, just throw in some more flour.
And if you do use this recipe with gram measurements but you think you’d like your paper mache clay to be thinner or thicker, just change the amount of flour you add. Remember to keep track of how much you add, so you can use your own custom recipe next time, too.
Paper Mache Clay with Gram Measurements
- Toilet Paper – 72 grams dry, 330 grams wet
- Elmer’s Glue-All (PVA glue) – 195 grams
- Pre-Mixed Drywall Joint Compound (not DAP brand) – 440 grams
- White Flour – 70 grams
- Mineral Oil (Baby Oil) – 2 Tablespoons (I never actually measure mine – and it’s completely optional. If you don’t have any, just leave it out)
How to use a kitchen scale to make paper mache clay:
Turn on your kitchen scale and then put your empty bowl on the scale. Make sure to choose the gram measurements and not the ounces. Then click on the Tare button so the LED screen goes to zero.
Start adding dry toilet paper until you have 72 grams.
Add hot water to cover your toilet paper, and mix it around with your fingers until all the paper is wet.
>>If you prefer to use recycled newspaper or copy paper, you’ll need to let it sit in the hot water for an hour or so. Then put it in a blender, with plenty of water, to rip the paper into shreds.
Pull the toilet paper out of the water and squeeze some of the water out. Run the water through a fine sieve to catch all the toilet paper before throwing the water out.
Take the paper out of the bowl, set the bowl on the scale and hit the Tare button again to bring the display to zero.
Put the paper back in the bowl. If you have more than 330 grams, you need to press out more water.
When you have the right amount of water squeezed out of your toilet paper, tear the paper into smaller chunks. This will make it easier to mix with the other ingredients.
Add 195 grams of Elmer’s Glue-All or Elmer’s Clear. If you live outside the U.S., use any PVA glue. Most white glue is a PVA glue.
Add 440 grams of premixed drywall joint compound.
- Do not use the DAP brand, because it turns the paper mache clay into rubber.
- And be sure to get the pre-mixed joint compound that comes in a plastic tub. They powdered form of joint compound contains plaster, and could cause your paper mache clay to harden in the bowl.
I use the ProForm brand. It’s available at most WalMart stores, and it’s much less expensive than any other brand. It works very well for paper mache clay.
The oil is optional. It does change the feel of the mixture when you’re using it, but if you don’t have any, just leave it out.
Mix the ingredients on ‘high’ for several minutes. You want all the paper to be completely torn apart into tiny fibers. If you can see any whole paper bits in the bowl, keep mixing.
When the paper and other ingredients are completely mixed together, add 70 grams of white flour. Mix again.
Apply the paper mache clay to your armature in a thin layer. If you need more or if you would like to add details, you can add new paper mache clay after the first layer is dry.
As you can see in the photo above, I covered my deer’s eye and the rim around the eye with paper strips and paste. I did the same thing around the nostrils. Sometimes, using both paper strips and paste and paper mache clay is the easiest way to make your sculpture come out the way you want it to.
Thank you, Rex, for sharing your measurements with us!