Paper Mache Recipes, Tips, Techniques, and Experiments

Paper Mache Clay

Several years ago I developed a new recipe for a sculptural material I call “paper mache clay.”

This material is so easy to use and so easy to make that the recipe has now gone “viral” and is being used by artists all over the world. The video above is an update, just to give you a better idea about how to actually use the clay. The original video is below, and if you scroll down you’ll find the recipe in written form, as well.

It might be a bit more accurate to call this material “home-made air-dried cellulose-reinforced polymer clay,” but that’s way too hard to say (or type!), so for now, let’s just call it paper mache clay.

Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache ClayThe first video below shows how to make the paper mache clay, and the second video answers some common questions that I’ve received from readers since I first developed this recipe. Below the videos you’ll find the recipe written out, and a few comments about how it’s used. (This recipe is the basis for my book “Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay.”)

Since the book came out, I’ve received many questions about the materials used in the paper mache clay, and I answered many of them on this page.

How to Use Your Paper Mache Clay

I usually make mine fairly thin by using less flour than the recipe calls for, so it can be spread over an armature like frosting,  – but you can also add more flour to make it thicker when you want more control over the modeling process. The clay dries extremely hard when applied in a very thin layer (1/8 to 1/4″ thick), and it seems to dry much faster than traditional paper mache pulp. Even with a thin layer, you’ll need to give it plenty of time to dry, just like regular paper strips and paste.

Paper Mache Clay on Snow Leopard Sculpture

Paper Mache Clay Made Thick Enough for Modeling Details

As you can see above, the clay can be modeled into fairly fine details. Using the clay for modeling feels much more intuitive than creating sculptures with paper strips and paste, and once the clay is dry it is a pleasure to paint.

If you need an even smoother material, try my Silky-Smooth Air Dry Clay. You still need an armature for the air dry clay, but there’s less paper in the recipe so it dries smoother and it’s easier to sand.

Baby Giraffe Print


If you like animal art, check out Jonni’s new Baby Giraffe print. It will make you smile.


The Recipe for Paper Mache Clay

Drywall Joint CompoundThe ingredients  are inexpensive, and can be found at your local grocery store and hardware store. You will need:

  • Cheap Toilet Paper (measure the wet paper pulp as instructed in the video, and use 1 1/4 cups – some rolls contain more paper than needed)
  • 1 cup Drywall Joint compound from the hardware store or Walmart. (Get premixed “regular,” that comes in a plastic tub, not the dry powder form.)
    Note:  The DAP brand does not work. It will turn your pm clay into a rubbery mess. All other brands will work just fine.
  • 1/2 cup White Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Mineral Oil or Linseed Oil. I now recommend Mineral Oil (Baby Oil) because it’s easier to find, and it’s safer to use if kids are helping with your project. Can’t find either one? Just leave it out. The recipe works just fine without it.

See the video above for details on making your clay. And if you try this recipe, please let us all know what you think of it–and also please share a photo of your finished work. We’d love to see how it comes out.

Making Your Paper Mache Clay


You’ll also need a large bowl, (use one with high sides so you don’t splatter clay on your cupboards), an electric mixer, a measuring cup and a tablespoon measure. To keep t he finished clay from drying out, you’ll need an air-tight container. The recipe makes approximately 1 quart of paper mache clay.

Note about Toilet Paper:

Unfortunately, the people who make toilet paper don’t expect us to turn their product into great works of art, so they see no reason to include the kind of information that would make things a lot easier for us.

I use a brand called “Angel Soft,” in the “regular” 2-ply rolls. I buy it at my local Wal-Mart. Each roll contains approximately 1 1/4 cup of paper, which I measured by wetting the paper, squeezing out the water, and then firmly squishing it into a measuring cup. They change things sometimes, so you’ll still want to measure the wet paper. And if you find a brand that’s cheaper, go ahead and buy it – the brand doesn’t matter at all.

Since brands differ so much, the first time you make this recipe you should take a few minutes to find out how much paper is in the first roll. Then adjust the recipe if your brand don’t contain about 1 1/4 cup of paper. Fortunately, this is not a chemistry experiment or rocket science – if your mixture contains a little more paper than mine, or a little less, your sculptures will still be stunning.

Step 1. Fill a high-sided bowl with warm water. Remove the toilet paper from the roll and throw it into the water. Push down on the paper to make sure all of it gets wet.

Step 2. Then pick up the paper and squeeze out as much water as you can. Pour the water out of the bowl and put your paper mass back in.

Step 3. You will want to break the paper into chunks about 1″ across. This will allow your mixer to move around the pieces and break them apart.

Step 4. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix, using an electric mixer. The mixer will pull the fibers of the toilet paper apart and turn it into pulp. Continue to mix for at least 3 minutes to make sure all the paper has been mixed in with the other ingredients. If you still see some lumps, use a fork or your fingers (with the mixer turned off!) to break them apart, and then mix some more.

Your paper mache clay is now ready to use. It will look a bit like cookie dough – but don’t eat it!

If you don’t plan to use your clay right away, place it in an airtight container to keep it from drying out. The clay should stay usable for 5 days or more, if you keep it covered. The recipe makes about 1 quart.

Important note:

I’m often asked if it’s possible to waterproof a sculpture made with this recipe, so the sculpture can be left outside. I’ve tried a lot of products to see if I could find one that would work, and they have all failed miserably. This recipe is intended for use inside only.

For outdoor sculptures, I recommend the use of epoxy clay. Watch this video to see how I made a made of a squirrel sculpture that has been sitting outside in Minnesota weather for a year now, including unrelenting weeks of rain and -30° winter temps, and it’s still doing just fine.


You may also like:

How I painted the Unicorn.Unicorn Pattern
Hyena Mask PatternHyena Mask Pattern
Life Sized Paper Mache Baby ElephantLife-Sized Baby Elephant


  • Hi Jonni

    Thank you for your paper-mache clay recipe.
    I have been using papier-mache for more years, animals, scales, everything
    I also give lessons in paper-mache.
    Thanks to your recipe, I can get the objects smooth when needed.
    See also Pinterest under J. Delsing and
    I use gipsplaatvuller for joint compounding this is only gray.
    It’s just not cheap for us. So I keep experimenting.

    Thanks José out Holland

  • jonni your recipe is absolutely great my tortoise is coming out well
    just that i need it to stand but it wont
    i have a question on the clay though
    if the consistency, is alright but some part of it doesn’t stick together is it still usable, and if not what is it lacking?

    • Hi Anthony. I hope we get to see your tortoise when it’s done. As for getting it to stand up, that’s always a challenge. Since the bottom shell is probably pretty close to the ground, you might be able to put something under it to keep it at the right height long enough for the paper mache to harden. As for parts of the clay not sticking together, that’s probably because there are clumps of paper that didn’t get mixed in well enough. Run the mixer through it again for a few minutes and see if that helps.

  • Hi Jonni,

    I want to thank you for the paper mache clay recipe! I used it for first time to my a cosplay mask and it worked wonderfully. I left the mask non-sanded to keep a more rustic look. It painted wonderfully with regular acrylic paint, and I sealed it with mod podge. One thing I’ve learned is to do the whole mask at once. I did the base first and let it dry, then added on the raised edges. The base mask ended up soaking up the moisture from the new clay, resulting in some minor warping. No big deal though.

    Now that I’ve tried it, I want to make all sorts of things with it! Practice makes perfect 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

    Ray from Panic Panda Cosplay

  • Oh thank you for your posts! I gleefully took on making a full size paper mache prop of a church bell. I was worried about durability and how many layers I’d have to get on it, and as I was poking around looking for a super strong recipe here you are, with all your fantastic ideas! Four batches later My bell is drying…You help me love a problem where the form shifted as it dried (even tho I duct taped it to the table!) and I needed more lip on 2 sides to make it round again. I now want to make the air dry clay to make decorations for the outside of the bell. I was just humming along as I lightly “frosted” my project 🙂 I haven’t had this much fun in ages. When is finished I’ll shoot you a photo…

      • I started out traditionally so this has a chicken wire pool noodle armature, which I covered in 2 layers of water/flour/newspaper papier-mache. I used the Ultimate Papermache recipes to fix where the armature collapsed, and where it was uneven and not round. I didn’t have any problems with shrinkage!
        I made the top cap (under the handle) separately to be able to dry it as fast as possible, I literally stuck a small fan inside while it was propped up on three toilet paper rolls to help this large bell dry. I only had 10 days. I also used the blue paper towel method to make the bottom shape more beautiful and layered on another batch of Ultimate Papermache which made the edges really hard. I’m sure it will endure many productions. The artistic director loved it. At the top it’s decorated for my kids ballet with “Coppelia” and the year, with wheat sheaves, flowers and of course I had to make George and the dragon (to cover blemishes) on the sides. Those decorations are made out of the workable air dry clay (which I’m in love with) and they stuck on beautifully with your gesso recipe. The diameter at the bottom of the bell is 29″ wide and it’s 34″ tall. It’s just small enough to squeak it through a door.

        • Wow – Sara, you did a fantastic job on your bell. I’m really impressed by its size, by all the different materials you used to make it come out the way you wanted it to, and by those wonderfully detailed illustrations you put around the sides. George and his dragon are amazing. I hope you’ll be sculpting a lot more in the future, and that we get to see everything you make!

  • Hi Jonni.
    Would I need a hand mixer that would then only be used for paper mache clay? Or is there a way to wash it properly so there would be no contamination when using it in the kitchen again? I only need the pm clay for some minor details I want to add to my pinatas so I won’t be making it often. Maybe I can find an old mixer at the Salvation Army

    • It’s pretty hard to get up inside the holes where the beaters go, and the pm clay might stay in there. I sometimes see old mixers at garage sales or the Goodwill that actually look sturdier than the cheapo version I bought at Walmart. But my little mixer seems to be holding up pretty well, anyway. I don’t use it in the kitchen, though.

  • Hey, Jonni! I’m working on Halloween props again. Yes, I know it’s early, but I usually get pretty involved and intricate.

    Last year I used the blue towel and paste method to make a completely self-supported Pinocchio head mask/helmet with moving parts. As you can imagine, finishing, curing, painting, and sealing took a good long while. Luckily I used foam mats, burning tools, heat guns, and glue for the larger prosthetics because they would flex and see more wear. This was a tad faster on the front end, but more complicated and expensive to finish with paint and sealant. Anyway, Steampunk Pinocchio came out better than I had hoped, and it was mostly thanks to tips from talented artists like yourself across a few mediums.

    This year, in light of keeping the budget a little smaller, I was going to focus on a few striking prosthetics and try to hone my sewing skills a bit more for the rest. Obviously, the clay seems a bit less time consuming and more intuitive on the detail building end…but I had a few questions:

    1. Can I use a wireframe (chicken wire) armature for my pieces, or will the clay not have enough support over the gaps forcing me to line the wire with something first?

    2. If wireframes work, does this enhance the dry time? In my head, there is no solid stuffing of a core to absorb the moisture, so it seems like it could evaporate faster that way. If not, does it at least dry faster than the strip method? I would let my pieces sit for 2 days under 3 fans with periodic application of low heat from a heat gun for the other method before I could add anything, so I wound up throwing out paste that began to sour after a few sessions. I may need to adjust my recipes for smaller batches if similar dry times and sour times are present.

    3. Does this come out a bit smoother or sand a bit better than the other method? The strip paste recipe I used from your site (the one without the plaster) was very hard, but the towels didn’t seem to like it if I bit through with my dremel, and they’d shred a bit before the tool would get hot enough to essentially burn it into a smoother shape. (I’m assuming I got small air pockets as it dried inside that caused this.) That would make it where I’d have to patch the spot, let it dry, and try again every once in a while when it bit too deep.

    4. If the number 3 issues are present in the raw dried clay, what do you recommend coating it with to get a smooth finish that doesn’t crack and sands easy? Last year, a standard pre-made gesso gave me a bit of grief and took several days. My pieces this year will have wooden, metal, leather, and bone elements, so any help to achieve a variety of textures would be appreciated!

    I look forward to hearing from you, and I love your work! Keep it up! Now I just hope I can find as helpful of a website for drafting sleeves! I can figure out or wing most things. I made my own brocades and lace linings for my step-daughter’s costume last year (the first dress I ever made) , and I’ve made rudimentary vests, tailcoats (with ill-fitted armholes, but it fit his frumpy look), bib ties, top hats, overalls, and such…but I’m going for a cleaner Victorian touch to a trench coat this year. Here’s to hoping it comes out half as good as my other experiments! If you know of any good sewing forums/tutorials that offer simpler methods with good results, please feel free to share :).

    • Hi Matthew. Did we get to see Steampunk Pinocchio? Even if we did, do you have an image you can share so we can see it again? It sounds wonderful.

      For your questions:
      1. Yes, the pm clay will fall through the big hexagonal holes in chicken wire. However, it doesn’t fall through the wire mesh that’s sold for artist’s armatures, and the wire mesh isn’t terribly expensive. It’s also easier to shape than chicken wire. I used the quarter-inch mesh to make my dragon’s wings, and it worked really well. The pm clay shrinks a little, and the pattern of the wire can be seen on the surface of the first coat. That’s nice for dragon skin, but for something that needs to be smoother you may need to give it a second coat.
      2. Yes, the pm clay (or paper strips and paste) will dry faster if the inside is hollow. If possible, elevate the piece so air can circulate inside. Best possible scenario: allow air to move up and out of the inside, through eye holes, perhaps. It will dry a lot faster if the air inside isn’t saturated with the water evaporating from the paper mache.
      3 (and 4). Yes, the clay dries hard all the way through. To prevent pockets of unmixed paper, mix it much longer than you think you need to. I always do that, anyway. It dries harder than wood, so you might need to do a test to see what grit to use when sanding. Also, if you want a softer final coat, you can try the air dry clay recipe. It isn’t as strong, because its primary difference is less paper in the mix. But it does seem to be easier to sand, and it goes on smoother. To get a close-up view of the natural texture of the original paper mache clay recipe, take a look at the pig at the top of the paper mache library page.
      5 (Sleeves). I rarely sew, but I did find a good sleeve-design tutorial online that might help. 🙂

      Have fun!

          • Hopefully those went through. Do you think I could just drape the thinner gauge insect screen for windows over the wire since it’s relatively cheap? I have chicken wire already, so if I could solve my hole size problem I think that might be the cheaper option.

            • Your photos came through. Thanks for sending them. As for the window screen, it depends on whether the paper fibers allow the pm clay to squish slightly through the holes, which is needed for the pm clay to hang on to the wire. Otherwise, it would just fall off. You’ll probably have to test it to find out.

          • What a project! There are so many intricate pieces, so much details – and all so wall done. Wow. After doing all that work, do you have a permanent way to display it? It would be a shame to just keep it in a box somewhere.

            • Thanks! It’s cheap enough that it couldn’t hurt. If the first run fails, I may just try squishing the holes smaller on the wire I have before resorting to buying enough armature wire to make a mask, staff, and shoulder piece. I’ve got a few months to play a bit. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

              Thanks for the kind words on last year’s Halloween project! It was a few months of work (June-October to be exact). First a 3 piece mask to get it to fit on my head with enough tension to allow the mouth to move (people’s reactions when I talked were priceless!), then lots of hot glue, super glue, anti-fatigue foam mats, heat application, and wood burning tips to get 3 dimensional grain for the prosthetics. Then of course lots of curing, painting, curing, coating, and more curing.

              The painting is the easy part. I’ve been teaching myself for a few years, and I’ve been trying my hand with sculpting in mache and foam the last year or so. I started teaching myself to sew 2 years ago. I really wish those in my life who knew a thing or two would have passed them on, but of course I was usually outside working instead. If I wasn’t there, no one wanted to show me, so I buried myself in books or started writing my own.

              My first creative feelers went out writing stories, poems, and basic lyric/melody sets…but I’ve been itching to express myself in more tangible ways that physically exist. Hopefully I continue to improve until I consistently get the result I want.

              As far as displays…I wish! Haha. There isn’t enough room in the house, so I’m lucky I’m allowed to hang my paintings. They sat in closets for years before those who live with me felt bad enough to let me hang them where we could get them to fit…besides, there’s a toddler at the house a lot at the moment, and we recently inherited a feisty calico cat who might think some of it looks fun to play with. Maybe one day! I’ll try to find a nice tote to make sure he holds up for future use or display. I already have one devoted to my Mad Hatter pieces (he was fun too, but not nearly as intricate. I had to make him in a month).

            • Okay, so an update! I have to apply my first layer pretty thin and mash it into the screen, but it works. If I try to just layer it on in the full 1/8 to 1/4 the first round, I can’t mash enough into the screen, so it either rolls or will peel up if I touch it again while working. Putting the first coat thin with pressure fixes it, though. I also blended my paper before draining, so it might be something to do with shredding the paper fine enough too.

              So, for anyone using an insect screen for a really fine matrix, ultra thin and press first! It’ll still dry super hard and kickstart the support you need. I’m going to try a piece with just a thin layer of newspaper over my chicken wire too. One of the smaller pieces to test if it just slides off the wire or not. In theory, once hard, it would just lift off if that happens, and then I have a molding piece for re-use rather than a true armature.

            • Thanks for letting us know the results of your experiment – the window screening is so much less expensive than aluminum armature mesh! Great tip.

  • Hi Jonnie, I have been chosen to help complete some art in a hallway turning it into a touch and feel atmosphere, more of a “Bring to life setting”. The first project I’ll be working on will be a tree. The tree reaches up the ceiling in the hallway, I don’t have the exact measurements. It has to be 3D, very realistic looking, which I believe I can do. I have already submitted a sample tree, and I am due today to submit a proposal listing the required materials. I have watched a ton of videos on different ideas and media and also studied many pictures, but just need some advise on the best media and materials needed. I was hoping that you could give me advice on what materials I would need, and how to get started with my tree, wondering if it need woods for the base, or something similar and if your clay would be the best option for covering the paper and tape. My goal is for the tree to be very durable, and professional looking. The image of the wall attached is similar to what I will working with, building against the part that protrudes.Thank You

    • Hi LeAnne. I think you tried to upload a photo, but it didn’t come through. The file size was probably too large. The important part about the armature is to make sure there’s no way the tree could come down if someone leans on it, or pulls on a branch. If you have a system for attaching the armature very solidly to the wall, you should be OK. As for the final surface for the bark, the paper mache clay will work really well. It’s hard, strong, and it can be formed into the ridges and bumps to look very realistic. Just make sure your armature is strong enough, and attached well enough, so the weight of your paper mache clay can’t pull it off the wall.

      Good luck with your project. This should be fun. I hope you’ll let us see it when it’s done.

  • Hi Jonni!

    Thanks for the experience & recipes you share on your website and in the videos!
    They have inspired me to start making papier mache projects. So far so good (pun not intended).

    Regarding the Air Dry Clay recipe (the new one with scientific measurements) – I was able to make one batch (yellowish because of the raw linseed oil and the yellow carpenter’s glue. That worked well.
    However the thick Gesso I was trying to make failed miserably due to the join compound. I am in Canada and this brand – CGC Sinko – also produces a rubbery mess. I suspect that may be what DAP is called here in Canada.
    I tried separately with white and with yellow glues – same failure either way.
    Interestingly, the Clay batch worked even though I used yellow glue & the same Sinko join compound. Maybe the flour or the oil altered the reaction…?

    I hope that this will prevent others from using that product and save them time and money.

    I’m now on the hunt for a join compound that works.
    I’ll be driving to Minneapolis in the near future and I may have some explaining to do at the border when I come back as per why I am importing drywall compound which is inexpensive and readily available in Canada… That could be interesting.

    Thanks again!!


    • Thanks, John – it does sound like your Canadian version is either made by the DAP company, or they use the same formula. when you’re in Minneapolis you might want to stop at a Walmart. I’ve had good results using their drywall joint compound. I don’t think it would be the best thing for using on walls, but in the clay recipes it works quite well. Have a great trip!

    • This recipe really only works when using thin layers. It needs to dry all the way through, and it won’t dry quickly enough if it’s used more thickly. It also won’t hold its own shape, so it needs something under it. Some people have used the air dry clay recipe (almost the same formula, but with less paper and some added corn starch) in silicone candy molds, and they say it works. Just make sure it dries totally, inside and out.

      • Ok! Thank you so much!! I’m trying to make little dragon eye pendants with crystal rocks but around the eye I was thinking your recipe would work since its small. It should be easier if it were just a coating to design scales on it though, right? Something like this?

        • If you’re thinking of using one of the clay recipes to make the outside edge of your eye, it might work. But it would be fragile, and you’d need to seal it really well to keep it from soaking up oils from the skin. I suspect that the clay would just crack off the first time the pendant was carelessly thrown onto a hard surface. This isn’t a big issue for larger sculptures that have the armature supporting them, but I do know from experience that thin edges (like ears, for instance) will chip.

          You might want to consider making a silicone mold and use two-part resin for the casting instead of the paper mache clay. Smooth-On’s OOMOO 30 would be an easy product to use for the mold. I haven’t used that product, but all the ones I have used from that company have been very good. Alumilite makes a similar product that comes in a smaller, and less expensive package. They also have small containers of the resin, so it wouldn’t cost much to try it out. Any resin will be much stronger than the recipes on this site.

  • Hi. I have all the ingredients to make the clay, but the joint compound is in powder form. Will this work dry or should I mix it up ready to use first?

    • The recipe is formulated to work with the pre-mixed joint compound, but some people have used the powdered kind with some success. You’ll need to fiddle with the proportions a little, but it should still work. My only worry is that some of the powdered kinds contain plaster, and are intended to set up faster than the pre-mixed versions. If you have the fast-setting kind, it could change the amount of time you have to work. The only way to find out is to give it a try.

      I don’t know if the readers who have tried it mixed water with the joint compound powder first or not. It might help, though, because the powder might not mix well with the glue if it isn’t mixed with water first. Again, try it and see what works. You might mix up just a small batch at first, as a test.

  • Thank you for your terrific paper mache tutorials and instructions. I am making a giant egg that will open with hinges. It is for a play and it needs to fit a child inside. She will pop out as a chick during the play. So far, I have used an ikea egg chair as a mold, using chicken wire and an “O” shaped piece of plywood my partner cut out for me so we can attach the hinges to this. We have put one layer of plaster cast as I had this on hand. Now I plan to make the drywall join compound paper mache to cover the egg as I hope this will make it strong enough for the child to be able to sit inside. We made a flat bottom of the egg so it sits on the floor easily. My questions are these: do you have any tips and foresights for me? I have a large canvas sheet material that I was going to use in strips, do you think this will work? Or should I go buy the blue towels you recommend? I have to make 2 of these eggs, as there are 2 chicks in our play. Thanks for your feedback!!!

    • Hi Tiffany. I have never made an egg, other than my Humpty Dumpty. He was a lot smaller than your eggs, but made with plaster cloth with a few layers of paper mache on top.

      Since you’re using the canvas material, you have three options. I haven’t tried any of them, so you might want to test them out with little swatches before covering your eggs.

      1. If you have all the ingredients on hand, go ahead and try using the joint compound/glue recipe. It might work just fine. If it does, be sure to let us know. 🙂

      2. Or, you could try the Monster Mud recipe instead of the joint compound and glue recipe for your paste. Monster Mud is used a lot for theater props (and Halloween displays, where it got its name). I believe the formula is five gallons of premixed drywall joint compound to one gallon of latex paint. You would not need anywhere near that much, but a five to one ration should work, and you can get cans of cheap paint at the ReStore or any paint store, because they usually have cans that were custom mixed but the color didn’t come out right.

      The usual technique is to dip the fabric into the goop, but if you used it like paste it might not be so messy. It’s definitely something you’d want to do outside or in the garage. It should dry very hard, and it’s supposed to be waterproof.

      3. Dan Reeder uses bed sheets as a final protective layer for his dragon sculptures. I believe he dips the fabric in a solution of white glue and water. This might dry faster than the other two formulas, but I don’t know if it would be sticky enough for your canvas, which is much heavier than bed sheets.

      I hope one of these options will work for you. Those baby chicks are going to look adorable jumping out of their eggs!

      • Thank you so much for your response! I sit in wonder of what to do, as I just want to pick the right option… I bought the compound, I also have the glue but probably have the paint as well. I don’t think I should use the toilet paper mix. I want to try today… but still hesitant. I will try the joint compound/glue recipe without the TP. I will take pictures for you and let you know. Wish me luck!

        • You don’t want to breath the dust when you sand the drywall joint compound. That’s an important warning. You should always wear a mask whenever you sand anything, because the dust particles will end up in your lungs. If you sand your sculptures a lot, and you don’t want to wear a mask, you should use some other product for your work. Or just don’t sand it – I never do. I’m too lazy. 😉

  • I’m making a replica of a cheese wheel and started with a styrofoam base which i coated in tape and then drywall compound. The drywall on its own isn’t sanding down as well as I’d hoped and I’m thinking about putting a layer of this clay over it. Do you think it would stick? I I painted over the drywall compound with acrylic paint to see if that would cover up the textural issues (which it didn’t).

  • I have been experimenting with different clay forms lately. I want to eventually move up to making a doll but wanted to make sure my sculpting skills were good enough to put a lot of money into. But I’ve tried a few clay recipes using flour and my creations always end up with an awful smell. Am I doing something wrong? I would love to be able to keep the crafts I make but the past few have been horrible! Any recommendations? Please & Thank you!

    • Hi Chelse. If you use any organic materials, you’ll get mold or yeast if the item doesn’t dry really fast. That’s why I use such a thin layer of the paper mache clay over my armatures. A 1/8″ layer is plenty strong, and it will dry in a few days if left in front of a fan. Of course, in a really humid climate, it may never dry. In that case you might want to use a non-organic material, like Apoxie Sculpt.

      • I must be making the layer too think then. Thank you for the feedback and fast reply! I will be attempting this project again. I will get it down pat one of these tries! Thank you! Great thread & comments, love the support I found on here and the ideas!

  • I’m looking for a cheap alternative to spray insulation for the attic. Its an old house and the insulation that’s here now is like cotton and under that is straw. I want to remove it all, the cotton stuff smells of bat urine. Most spray insulation is ground up paper and cardboard with insect deterrent and flame resistant. I just want a thin paste to spread down to seal up air flow, then add another insulation over that once dried. Boards will go over all of that anyway. Would this clay be able to seal up everything?

  • I am very new to clay crafting. I bought store bought paper mache clay. It’s very difficult to mould it. It’s very hard. Not like the clay kids play with as u had expected. What should I do? When I try to mould them cracks appear at many places. Even a simple mini bowl does not have smooth surface. What should I do? Please guide me.

    • I haven’t used store-bought paper mache clay in years, so I can’t help you with this question. Tell us what brand you’re using, and one of my readers might have some suggestions for you. In the past, I remember buying products that included plaster, so they got hard really fast and you couldn’t get nice details. Is that what’s happening with yours?

      • No.. The clay itself looks hard. Its not dried. But like hard dough where you have used less liquid and more flour. I guess you get my point. If thats the case with my clay what can I do while molding? Currently what i do is I wet the area where the cracks appear and try to smoothen it and that area gets fine. but when trying to do that another area might produce cracks and I smoothen it with water. So ultimately the bowls are not that smooth and even.

    • I haven’t tried it, but the flour is just to add filler and soak up some of the moisture. Any type of flour should work – but experiment with it, to make sure.

  • Hi. Thanks to you, I have had great success using your clay to repair some antique paper mache candy containers. Now I’m really getting ambitious & attempting to transform a 4″ doll into a bunny. I have two questions.
    1. Is the masking tape a must? I’m having trouble getting mine to stick smoothly.
    2. After covering these little inch long legs with tissue paper & tape, how can I keep them separated long enough to clay them & let it dry?
    Thank you so much.

  • Hello, how long does this recipe take to dry? I have a fan and floor heater simultaneously blowing on it, but I goofed and forgot to add bleach to the toilet paper water. Once dry, will it be a good idea to build more layers onto it to shape it? I mixed all of mine by hand by first shredding the toilet paper in warm water by rapidly stirring with a fork and then straining the water out, so it’s not as smooth as it could be, but I sure was able to shape it very nicely over my base.

    • Hi Emily. The drying time really depends on how thick it has been applied. If you used a thin layer, maybe about 1/8th of an inch, it should dry in 24 hours. Just be sure to give it time to dry all the way through, because it will feel dry on the outside before the inside is completely dry. You can add more layers on top of a dry layer, if you want. I do that all the time.

  • Hi Jonni, thanks for sharing all these great information with us. However, I am wondering if it’s possible to make a paper-mache so thick to be able to knead it and form directly in my hands, just like any other clay or a plasticine? I mean direct manual forming and sculpting, without the need of spreading the mache over anything (making not too big items, of course). I tried to make a thicker version of your recipe but at some point my mixer just stops and won’t go (as the pulp’s too thick already). What do you say? Thanks a lot. 🙂

    • Hi Bea. That doesn’t work because any layer thicker than 1/4″ will have a very long drying time. I even recommend thinner layers. When thick layers do dry (and it takes forever) the item will crack. You might have more fun with the air-dry clays that are made with earth clay (and something else added, I’m sure). You might have to experiment with those, too, to prevent cracking. I think the slower they dry, the less they will crack. If you try one of those air dry clay products, I hope you’ll let us know what you think of them.

      • Hi, thanks for your reply Jonni. I’ve been using these air-drying ready clays for a long time in my dolls, but find them just too breakable, not sturdy enough. I thought your recipe would solve this problem…

        • Are those your dolls? They’re beautiful. I’m not sure if the paper mache clay will work for you, though, because it has a slight texture. Good for some animals, not so good for doll faces. The air dry clay is smoother, but I use it, for dolls, over a form made of plaster cloth, for strength.

          • Yes, those are mine, thanks. 🙂
            I’ll experiment with your recipe I think, and will let you know the effects. I need a strong clay, I’ll try. I will probably put it into the oven to speed up the drying process. Thanks a lot Jonni! 🙂

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