What is “Joint Compound” Called in Your Country?

Get a fast start on your next paper mache project or hand-made gift with Jonni’s easy downloadable patterns for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts. The patterns help you create a beautiful work of art, even if you’ve never sculpted anything before.


You may be able to help out our growing international online artist community. We need to know what joint compound is called in other countries.

The home-made paper mache clay recipe I created (recipe here) is made with premixed drywall joint compound and Elmer’s Glue-All® as the main ingredients, along with toilet paper and linseed oil.

At least, that’s what they’re called at my local hardware store, here in Oregon.

But joint compound is called something else in other countries, and the Elmer’s brand isn’t available at all in some places. So – I’m hoping you can help out your fellow artists and craftpeople wherever you may live, and help me put together a list of product names for locally available materials that will work to make paper mache clay.

So far, for the joint compound we have:

  • “Drywall joint compound” in the United States (guys in the construction industry call it “mud”)
  • “Drywall filler” in Canada
  • “Joint filler” in the UK
  • “Fugenmasse” in Germany
  • “Joint finish” in Australia
  • “Voegenmiddel” in Dutch
  • In India it’s called “wall putty”
  • In Guatemala joint compound is known asPasta de Tablayesero

The product is normally used to fill in the cracks between two pieces of drywall (also called wallboard, sheetrock or plasterboard) when new walls are built or old ones are repaired. The primary ingredient in join compound (in the US) is calcium carbonate. Pure calcium carbonate in dry powder form is sold in art stores as “powdered marble.” But we don’t want the powdered stuff, we want the kind of joint compound that is already mixed up and ready to use. It’s sold in a plastic tub, usually one or five gallons. In the UK the primary ingredient is another form of calcium called” gypsum,” which seems to work just as well.

Just a bit of history–the recipe for paper mache clay happened because I started using a recipe for home-made gesso, which uses Elmer’s Glue-All and powdered marble. The gesso dries very hard, but you can still sand it perfectly smooth. I decided to see what happens when you use a cheaper form of calcium carbonate (the joint compound) and add fine paper (toilet paper) and linseed or mineral oil. Voila–paper mache clay was born, a new sculptural medium that’s cheap to make and easy to use.

 

Get a fast start on your next paper mache project or hand-made gift with Jonni’s easy downloadable patterns for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts. The patterns help you create a beautiful work of art, even if you’ve never sculpted anything before.

 

OK, the glue issue may be more difficult. Elmer’s Glue-All makes wonderful paper mache clay. But Elmer’s Carpenters glue doesn’t work, and their ‘school” brand doesn’t work either.

Laura from Canada tried Lepage White Glue and it did work.

I suspect that a lot of experimentation will be needed to find good substitutes for the Elmer’s Glue-All in other countries–but if you take on the challenge, do buy the smallest container you can find before doing your experiment. If you find a brand that works, please let us know. (If you find ones that don’t work, that would be helpful, too.)

Just so you know why it’s important–if you use the “wrong”  glue, the clay looks curdled or dry or flakey, and you can’t use it.

So–can you help us out? Know anyone in the construction or remodeling industry in your country who might be able to come up with the local name for “joint compound?” Your help will be much appreciated by frustrated sculptors everywhere. 🙂

441 thoughts on “What is “Joint Compound” Called in Your Country?”

  1. In Israel it’s called Wallpaper Glue – ??? ?????. I haven’t used it yet, so I can’t comment on how good it is for this use.

    • I’m not sure that’s right – the product here in the US looks like plaster that’s been mixed with water – but it isn’t plaster so it doesn’t get hard until it dries. The main ingredient is usually calcium carbonate. I suppose it might work to stick wallpaper to walls, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. The ‘drywall’ in drywall joint compound refers to the large sheets of plaster board that cover the interior walls in a house. The joint compound covers the joints between two plaster board sheets. I hope that helps …

  2. Does anyone know what it might be called in Norway? My daughter is working on a school art project and wants to make paper clay, but we are having a hard time finding the ingredients.

    • Belinda, do home builders in Norway make interior walls with plaster board? (Also called drywall or Sheetrock in the US.) If so, ask the guys at your local DIY store for the pre-mixed product that’s used to cover the cracks between sheets of plaster board. You can watch this video to see how the product is normally used, and this might help you explain it to the clerk: https://youtu.be/2uFK8OGV2UM

      Good luck!

  3. Hi Joni, Thank you for your informative site. I live in South Africa in the small city called Bloemfontein.
    I tried all the self dry clays I could buy in Bloem, but they all crack as they dry. It is rather disappointing if you spend hours making something and wait in anticipation only to see it csacked yet again.
    I found your recipe and want to try it, but I am not sure about the Joint Compound in South Africa.
    After doing my own research I found this https://www.gyproc.co.za/products/plasters . Is this maybe the right product and if it is which one? Is there any one that has tried this in South Africa?
    Or do I still have to go on searching.
    I am anxiously awaiting your reply.
    Kind regards
    Maggie

    • Hi Maggie. Quite a few readers from South Africa have told us that the product you’re looking for is called “Polyfilla.” I don’t have any way to test it myself, so buy a small container and try it. It should mix well with the other ingredients and dry hard. And if you do try it and it works, please let us know! I hope you have fun with it.

  4. Hi, in the Netherlands it is “voegen middel” or “muurvuller” bought in “Action store”
    About the Glue; I am using “Pattex houtlijm” Also availleble in the Action store

    • It’s called different things in different countries, but the main ingredient will be calcium carbonate or gypsum. It will look like wet plaster when you open the tub, but unlike plaster it won’t get hard until it dries.

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