What is “Joint Compound” Called in Your Country?

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.

On another note, the DAP brand drywall joint compound will not work in the paper mache clay recipe. An ingredient in their formula causes the mixture of glue and joint compound to get rubbery or stiff. I like the ProForm joint compound that is sold in the paint department at Walmart.

So far, the translations we have for the joint compound are:

  • Drywall joint compound” in the United States (guys in the construction industry call it “mud”)
  • Drywall filler” in Canada
  • Joint filler” in the UK
  • Fugenspachtel” in Germany
  • Joint finish” in Australia
  • Voegenmiddel” in Dutch, according to one reader – but Elizabeth says the correct translation of joint compound in Dutch is gipsplaatvuller.
  • In India I believe it’s called “wall putty
  • In Guatemala joint compound is known as Pasta de Tablayesero
  • In Portugal, joint compound is known as ” Massa de Juntas”. Em Portugal é massa de juntas, a massa que é utilizada para unir placas de Pladur. Vende-se/sells at Leroy Merlin and AKI.

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.

Just in case you’re wondering, the paper mache clay can be used on any of my animal sculpture and mask patterns.

The glue can also be difficult to find. 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. What you’re looking for is a PVA glue —but do buy the smallest container you can find and experiment to make sure your brand will work.

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. 🙂

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

  1. In Danmark( Danish) joint compound is calded ” Spartelmasse” eller ” Filler”.
    but like in Germany It´s a child with a lot of names 😉
    But if you use one of the 2 product you came a long way.

    Great Side.

  2. In Brazil, the joint compound is called “massa para juntas drywall” ou “massa para tratamento de juntas”! It was really hard to find the correct name, because here drywall isn’t a common thing. For the glue, brazilian artists normally use one specific brand of PVA glue (cola PVA), Cascola Cascorez.

    • Može, na osnovu gorepomenutog nema?kog – to je masa za fugovanje, popunjavanje razmaka izme?u zalepljenih kerami?kih plo?ica. Nadam se da ?e Vam ova informacija biti korisna i pozdravljam Vas.

  3. Dear Jonni, thank you for your seemingly endless patience and kindness regarding all the questions that people all around the world have for you.
    Elmer’s glue is called “puuliima” in Finnish. Erikeeper is the best known brand.
    As for joint compound, through some exhaustive googling I believe that the Finnish term would “saumatasoite” WITH the qualifying letter J. (There are multiple different joint compounds with different qualities that are marked by letters like LV, LG, LF, R.) “Perinteinen ikkunakitti” (made with chalk/liitu and linseedoil/pellavaöljy) could also work but is quite expensive.
    However, since joint compound was only sold in huge tubs I settled for Kiilto FINE viimeistelysiloite that is sold in 400ml tubes for 9,90€. I found that it worked beautifully in the recipe and I was able to achieve the same consistency as in the video. It might be a little slower to dry, taking at least overnight if not more.
    Thank you once again, Jonni, and the whole ultimatepapermache.com community!

  4. Hi Jonni! I’m from Uruguay!
    I read a comment from an Argentinean lady and, like she said, the joint compound here we call it “enduído”. Though Argentina and Uruguay are almost like “next door neighbors”, for us, the Elmer’s Glue is “cascola” or “cola de carpintero” (carpenter’s glue).
    Can’t wait to try this “recipe”. Thanks!!

    • Existe em qualquer loja com material de construção ou drogaria e é descrito como preparado em pó para massa de reparação de fendas. Atenção em não comprar massa já pronta

  5. In South Africa I believe it is called polyfiller.. you can also get contractors acrylic adhesive in a big tube applied with a metal gun type extruder.. sorry.. brain is not able to find the correct words all of a sudden

  6. In Zimbabwe I have been trying out our wood glue and a type of Polly filler we have here to seal cracks in concert walls. One thing we do have is toilet paper 🙂

        • I love the idea of hiding little houses around the flowers and veggies, for the fairies (or the frogs…) 🙂

          Have you considered making them with Apoxie Sculpt or some other brand of epoxy clay instead of paper mache? It’s waterproof. That’s what I used for my squirrel, and it just survived a Minnesota winter.

      • Ms Jonni. I bought the powder form of Joint Compound… Is there a way I can use this 🙁 I hate to throw this away

        • Hi Louis. I really like that painting. As for the joint compound, I’ve never used the powdered form myself, but some of my readers have told me that it will work. I think you’ll want to mix it according to the directions on the package first, and then follow the recipe. The powdered joint compound usually has plaster of Paris in it, so it might harden faster than usual, but so far I haven’t heard anyone say that’s a problem. Give it a try – and be sure to let us see what you make with it!

          • Thank you so much for the response. I am so relieved that this could work, I am a hobbyist and I love trying art to escape from stress and the world. I am truly thankful that there are people like you who are very open to sharing what they know to the world… Lots of love Madam and more power to your crafts

  7. I believe the word for joint compound is called “fogmassa” in Sweden. But not the silicone kind. But I’m sorry I have no information about glue but I will try some different PVA glue because I don’t think we have the Elmers glue in Sweden

  8. Hi,
    as I’m a German in France, I try to answer in both languages.
    German:
    “Fugenmasse” is the word for *every* kind of fillers. Unfortunately there are many different mixtures (some are only silicone, others epoxy-resines) and some are even poisonous because of fungicides, or not usable, because they are waterproofing your paper at once. So it’s important to look at the recipe, that I find in the english description: “The compound is a complex combination often including water, limestone, expanded perlite, ethylene-vinyl acetate polymer, attapulgite, and other ingredients.”
    So in Germany it’s more “Fugenmörtel” (mostly limestone and others), which is relatively hard and can be too rough. Better is “Variabler Flexfugenmörtel”, a mixture from limestone and ethylene-vinyl actetate polymer and others. It comes also as powder or ready mixed. Pay attention that there are no fungicides and other poisonous materials in it. “PCI Nanofug” (BASF company) is a product you can find nearly everywhere.

    France:
    The product doesn’t exist in the same mixture, it’s mostly imported from Germany. The word: “mortier de jontoiement”. The same as I told for Germany, you have to control the mixture, there are so many different products for different materials.

    As for Elmer’s Glue:
    I’m bying it directly from USA by Internet, all other ways are too complicated. In Germany you find some grossist stores by Google, too – in France not really. It’s one of the best, because it’s relatively thick.
    But you can use every:
    – “Polyvinylacetat-Kleber” (shorter: “weisser Vinylkleber” or “Weißleim” (Germany)
    – “colle PVA”, “colle PVAC” or “colle blanche” (France)
    … but many are quite humid. In Germany and France they are mostly used in schools.
    Nearly as good as Elmer’s is the French product from Cléopatre (company) called “Vinyl’École Multi-Use”. It has a little bit more water than Elmer’s, but dries as quickly. Hope I could help – thanks for your recipes!

  9. Wow, this is so helpful! I’m an American expat in China, trying to find joint compound to do some textural canvas art. I don’t know it in Chinese, but looking it up on Taobao, “wall putty” worked in my translator app, whereas “joint compound” and “plaster” and “wall repair” did not. Hope that helps someone! Thanks!

  10. hi, good morning, I’m from Mexico here Elmer’s glue is ” Resistol” or “Pegamento blanco” , And the dray wall compound is called ” Redimix” or “compuesto para resanar juntas de tablaroca”.
    thanks for all the information is very interesting.

  11. Hi Jonni,
    Just happened to come across your blog and think it’s an excellent idea to collect the local names for certain products we use in our crafts.
    Here in Greece, they do not have drywall at all so I doubt there is a name for the compound. I will ask some of my Greek friends anyway. Everything here is made of cement ( can you imagine how difficult it is to simply hang a picture on the wall!!).
    As for the glue, I have seen Elmer’s brand around but don’t know if it is the one you use. I very successfully use wood glue for all my papermaking crafts as it has that elasticity that I like plus it dries clear.
    If I get anymore helpful info I’ll be sure and send it to you. Thanks for thinking to help all of us who live abroad.

    • Thanks, Lisa. They don’t use drywall in a lot of places – I don’t think they use it in Iran or India, either. Elmer’s isn’t available everywhere, but there’s usually a PVA glue, (same thing) and that might be what your wood glue is, too. I appreciate your input.

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