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. 🙂

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

    • I really don’t think there’s any way to make paper products waterproof. If you’re making items to be displayed outside more than a few days, You should consider using a material that is already waterproof, like Apoxie Sculpt or concrete

    • I think there’s a brand called Pollyfilla in the UK. As the clerk at the DIY store if that’s what you use to fill the cracks between sheets of drywall or plasterboard. The Sheetrock brand may be available there, too.

      • In Portugal, joint compound is known as ” Massa de Juntas”.
        Is the kind of compound used to put together 2 drywall plaques.
        Em Portugal é massa de juntas, a massa que é utilizada para unir placas de Pladur.
        Vende-se/sells at Leroy Merlin and AKI.
        Hope it helps

  1. In Dutch voegenmiddel is often fast drying. You can better use gipsplaatvuller there is a pre mixed in a plastic bucket. I use the powder form and make it before hand and than messure the paper. How to is on the package.
    For the glue I use houtlijm and I am experimenting with glues from cheap shops.
    I have made paper mache with copy paper, powder drywall filler, houtlijm but I didn’t write down how I did it. It was without flour. It lasted for months almost a year. I am trying to make it again when I know the recipe I will give it to you

  2. Hi joint compound in South Africa is called polly filla. I was scrachin my head about this one. Now we have 2 different types available here the powder and the ready mix one. But the ready mjx is very expensive so i want to know if i do use the powder one what consistency should it be mixed to and do i just keep adding flour untill i have reached the desired consistency?

    • Hi Caroline. I haven’t used the powder type, so I don’t know how much water to add. Be sure to get the slowest setting version, or your paper mache clay could set up too quickly. And yes, you just keep adding flour until you get the consistency you want.

    • You can try to make it with the powder one. Read on the package how to do it. Make in thirst and than the toilet paper. I remember I used a little less in stead of 440 gr I used 400 gr. But it is 2 years ago. The exact numbers I don’t know any more. I am going to try to make it again….

  3. 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 …

  4. 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!

    • Hi Belinda!
      In Sweden we call it spackel, can it be something similar in Norwegian?
      I still have to test it, but would really like to be able to make my own paper clay.

  5. 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.

  6. 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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