Garden Toad Made with New Weatherproof Paper Mache Clay

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Last week I made a leaf for this toad to sit on. Now the toad himself is almost done.

He still needs to be sealed, and glued to the leaf, and painted…

OK, there’s still a lot of work to do, but I learned a lot during this silly project. When it’s finished and glued to his leaf, this toad is going outside. We don’t know how well it will stand up to Minnesota weather, so this is still an experimental project.

However, the new clay is so much fun to work with that you might want to make some inside sculptures with it, too.

    I’m sure we’ll continue to learn more when we start using it more often, but here’s a list of what I could think of this morning:

    • The new version of paper mache clay, with Portland cement replacing the flour, is a lot of fun to work with.
    • The consistency can be altered by slowly adding a little more cement at a time, until it feels the way you want it to.
    • You can use a temporary stamp made with modeling clay to add some texture.
    • A new wet layer can be put over an old dry layer, and it will stick, just like the original paper mache clay does.
    • It dries very hard, but it can be sanded. It isn’t easy, though. Wear a mask and do it outside so you don’t make a mess.
    • It will absorb water, but it doesn’t soften the way the original paper mache clay does when it gets wet.
    • It can be used to make a cast, like the leaf I made last week, but you wouldn’t want to pour it into a mold. It needs to be used in a thin layer, so it will be able to dry all the way through.

    We’ve also been hearing about similar recipes that other people have come up with, like the Lipka version that Carol told us about. I don’t spend much time surfing YouTube for variations on the paper mache clay recipe, but if you’ve used one that includes cement, please let us know what you think of it. I hope you’ll also try this version, too, so you can compare them for us.

    And if you experiment with the new weatherproof paper mache clay recipe, and put your new sculpture outside, please remember to come back and tell us how well it did. πŸ™‚

    Vote for a new name for this “weatherproof paper mache clay”:

    Should we keep calling it weatherproof paper mache? (I’m starting to get used to saying it, so maybe we should just leave it alone…)

    Or should we call it one of the following names, which I picked out from all the wonderfully creative names that were suggested by readers:

    • Garden mache
    • Outdoor mache
    • Paper cement clay

    Let me know what you think – and share any suggestions or ideas you might have for future experiments. πŸ™‚

    Update – we have a winner!

    You voted, and the clear winner was Paper Cement Clay. Thanks, everyone! πŸ™‚

    45 thoughts on “Garden Toad Made with New Weatherproof Paper Mache Clay”

    1. I have seen that cement will react with aluminum. I see that you didn’t cover the frog with tape. Have you ever heard anything about this before?

      • Yes, I’ve seen that, too. But the folks at that Pal Tiya company make their sculptures over aluminum foil with no issues – and the toad is still doing well. And the dips in the foil help reinforce the paper cement shell – so I’m not too worried about it. If I sold large sculptures, I’d need to do more research, though. I’ll ask Lee Bell what she things about it.

    2. You mention Magic Sculpt (sp) which I found to be expensive. Why couldn’t you just use 10 min 2-part epoxy paste? I use the underwater variety all the time of r swimming pool repair…obviously, I’m a pool guy. Thanks again.

      • Yes, you can do that. But you’d have to be a lot faster than I am. I can’t sculpt a toad’s fingers in less than 10 minutes – but you are right about the cost. Magic Sculpt and Apoxie Sculpt are expensive. This little guy didn’t take much, though, and the per-ounce cost goes way down if you buy in the larger containers. Besides – I already had some, and wanted to use it. πŸ™‚

    3. I’m new so bare with me if this question has been answered. You keep referring to the “curing time”. What are you waiting for to cure? If it’s the combination with the drywall mud have you thought of using “fast setting” mud, like 10-minute mud, or throwing in some plaster of Paris? LMK and thanks…great vids.!!!

      • Hi Gary. This experimental paper cement clay recipe contains Portland cement, which takes time to get hard. We don’t want to hurry it up, because when Portland cement is used in more traditional formulas, making it dry faster would weaken the final product. We don’t know if that’s also true with this recipe, but it seems best to let it take its time, and cure slowly, like we would if we were making a concrete sculpture.

    4. Hi Jonni,
      Your toad is fabulous. I definitely need to make lots of them for my garden.
      I am currently making your elephant pattern reduced to 80% with your “Paper cement clay”, which I think is the perfect name for this product.
      I have made several of your animals and masks so far and hope to post photos soon.
      Thank you for giving me such a wonderful retirement hobby.
      Helen : )

      • Thanks, Helen. We’d love to see your elephant when it’s done. πŸ™‚
        BTW, we just found out that sculptor Lee Bell has written a book about her outdoor sculpting method and cement recipe. She’s been using it for years, so there’s no ‘experimenting’ required with her recipe, like there is with my paper cement clay. You can see her post here.

    5. I think Outdoor Mache Clay works. πŸ™‚ Since it’s not the paper strip and glue type, and you want to differentiate it from other things. Blessings and loving the idea, wishing I had the materials to make and try it…vehicle issues, but soon, Jonni, soon!


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