Friday, October 7, 2011

How to make Paper Clay

 I fell in love with sculpting with paper mache during my first project five years ago. However, I never really found a recipe that was worth the time and effort and mess that it took to get what I wanted. As a result, I used Celluclay for most projects. However, I recently stumbled upon an incredible blog called, Ultimate Paper Mache where Jonni (the artist and blogger) shares all sorts of tips, tutorials and recipes to help anyone on their way to successfully paper mache-ing. I am blown away by what Jonni can create, but I was especially grateful for the recipe she shared on how to make your own paper mache clay. Hot dog! It is easy as pie, quick, and works like charm! 

For my purposes, I ended up altering the recipe just slightly so that I could get the thicker consistency that I like. Here's my version of the recipe but I strongly suggest popping over to Jonni's site where she posts all sorts of details that you might find handy):

Paper Clay:
2 Cups toilet paper
1 Cup regular joint compound (the premixed kind. Jonni recommends not using Dap brand since they changed their product and it doesn't work for the recipe anymore).
3/4 Cups paper mache paste or Elmers glue (much cheaper to use your own paste).
3/4 Cups flour
(The original recipe calls for Linseed Oil, but I didn't really find much difference, other than it was smelly and one more thing to keep out of reach of my boys.)

Start off by soaking your toilet paper in water:
 When it is fully wet, remove cardboard center, squeeze out as much water as you can and break up into chunks.
 Add all ingredients and mix on medium-high for 2-3 minutes and viola! You are ready to sculpt your heart out! Recipe yields 3 Cups of paper clay.

41 comments:

Mamacessories said...

Love your blog! I have 3 kids - one 4 year old boy and 2 girls in their 20s....I too am always creating something with my son (or as the rest of the family calls him THE PRINCE LOL!) and I love this recipe - thank you! DO you find that it molds after a while? We had a paper mache project took forever to dry and ended up having some mold...so it had to get tossed away.
Maria

TheFairyyellowbugQueen said...

I am way excited to try this! Who would have thought of t.p.? I've used torn newspaper and boiled it until it breaks up; strained it; then mixed up wood glue, flour, wallpaper paste, linseed oil (you can use fine sawdust), and just munged it all together with my hands(I wore gloves) until it was the consistency I liked. Sadly I sprinkled it with bleach as well, to help avoid mold growth (oil of cloves apparently does the same). In industries that produce papier mache molded moldings (these are many feet long) the recipes for the papier mache are a well guarded secret. The papier mache is put into the molds under pressure (it is really crammed in as it shrinks) and then slow heat dried. It is a very strong product and you can treat it like wood. Stain it, sand it, screw into it. I made a bunch of marionettes and screwed right into their heads to attach the strings. And literally sawed it with a wood saw and a metal file to shave off bits of dried papier mache. Anyway...I don't want to write a tome here. I wanted to say you can put the creation in a low oven (200 deg. F.) for 8 or more hours to assist the drying. I cannot count the times I've thrown out lovely papier mache things I've made that have got bugs in them (they ate zillions of pin holes all over the item). I just can't figure out if the bleach would have helped or really what would have helped. It is a puzzle to me. Also mice love papier mache. They are especially fond of eating the face right off of my beautiful little dolls. There are many papier mache stories. I love your blog and am excited to try your recipe!!! *smiles* Norma

Amanda said...

I have made this recipe (Jonni's) several times. If you want a less pulpier version I pureed the toilet paper in a blender (my paper making blender) and then used my paper screen to drain out the excess water. The reason for linseed oil is to prevent mold and keep the bugs off of it. I recommend lavender oil (I think I used about 20 drops)if you don't want to do the linseed oil.

My kids love playing with it and it works just like Celluclay (rock hard and you can sand it).

Manda :)

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

Doll maker here and I'm very interesteed in what you've done. Do you have any pictures of objects you've made with this clay recipe?

Dixie

Debbi said...

Gosh! Thanks! I love this! I had big plans, but really, really didn't want to buy {pay for} the ready-made stuff! A friend of mine pasted your link on Pinterest. I love it! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post! Lots of fun!

Deb Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

Well son of a gun, who knew you could make your own paper clay?! Thanks so much for the recipe and the links!

shredding Austin said...

Should you really use a new toilet paper roll? Old newspapers may take a longer time to dilute under the solution but it can be a cheaper alternative.

Anonymous said...

For the Paper-clay do you measure the Paper-mache paste wet(mixed to goop) or dry powdery?

Darwinia said...

Hi,

Ifound this recipe a few months back...along with the paste recipe.... the linseed oil is to keep the clay from getting moldy....might be a good idea for some climates.
one of

jonni's later videos has a finer recipe calling for powdered clay..... I communicated with Jonni about it and also the distributor in Oregon....the people in Oregon were surprised their product was being used that way ... and mentioned a mask should be used as the dust could be toxic.

Again, this is as far as I've gotten...i'd like to hear from anyone having success with the powdered clay paper clay recipe. ---Darwinia2@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Try this - I'm an art teacher and use it with my students. "GreenFiber" (a friendly blown insulation made from recycled material - no fiberglass...about $10 at Home Depot for a HUGE bag) mixed with Elmer's Art Paste (a dry glue used in paper mache. Prepare the Art Paste according to the box instructions (will look like shampoo). Mix the fiber and paste until it has the feel of meatloaf. That's it. use it just like clay. Dries light like paper mache...can cut it, paint it, add wet to already dry.

Shari Tombs said...

To the teacher above using "Greenfiber" - the manufacturer mixes boric acid into this product to make it flame retardant. So even though it is labelled non-toxic, it is not something you want your students to handle without gloves & masks on!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note here, you might want to use the linseed oil. It was initially there so that when the paste drys up the oil hardens itself exactly like in linseed varnishing process.

Just my wo cents ! Mlove your blog!

Cyn said...

The fire resistant used in GreenFiber is Borates, not Boric Acid. Borates is from the element Boron, which comes from the minerals Borax and Kernite, which are water soluble minerals. Boric acid is a weak acid of boron often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, neutron absorber, or precursor to other chemical compounds. It has the chemical formula H3BO3 (sometimes written B(OH)3), and exists in the form of colorless crystals or a white powder that dissolves in water. When occurring as a mineral, it is called sassolite.. It's been used for centuries as a food preservative--though it's toxic if ingested or inhaled in large quantities.

All that said, it's always safer to use protective glasses and dust masks when dealing with dusty materials, especially for kids.

synergynewzealand said...

I thought this recipe was for paper clay for firing in kiln lol, potters use vinegar to stop our paperclay becoming stinky might work in paper mache paperclay

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im in South Africa so i had a way to go to find the local equivalents, Joni was amazing, what a woman!
You could use baby oil (mineral oil) instead of linseed, it does the same thing, is safe for kids and makes the mix smell great. I have been using this clay for 3 years and cant fault it, it can even be rolled out as thin as card! wonderful stuff...
Lovell Southey

lovell southey said...

Hi Im in South Africa, so had a real mission to find the local equivalents, Joni is amazing, she will help any queries in an instant!
You could use mineral or Baby oil instead of linseed, its safe and smells great.
I've been using this clay for years now and it is great.
It can also be rolled out super thin and draped like fabric over armatures...have fun.
Lovell Southey

Elise Hartmann said...

I cannot wait to give this a try! Thanks for posting!

ScrappySuZQ said...

Just wondering if you used toilet paper with lotion in it. Would that negate the need for linseed oil? lol I will just have to give this a try. Thanks for the recipe and pics.

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Anonymous said...

add a little bit of salt to the mix to keep it from molding

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TLady said...

WOW!!!!!!!! JUST found your blog! :) I have been wanting some Paper Clay to play with & just haven't bought any yet! NOW I DON'T HAVE TO! :) Do you have a Paste recipe, (instead of the Elmer's?) I'll keep looking on your blog BUT, HAD TO let you know I am VERY PLEASED to find your recipe! THANK YOU!!!!!! :)(I like to make cards & thought to make my own embellishments with small silicone molds!) :)

MissTech said...

About linseed oil: some people substituting with vegetable or olive oil etc...I just want to tell everyone PLEASE don't sub food oil for linseed. Linseed oil is used in art and oil painting as a DRYING and HARDENING agent (it polymerizes itself). Any OTHER oil will just cause the piece to retain water because water and oil don't mix (do NOT use oils for 'better consistency' worst idea ever). I know everyone likes to experiment but there is a reason the original on-line recipe says linseed and not olive, canola or other vegetable oil. Art is about material science as much as it is about beauty ;) so happy crafting !

Tincan Crafter said...

Hi - I ofnd this post because I want to make a about cigarette-box sized casting out of something that is really lightweight. I am in South Africa - and I have everything except "joint compound" and I was wondering whether it is the same thing as spackle? Also there seems to be a lot of discussion on the moulding issue - my question is - does the moulding occur when trying to store wet paper clay or is the actual the moulded item that starts to mould? Lastly, why do you have to use Linseed or baby-oil - is it just to give it more slip?

Rottn Woman said...

Hi, thanks SO much for this! I am going to make a giant (60cm or 24 inch) Pumpkin to convert into a Cinderella Carriage for my dog to pull in parades - really!

You've solved all my problems except - what is joint compound. I'm in Australia, and like South Africa we just don't have such a thing. Is it for covering the joints in drywalling? Or cracks??

Anonymous said...

So excited to try this formula. I have used the expensive premade papier mache for years in my doll molds. It comes out great but is cost prohibitive. I will certainly be trying this! God Bless you and your family. Thanks for posting to Pinterest.

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

So glad I stumbled upon this it seems like such a great recipe and I cannot wait to begin! Just a few questions... When using this recipe- can you mould clay objects with a smooth like texture? Also, will it dry and harden, or will I have to worry of it melting/disfiguring?

The reason I ask all this is because I have a college project where I have to recreate Greek Art statues (they just have to bare a resemblance) and I was hoping to use this recipe for it...

Thank you for your time!
Greg :)

Anonymous said...

Is there any substitute for joint compound that can home made?

Gourdgal said...

I have been paper macheing Christmas projects for 20 years using a recipe from Readers Digest Crafts and Hobbies book I've had for years. I use wallpaper paste (powder form), 1 part powder to 10 parts water, whisk smooth, add more water if needed for consistency and add some Elmer's white glue. I strip Viva paper towels for my purposes but have used blank newsprint when I found it. Just run strips through mix and apply to armature. Let dry, I then cover with another coat of watered down glue, paint objects and then varnish with water based interior/exterior, 2 coats. Have never
had bugs get into projects that had been varnished. I have been interested in adding more dimension and playing with paper clay. These comments have been very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Nobody answers our questions about what is a joint compound, because we're not USA citizens (and we have no idea what things like ,,elmer's glue,, and other stuff made in merica are, even after long googling) so we don't deserve attention.

Stella Whittingham said...

Hi anonymous.
Bunnings have a product called Bastion Joint Compound. Try that.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_compound

Anonymous said...

Yes joint compound is used for drywall joinst and cracks. :-)

Pat Faulkner said...

No need to take offense...joint compound & spackling are used with dry wall or sheet rock to fill the joints between sheets or to fill nail holes. When it dries it is hard and can be sanded and painted. It adheres the joint tape to the dry wall to make a seamless finish to hide the joints...thus the banner joint compound. Elmer's glue is a brand name crafting or school glue that dries clear. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

"Elmer's" is a common American household brand of regular "white glue" or PVA

Anonymous said...

I need some help. I saw this video of this artist but all she will tell is that she used Paper clay on a canvas, then she sanded the canvas, the paint was already in the clay by the color of the dust from sanding. Last she water blast it with a water hose. Looked so easy. I can copy this. I work at a private school told my special needs kids we will be doing this after spring break. I have spend about $100 trying to copy. Help Please Montanblue

Ann Claire Shelley Kay said...

I would like to know what regular joint compound is and what would be the equivalent is in the UK. I am a Papier Mache artist trained in the Italian method of mask and sculpture, which uses the traditional flour & water glue, but I am interested in making solid small sculptures. So your article really interests me.

pomrica said...

Now we just need a recipe for precious metal clay! :-)

pomrica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Joint compound in the UK

http://bit.ly/1wzqYxq

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