Paper Clay Recipe

As I have mentioned before, I first found the recipe on Ultimate Paper Mache, and saw it made by Chezlin. This is my method of doing it – in wonderful shades of yellow because our kitchen light makes everything that colour.

As a recap, the recipe is:

24 g of dry toilet paper, soaked to become 110 g

1/2 cup Elmers Glue

1/2 cup drywall compound

2 tablespoons of mineral oil

1/2 cup of cornstarch/cornflour

1/2 cup flour + extra to thicken and dust counter

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Donuts and coffee are not a part of this recipe, but are pretty good additions – just make sure to not get any clay on your food! (Oh look you can see the TV Mom’s watching a bit)

First, weigh out the toilet paper. It looks like a lot – I’d say about 1/3 to half of a roll? I suggest wrapping it around your hand as you uncoil it from the roll, so you can dump a roll onto it rather than loose sheets. Keeps it from falling off the scale.

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Once the dry amount is at 24ish grams, dump it into a bowl of water and squish down so everything is soaked. Tear apart with your fingers, and make sure everything is thoroughly wet. Then, start picking up clumps and squishing out water. I find I’ll get the majority of the TP out of the water and close to the 110 grams, then will drain out the rest into a strainer to get the little bits (as you can see below). Gather that, squeeze it a bit, and add it. Hopefully it’ll come to 110. If it’s more, squeeze out more water; if less, you may need to add water. I prefer to have it heavier because it’s easier to squeeze out water than it is to add since I usually have dumped it all down the drain woops.forms of tp.jpg

So as a comparison of weight difference….

drywet

Once it’s at 110 grams, toss it into your bucket or bowl. Now, you get to add the other wet materials!

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Mix that shit so it’s kinda vaguely together – it’ll be clumpy and gross looking. Then you start adding flour/cornstarch! I had poured a 1/2 cup of each into a bowl beforehand because I use the same cup for all of my measuring.

Stir it together. Initially, it’ll just be slightly drier form of clumpiness. Get it so the flour/starch mix is well intigrated, then add more flour until the mix starts pulling away from the sides and it wants to stick all together in a ball. Then, toss flour on your workspace and turn out the ball (take a moment to try and scrape any remaining bits from your bowl or bucket so you can get it all in there!)

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It looks a bit like pastry dough. Honestly, if you’ve ever done any baking, this is pretty similar to that! This is after a bit of mixing in the bits so it’s more of one ball. Keep kneading and adding flour whenever it starts sticking to you too much – use flour on your own hands to help prevent this. You may need to add flour to the counter as well if it starts sticking there. Just throw flour everywhere. I like to make sure even the cupboards are liberally dusted, because you just never know. (Also I’m messy)

Soon, you’ll have a pretty little ball!

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I do like my dough stickier, so at this point it sticks a bit and isn’t quite how other people do it. I toss it into my container and clean up at this point. At which point, those scrappy things and green scrubbies are your friend, assuming your workspace isn’t super easy to scratch.

medalsponge

He has been through some shit. I made him a little medal in Paint because he deserves it. (I tossed him out after this round, he was pretty done).

And there you have it! Paper clay! Now throw it at your friend, or make a penis out of it, or whatever you wanna do. Don’t eat it! Drywall compound and glue is not good for you.

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Procrastination Problems

This, I believe, is my greatest trouble with anything – procrastination. And currently, it doesn’t help that I work 3 jobs (with a 4th job that I’m going to start giving time to as well) – so any bit of procrastination ends up eating up the one or two hours I had to give to chores, tasks, or art. This is why I haven’t updated in a while, and my art has stuttered a lot and slowed.

My particular brand of stalling tends to be sleep. Or laying in bed. In particular, this is difficult when it’s early in the morning – I find it hard to force myself out of bed, preferring to roll over for a few more minutes or checking updates on my phone. Lately, I have had some time to get on my computer – and I end up on Stardew Valley, which is incredibly addictive and makes me feel like I’m accomplishing so much when I am only furthering my save file. Not a bad thing at all, but it’s irritating when I realize how much meat-space stuff I also need to do.

In the past, I’ve tried a few different things – rewards, punishments, pep talks, criticising… It doesn’t really work, I find. Not for long, at least. In recent times, I have been able to get myself going by focusing on the pleasure of doing the item – the reward of seeing a chore finished, or experiencing the word of art. This is helped along by my general good mood – when I’m in a depressed state, I couldn’t give a shit less what happens, so long as I don’t have to move (which is why I tend to throw myself at projects when I do have the energy).

It is admittedly an ongoing problem. I have in no way even slightly fixed the issue – but it’s something I pick up and examine when considering my behaviours and what I’m doing, or when I’m frustrated. It’s my greatest hurdle, even more so than my full schedule and depression – at least depression lessens every so often!

Well, I am hoping to go on and finish a few more blog posts for the day, so at least I have it done. Thank you if you stayed til the end of this ramble, and look forward to my next post – where I explain my paper clay recipe!

All together now~!

Once I got home from my trip, I whipped up a batch of paper clay and attached the back fin. Not gonna lie, I have been itching to do that since leaving! I’m so excited to see it all together!

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There’s still a few little touch ups to do before painting – several on the bottom, and the occasional hole or rough patch on the rest of the body. This also includes finishing the back hole where the cord goes through, and removing the red tape I used to protect the cord and is visible once clay’d in.

I’m chomping at the bit to do the next part, but I am having to force myself to wait. You see, I want to do some paint swatches before I throw myself wholeheartedly into painting. My friend lent me some iridescent blue that is supposed to shimmer, and it’s best on light colours. I want to try it out on a few different colour schemes – black with the iri-blue, or maybe with white and another blue, before the iri-blue? You see, I haven’t decided what colours I wanted to make, only that I want that iridescent. I also want to see what it looks like, because I may decide against it after all.

Only a few problems, though:

  1. I lack many colours; I have only white, blue, purple, red, and two yellows. While I could mix things together, I really wish I had at least a black to try a base of pure black.
  2. I’m not sure if I want to sandpaper the body down before I paint. I hate sandpaper but maybe the look will be better.
  3. I have no idea where that iridescent blue even is. (Wow, who could imagine with that IMMACULATE CLEAN STUDIO losing something so small?!)

I plan to sit down with pieces I’ve made as try-outs to try out the colours. At the very least, I can get the base colours down and try sandpapering. It’ll be interesting mixing the paints (and then matching it and making enough for a full body ugh). Hopefully, that happens soon. Maybe Thursday (I wrote this that day before I touched any art stuff, and this will be scheduled for tomorrow.)

How does one write tho

 

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Hello y’all! For those following, I apologise for missing Monday’s post and putting this one up super late. With the travelling, I fell behind – and then spent free time once I got home sleeping, because sleep is fantastic. Hopefully this is not a trend!

Today, I want to address my posts. Re-reading them, especially those written while travelling, I noticed they uh – kinda suck. They’re rambling, unorganized. No real point, just kind of exists. They lacked real substance – some thoughts, but no end. This is fine; to be honest, this is how my brain works and it can take time and a bit of work to get it to be understandable and easy to access for others. I do want to improve this though – after all, why would anyone read anything that is not good, or fun, or informative? So I have decided to focus myself on creating better posts.

My major issue was lack of outline. In essays, you’re told to write outlines all the time – you have your main point, a number of supporting points, and a conclusion. Each point gets its own paragraph generally, and you expand on it with some notes. I take something similar, but with less format (I will show you my outline for this post at the bottom of the post, and that starts to get meta as fuck).

I also noticed that the writing input affected my writing style. Currently, I write this on my desktop. I have a full keyboard, I can switch between this window and others without much difficulty (and this is necessary because I like to look at other things between thoughts). Several of the posts before this was written on my phone, using a Bluetooth keyboard. I quite enjoy this process – it can be done anywhere, and I so enjoy being curled up on a couch. However, every time my group chat dinged, I’d have to click away and then it took a few moments to come back. It also was a pain in the ass editing – I would try to tap where I want to go and was always off by a bit, and then it’d pop up the touch-screen keyboard. It results in a handful of curses, to say the least.

Hopefully between these two things and a list of prompts at my hands, I’ll be able to create better content. We shall see. So far, I think the results speak for itself, don’t you?

Outline

Greetings (apologies for missed & late post)

Lacking posts – no org, very rambling, not quality.

Solution – return to essay writing roots at least in part; use outlines and points. Spend more time on it. Writing with mobile phone is alright, but should be only if travelling – and with a written draft 1st.

Result – Well, this post.

Some musical ramblings

What do you listen to? Does it change depending on your activities?

As I write this, I have my 8tracks app open as usual, playing “Purge that Urge”. The tags list “violent urges”, “mental illness” and  “intrusive thoughts”. It’s been a recent favourite. I had stumbled upon it after a period of listening to Bill Cipher-themed playlists (Bill Cipher being an evil demon from Gravity Falls). Scrolling through my favourites, I see ones related to Peridot and Jasper from Steven Universe, and a ton of Five Nights at Freddies. Many of these playlists I have listened to over and over and over again. 

A common theme in my favourite 8tracks playlists are techno and electronica genres, songs that speak to a darker nature, or hold an often violent energy. And honestly, it’s because they relate back to some of my favourite characters – the murdering animatronics of Five Nights at Freddies, or the energetic madness of Bill Cipher, or the anger of Jasper. Peridot seems to be the only exception, with a generally happy feel. 

These are the lists I currently love best for my art. I love sinking into the feeling of working with my clay and paper mache as my mind wanders and creates situations with these characters I adore. 

I think that something I’d like to explore are audiobooks, though I worry about losing track of what’s going on. Until then, I think I should start poking into some Mabill playlists – I wonder how they’d mix the usual swing associated with Bill, and Mabel’s hyperactive feels. 

Wishlist for health and safety 

Hello All. Unfortunately, I lack any pictures right now, so I can’t do my planned back-fin post, but instead I’ll chat about some health and safety & studio wishes I have!

One of the biggest things I have found with sculpting is that it is a pain in the ass to move the item without messing up the wet clay. This wasn’t such an issue with my angler fish – she is large enough that, even when I worked on multiple sides with my clay, there was always a dry hand-hold somewhere.

No, it’s my damn kneeling man who is a pain in the ass. 


You see, he dislikes sitting nicely. More so if you’re touching him! So, I often had one designated dry limb that I designated as that day’s handle, and held it in one hand while working with the other. This has several issues: I only have one hand to mold and spread clay, it starts to hurt to hold one hand still for so long, and I still manage to accidentally grab wet bits!

I have looked at rotating tables like this:

(Image and item from sculpt.com and item retails for approximately $325)

But that won’t solve my issues with Kneeling Man. So after trying to remember what the hell the pinchy things are called, I looked up sculpture vices. 

(Image and item here at www.leevalley.com.Vice retails for approximately $160)

I believe something like this would work. However, there’s always the same issues that comes with any new tool: is this actually what I want? Can I afford it? And will it be worth it to either only use for a year or so (and give it away when I move) or somehow find space to bring it with me? Finally, do I have space for the thing?

These are questions I’ll have to do some research on, and I’ll keep y’all updated whenever the hell that happens – I do know I won’t be able to afford anything for the next two months, at least.

While I believe getting a vice or spinny table will actually solve several health and safety issues – back health, wrist health, and also the safety of my art pieces – I have one last item on my wish list. Lights. Omfg lights.

On this youtube video by Robin Clonts on social media hacks, the artist suggests getting a setup like this! (ebay – light set up). About $91.

I may have mentioned before, but I live in a basement. I have overhead lights and two lamps to focus on my work, but the quality still is pretty bad. I have managed to get it bright and comfortable enough for my eyes, but I know come painting stage the colours won’t be correct, and my photos are god awful.

However, this light setup is not worth it. Yes, I may be able to afford it in a few months, but I wouldn’t have space to pack it with me (unless they pack up real tight), and I lack space in my studio. I have to twist and wriggle to get in and out to begin with, I can only imagine how often I may accidentally knock them over. 

One day, my precious…

Thank you for joining me today on looking at a few items of my wishlist. I will hopefully be back to regular topics and the like soon; unfortunately I hadn’t gotten enough posts written up before I had to head on a trip. Friday will probably be something also like this, and we’ll be talking about them back fins come Monday.
Have a great day, peace!

and the membrane connects to the… fin bone

I really don’t know fish anatomy, but sure.

So, somewhere along the line I was pretty much set on doing tissue paper for membrane. I had tried silver, but the one side didn’t glue on; the glue mixture instead beaded up and didn’t do shit all to anything.

SO. White tissue paper it was.Which, thankfully, I have tons from an event I had decorated for. 

The glue mix I used was vaguely 50/50 Elmer’s Glue and water. I stored it in a pill bottle I had running around, which worked pretty well for keeping it closed when not used and dipping into. I used a brush to apply it to the now-dried clay fins. 

The first time I worked it, I tried for one layer and found myself ripping through it. I would do ‘chunks’ of tissue paper ripped off and glued over the front side of the fin, crossing several ‘fingers’ at a time. Admittedly, I found myself disliking the process. I got so used to the willy-nilly that working with clay encouraged, and I hadn’t switched my brain to be focusing on the details. I was just trying to rush through, not enjoy the process. 

The second session, I started into it with a mind to enjoy the focus of small details. I had spent the week between sessions to consider why I disliked the process and result, and came to a few conclusions: my focus was wrong and I thought I should try stringing a long strip of tissue paper between the two nearest fingers, rather than chunks acorss multiple fingers. So, that is what I hopped into it doing, also going over the membrane twice with tissue paper to make it thicker. More importantly, I focused on enjoying the process of slowly placing the strips and glue on.

I much liked the result! 

I went in later to fix up that rip – this was the back fin, which I used the second process of stringing tissue paper back and forth. 

After placing on the membrane, I found myself with a conundrum. In one fin, I had the tissue paper over top – I had very carefully smeared paper clay over the fingers to hide the tissue. The other fin had the paper on the back, and there was a little gap between the finger and membrane.

I sent this picture in a group chat I had with several art friends and asked for feedback on which they liked better. The concensus was for the one on the left, which made my life easier. No need to make a whole new fin, just smooth paper clay along the fins and connect the fins to membrane proper. 

I really enjoyed working with the tissue paper, but with the delicacy it has – even now, after it’s dried and a bit harder, I worry for any possible rips and tears. It’s a good technique I’ll keep in mind in case of future projects that’d be useful.

(Also ‘membrane’ makes me think of this song: Frontier Psychiatrist by the Avalanches )