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!

wetshit

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.

Journey to paper clay

Damn that title sounds a bit more epic than this will actually be.

Paper clay is a fantastic recipe from Jonni at http://www.ultimatepapermache.com. She has a ton of videos and articles, as well as guest articles. I don’t remember how I decided to make the paper clay, I simply remember deciding to do paper mache because it was cheap and easy. Paper clay just kinda came along for the ride. Somewhere along the line, paper mache became the second option, with paper clay being my favourite.

In the beginning, the clay results were … mixed.

Torso - Fooling around

I have zero clue what I was even doing bros.

In this, you can see the results of several different attempts – from this clumpy dry stuff, to a weird smooth one that had a ton of lumps in it. The reason for this was my misunderstanding of how to make the stuff.

So, the actual recipe calls for: 24 g of toilet paper, soaked and squeezed to become 110 g of wet toilet paper, 1/2 cup each of flour, cornstarch, school glue, and drywall compound, and 2-3 tablespoons of mineral oil, with flour added in to get your desired consistency.

However, when I started creating it, I somehow got the impression that the toilet paper was a full roll.

This is so not right. So very much not right.

24 g of dry toilet paper is a fairly sizable clump. About 7 pee’s worth, let’s say. But it’s about 75 sheets of cheap dollar store TP which is much thinner than the nice stuff. So with a whole roll being approximately 175 sheets, the mix had these giant clumps that would not blend or play nice. Getting the amount of TP figured out helped immensely.

Next thing that changed it all was the method. So, beforehand I was trying to use a blender to get it to what I assumed should be a cake batter-like consistency. What happened was I found this video that helped me figure out what I was doing wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmpab4UNP7U

(Chezlin’s Paper Clay video)

Basically, once I got it all mixed together, I was to pull it out and knead it into more of a bread consistency, which fixed the last of my problems! Now I have a nice mix that I can make in about half hour including cleaning time. I keep it pretty sticky, preferring to use water to smooth it onto things. I tried adding extra flour to part of a batch so I could roll it out into fins for my angler fish; I quite liked the results, and will probably use this for items that aren’t being smeared onto a body.

In order to apply my smearing clay, I wet my hands to prevent sticking and to help squish it into place. It’s dirty and so satisfying. I have been slowly using tools to try new techniques, but often feel a little lost at what to do – I never really was into clay and the like, finding it difficult to mould and a pain in the ass. Plus, with the need to fire it (or hope it doesn’t crack and fall apart when dry), it became difficult for me to even want to explore the medium of clay too much. Paper clay seems to solve those issues!

So far, I’ve done a lot of playing around – a foot, genitalia, some weird teeth thing, the torso up there, and finally my angler fish lamp, of whom you’ll see a lot.

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 Angler Fish lamp, in progress

One of these days, I’ll make a video showing how I make and apply my version of the paper clay.

Today’s Footnote 



How much does my paper clay cost me?

Toilet paper: I buy 4 rolls at $1.30; each roll is 175 sheets, and I’d say I’d use not quite 1/2. So, the one package creates 8 batches. $0.16 for each batch.

Mineral Oil: I use 2-3 tablespoons, which is approximately 30mL to 45 mL. One bottle of 500mL costs … $12? Sure. $1.08 for 3tbsps, per batch.

Drywall compound at $15 per 3.5L or 3500mL, with 1/2 cup coming to about .11L. … I think my math says 0.50 per 1/2 cup, so sure.

School glue 3.8 L for $30. Eh, we’ll double the price of above, so let’s say $1.

Flour $1.25 for 907 grams, with 1/2 cup being 64 grams. 0.09 per 1/2 cup – usually I’ll add about 1/2 cup more, so let’s say 0.20.

Cornstarch $1.25 for 2 lb with 1/2 cup being 94 grams. 0.13 per 1/2 cup.

All together: Approximately $3.05 per batch.
Unless my math is wrong, which to be honest it probably is.