cheap toilet paper (measure the wet paper pulp, and use 1 1/4 c – some rolls contain more paper than needed)
1 c joint compound from the hardware store (get premixed “regular,” that comes in a plastic tub, not the dry powder form)
Note: The DAP brand does not work. All other brands will work just fine.
3/4 c Elmer’s Glue-all (PVA glue)
1/2 c white flour
2 T Mineral oil (a better choice if you’re working with kids, or if you like to get your hands in the clay)
Note: If you find that your clay seems “rubbery” instead of smooth and creamy, you may need to use a different brand of joint compound. They all make their products using different formulas. Most of them work, but if you find one that doesn’t, please let us know. ]
Making Your Paper Mache Clay
You’ll also need a large bowl, (use one with high sides so you don’t splatter clay on your cupboards), an electric mixer, a measuring cup and a tablespoon measure. To keep the finished clay from drying out, you’ll need an air-tight container. The recipe makes approximately 1 quart of paper mache clay.
Note about Toilet Paper:
Unfortunately, the people who make toilet paper don’t expect us to turn their product into great works of art, so they see no reason to include the kind of information that would make things a lot easier for us.
I use a brand called “Angel Soft,” in the “regular” 2-ply rolls. I buy it at my local Wal-Mart. Each roll contains approx 1 1/4 c of paper, which I measured by wetting the paper, squeezing out the water, and then firmly squishing it into a measuring cup.
Since brands differ so much, the first time you make this recipe you should take a few min to find out how much paper is in the first roll. Then adjust the recipe if your brand doesn’t contain about 1 1/4 c of paper. Fortunately, this is not a chemistry experiment or rocket science, if your mix contains a little more paper or a little less, your sculptures will still be stunning.
Step 1. Fill a high-sided bowl with warm water. Remove the toilet paper from the roll and throw it into the water. Push down on the paper to make sure all of it gets wet.
Step 2. Then pick up the paper and squeeze out as much water as you can. Pour the water out of the bowl and put your paper mass back in.
Step 3. You will want to break the paper into chunks about 1″ across. This will allow your mixer to move around the pieces and break them apart.
Step 4. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix, using an electric mixer. The mixer will pull the fibers of the toilet paper apart and turn it into pulp. Continue to mix for at least 3 min to make sure all the paper has been mixed in with the other ingredients. If you still see some lumps, use a fork or your fingers (with the mixer turned off!) to break them apart and then mix some more.
Your paper mache clay is now ready to use. It will look a bit like cookie dough – but don’t eat it!
If you don’t plan to use your clay right away, place it in an airtight container to keep it from drying out. The clay should stay usable for 5 days or more, if you keep it covered. The recipe makes about 1 quart.