Jonni Good, Of ultimatepapermache.com created the recipe I use for the “skin” of my human sculptures. It’s cheap, easy to make, moldable, fast drying, and durable. After many repetitions, I’ve written my own version of her air-dry recipe. Contact me on my Etsy site “Kaso Art Studio,” for questions about this version.
Smooth Air-Dry Paper Mache “Clay” Recipe
- ½ c TP (Angel Soft) 24 g dry, 110g wet
- ½ c Joint Compound, 200g (not Dap brand)
- ½ c Elmers Glue-All, 130g
- ½ c corn starch, 70g
- 3 T. Boiled Linseed Oil
- All-Purpose Flour: ½ c (70g) to start, later add ¾ cup (100g) in last step.
A scale with gram measurement, small mixing bowl, a colander, large mixing bowl, two small bowls (that look different), a tablespoon, a measuring cup, and an electric mixer. Measure all ingredients beforehand.
Mix wet ingredients together in the large bowl: joint compound, glue, and oil.
In one small bowl, mix the corn starch and ½ c flour; in the other, put the 100g of flour (use different-looking bowls so you can tell them apart).
Fill the small mixing bowl with hot water from the tap. Immerse the TP for about 20 seconds, swirling your hand stiffly as if your fingers were the tines of a fork, so that the TP starts to break apart.
Drain TP in colander, then squeeze the water out of the ball gently until the sodden TP weighs 110-120g. Add to the large bowl by breaking apart into small pieces. Start mixing with the electric mixer, breaking down the TP in the wet stuff. Then add the dry (cornstarch and 70g flour) bit by bit until it’s well-incorporated, about 1 ½ minutes. Stop mixing; clean off blades and immerse them in the sink.
Now you’re going to add as much of the 100g of flour as you need—less for a damper mixture, more for a dryer one. Take a big metal fork with wide tines and, while holding onto the bowl, add the remaining flour and vigorously mix until it’s blended as well as possible. Then turn out onto a surface dusted with cornstarch and knead like dough, adding cornstarch liberally until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands or the work surface. It should be soft, springy, and even-textured. Store in a cool place in a zip-lock bag.