Friday, January 25, 2013

Paper Mache Clay Cat and Dog

Sometimes the creative juices dry up and I found myself wanting to try something different.  Looking for inspiration, I ran across some paper mache / clay projects. These are my first two projects and I'm currently working on two more.  The shapes aren't perfect because I like the playfulness of how they look.

To see some amazing projects visit these artist on youtube:


Paper Mache Paste

This recipe is for non-cooking paste.  Works great, dries fast with a hard cover.  I do not use ballons.  I use newspaper for the initial shape of the project.  Taking one sheet (page) of newspaper at a time, I ball up the newspaper until I get the size I want. Then I put it inside a plastic grocery bag, then twist and tape off the.  Then I add 4 layers of paper mache, let dry and then add a layer of paper mache clay (recipe below).

When I made the Cat and Dog, I cut out ears and feet from cardboard and taped (masking tape) them where I wanted them before putting the paper mache on.  I used wire and taped it under the dog's ear to get the shape I wanted.  I used the clay recipe to mold the ears and nose.

For the projects I'm currently working on, I used the clay to make the body parts instead of using cardboard.  I found it easier to add the parts after I did the paper mache and clay. After putting on the layers of paper mache, I put the project in front of a fan to dry (rotating as needed).

Paper Mache Clay

I found a great recipe for paper mache clay at  When making paper mache projects, lots of newspaper is needed to add layers to make the project durable.  Using paper mache clay allows you to cut down on the layers of newspaper and is a a great medium to use to add details (nose, ears, feet) to your projects.  When I mixed the first batch of clay and used it for the first time, I found that it was a bit thick for me and I wanted a smoother finish so I played around with the mixture the second time around.  I've found that thicker clay works best when making parts - nose, feet, ears.  You can mold them into shapes and then attach them to the project.  Thinned out clay makes the clay easier to spread and makes the overall surface of the project smoother.

So, on the second batch, I used the recipe below, then I took half of the batch and added more glue and compound and mixed it until I got the texture I wanted.  Doing it this way gave me two different batches, one thicker compound for shaping, and one smoother compound for overall coverage.  Once you do the first project, you will be able to determine the clay texture that works best for you.  The Cat and Dog were my first projects, I'm currently working on an Owl and Frog and the texture of those are much smoother and I will have less sanding to do before painting.

1 Roll of Toilet Paper (cheap works best)
1 Cup of Joint Compound (Pro-Form All Purpose at Walmart)
3/4 Cup of Glue (Elmer's Glue-All)
1/2 Cup of White Flour

Unroll toilet paper into large bowl and add water to cover the toilet paper.  Let set for couple of hours and then take a handfull at a time and squeeze out the water and tear into small pieces.  In a large bowl, add the joint compound, glue and flower and blend with mixer.  Add handfull at a time of the wet torn toilet paper and mix.

Homemade Gesso

Recipe for homemade "Gesso":

1 Part Glue-All (Elmer's Glue)
3 Parts Joint Compound

Add ingredients into bowl and use electric mixer to blend.  Store in tightly sealed plastic container.

Note:  The Joint Compound I use is the Pro-Form All Pupose Ready Mix at Walmart.  I bought a 3 lbs containter for less than 5.00.  Makes a ton of "Gesso" and is a great base coat for painting Paper Mache / Clay projects.