7 EASY STEPS TO MAKE PAPIER/PAPER MACHE CLAY (PMC)
WITHOUT JOINT COMPOUND
As you can find out in How to Make an Eco-Friendly Table Lamp and How to Make Necklace Pendants Using Papier/Paper Mache Clay (PMC) or Any Air-Dry Clay, I’ve already mentioned that I somewhat adjusted Jonni Good’s recipe for making the clay, but since my intention is to upcycle trash for my crafts I continued experimenting to get my own recipe.
On the other hand, my main problem is that in my country (Serbia) I cannot find a ‘decent’ replacement for joint compound, which is one of the main ingredients of Jonni Good’s recipe. I suppose that its purpose is to give better plasticity and elasticity to clay, so I’ve tried a few products and the most similar effect I achieved with a type of tiling paste. Although it’s not ideal, without it the clay is somehow too ‘papery’, and after drying the surface gets unwanted creases like wrinkled skin.
Nevertheless, after lots of experimentation with all sorts of paper, as I was tidying up my desk and combing through many unnecessary copies of some documents that piled up over time, it dawned on me that I’d never used printed paper as a material for my paper clay…
So, the next thing I did was to try it out and here is my best result so far, in pictures and words:
I tore these 45 grams (~0.100 lb./~1.60 oz.) of printed trash paper*…
… into smaller pieces and put them into a deep bowl, poured hot water over and let them soak overnight.
Then, I take about one third of the soaked paper, put it in this very, very old blender I use only for my crafts, add in lots of water (which makes blending easier) and blend it until the paper becomes pulp. To decant the water from the pulp, I pour it in a colander (that I don’t use for food) in which I first lay a piece of strong net**. And of course, I repeat this step two more times with two remaining thirds.
So, after decanting, firmly twisting the net I squeeze the water from the pulp gradually and weigh it a few times to get a mass of 130 grams (~0.30 lb./~4.60 oz.).
Firstly, I mix the whole mass of the pulp with one cup of diluted carpenter’s (PVA) glue, wrap the bowl with a plastic bag and leave it for a few hours. This way paper better absorbs the glue which makes mixing easier and prevents lumps.
Then, I add 1 cup of starch, ½ a cup of coarse flour, ½ to ¾ a cup of tiling paste and about 20 ml (3-4 table spoons) of body milk lotion which smooths and binds the clay and mix all the ingredients thoroughly with drilling machine to which I added a ‘fork’ of an old mixer.
When the mass gets homogeneous, if the dough is still sticky or tacky, I oil well my hands with body lotion and knead it a little bit on a flat surface sprinkled with flour or starch.
And that’s it – you can now play with clay and create whatever project you wish. This clay is very sturdy and suitable for many different purposes. For example, I even used it to re-make the handle of this old good-steel knife and of this small umbrella that fits my smallest purse:
Last but not least, what you see here is my own experience and most of the lamps and necklace pendants featured on my pages and posts are made of this clay. But, it’s important to experiment with ingredients and find out what works best for you.
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* 1: With a shredder, it would be even easier to cut the paper!
** 2: It’s a piece of mosquito net!
*** 3: Keep always in mind that any product you made is completely dry before you decorate it!