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Paper Clay

Paper Clay and Papier Mache are sometimes confused.  Paper Clay was originally made from clay slip (clay mixed with water) to which paper fibres are added and then kiln dried.  Papier Mache is paper and glue. 

There are now several 'purpose made' Paper Clay products on the market as well as many different recipes to make it from scratch many of which use a variety of ingredients.  This page features one of the simplest recipes we can find made from recycled paper combined with flour and water.  This can be moulded into a variety of objects and, after air drying can be painted as required.

As with all modelling products, paper clay is fun and easy to do especially for children!


2 Cups of paper (newspaper, construction paper, toilet paper in fact any uncoated paper)

4 1/2 Cups of tap water

1/2 (half) cup flour


Measuring cups


Mixing bowls

cartoon of a messy cook

If you have coloured paper and there is enough of each colour, you could start by sorting into the various colours as this will mean you will not have to paint the finished article and you can use different coloured batches when making your final item. Children love to help with this process and it has the added bonus of building their colour recognition.

Newspaper will result in a greyish end product - food colouring can be added to the mixture or the item can be painted after the drying procedure.

bucket containing soapy water on a trolley Method

Tear paper into small pieces (about 1" square)

Fill a 1 cup measuring cup with paper pieces.

Measure 4 cups of water and pour it into the blender together with the cup of paper.

Blend until a smooth pulp forms (the paper will not completely dissolve in the water as it is blended)

Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl.

After squeezing out excess water from the mixture transfer the paper into the second mixing bowl.

Add cup of water and the flour to the pulp.

Mix the water and flour with your hands or a spoon kneading them into the pulp until the mixture gets thicker and forms a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a table, board or countertop and continue kneading and shaping the dough.  It is now ready to model as you so wish. 

When you have finished sculpting allow the dough to air dry by leaving it out for 1 - 5 days (depending on the thickness of your finished item.)

Items can be sealed with clear, acrylic sealant which will protect them from damage and the elements if being used outside.

Things to make

Fridge magnets can be made by adding magnets to the back of the finished article with glue.

Create wall art for a child's bedroom.

Use your creations to adorn a plain frame, bookcase, cupboard door etc.,

Make ladybirds, butterflies, flowers to decorate flower pots and plant pots.




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