Sunday, 2 August 2009

Working with paperclay and makes of.

Before i talk about paperlcay just thought i would vent some frustration about my day first.
The phone rang this morning and it was my mum telling me she is coming tomorrow with my sister and two neices. This is lovely news but i am so disorganised in the house at the moment and went into a state of mad panic. I've spent since 9am this morning up until now scrubbing, ironing, sorting bedding, hoovering and moaning alongside lots of other jobs. The house is now like a new pin and can not believe how much i have done in these few hours. Could have probably done this frantic spring clean quicker if it were not for the three boys undoing as i did. I'm shattered now and it's like i have the Queen coming TOstay and not my family.

So, onto paperclay. Before i go on i'm in a bit of a hurry so please excuse all waffling, (i'm good at waffling... lol).
I promised one of my customers i would post here all about what i know so far from all the paperclays i have tried, with hints and tips for each.
Say for example i was making stone floring i would roll out as much clay as needed. Then i would cut out each slab and then secure in place with pva glue to the floor, then i would stipple each slab while working to a few slabs at a time. You can create stone effects by stippling with a firm brush, or sandpaper, maybe even crumpled tinfoil here and there.
You need to keep the clay fully sealed to prevent it drying and only use a small amount at a time for this type of work. You can make up lots of slabs and then place in a food bag only taking out a few to work with at one time.
Brush any surface with pva first and you shouldnt have any problems.

First off there is Creative Papercaly

I think this is a favourite of Rik Pierce. Its a fabulous paperclay and perfect for almost everything you can imagine with regards to miniature work.
It's drying time is quick, but still leaves enough time to work you textures and shape as needed. You can slow this down by spraying lightly with water as you work. You can easily stipple with a brush or sandpaper to create a stonelike texture or even crumpled tinfoil. It sands wells and can easily be carved if needed.
Its tough too once fully dry and one of the best out there.

But my favourite is Pearl Paper clay and it's a little cheaper than the creative.

It's equally as good for all i mentioned above, but the drying time is a little slower. This slower drying time is perfect in my opinion and you dont feel you have to rush so much. It too can be sprayed lightly with water as you work.
Its my favourite because i feel its easier to create a texture and you can create more detail where needed. I also feel its smooths (if needed) better than the one above and is less gritty. It also drys really strong.

The third one i have tried is Delight.

I wouldnt suggest this product for miniature work such as stones and flooring. It doesn't take texture well, it dries too quick and when it does dry its kind of like foam. Its also a lot cheaper than the other two but i think its better to spend a bit more and get what you really need.
It doesnt sand or carve well either.
I would say its good for kids and for other sculpture work but i really wouldn't want to use this on a house. I also find its not as strong and can chip easily.

There is one more paperclay product i've heard lots of good things about. Sadly because i have not used it i can't compare to the three above. Its called Diamond paperclay. I believe it dries a lot stronger than the pearl and creative so would probably be great for areas you are more concerned about breaking.
If anyone has used this product can you leave a comment with your views. Thank you if you can.

Here's a link to a site that sells all four of these, with more info and the prices.
You can also find each of these on ebayuk and Plus other craft websites.
Because it is heavy i would try and source it to the country you live in otherwise postage can be quite expensive.

Here's another useful link for more info:

Also, if you use an old food blender and mix paperclay with water you can create a slip like with real clay. This is good for a variety or surfaces and can be used like a glue to secure bits of the clay to each other. You can also mix this with a pestle and mortar, but i tend to use my hands and squish around for a while.
Also paperclay shrinks a little when dry. Its isn't much but i would suggest running a test prior to fully covering a wall or roof.

Further info
As requested by Casey in one of the comments for this posting i thought i would also mention Das. But before i do check out this link for various air drying clays and paperclays

I'm not sure to be honest what the difference is between das and what we we are all terming as paperclay. I know that paperclay is a mix of real clay and paper pulp and that das is clay from the earth that also air dries. I believe they are similar i suppose and both are equally good around a miniature house.
I also use das which comes in white or terracotta. I find it a little more messy than paperclay but it is equally as good for achieving as above with the paperclays mentioned. I don't however think it is as strong. For example if i made a roof tile with my favourite paperclay above and a roof tile with das, then the paperclay one would be harder to snap and the das tile easier to snap. But if its applied to a surface such as a roof or wall then there is little chance of it being broken because the wall would be giving it strength. But on the corners of a roof for example the tiles could break more easily. Its a lot cheaper so is more economical and it will give the same effects. I suppose you could do the majority of work with das or other similar air drying clays. Then use a stronger clay for the corners. It will all be painted anyway so would be much more economical.

I also found this. If anyone has used this product would you mind sharing your views.
I know this is going right off track from paperclay but it sounds fabtastic expecialy for items that for some reason or other cant fit in the oven.

Oh what a day! Off for a lovely bubbly soak. Nikki x


  1. I've only ever tried Creative paper clay, but I love it. It does shrink a little though when it's drying and sometimes I find it hard to judge how much I'm goping to need.

    Had to laugh when I heard abot you cleaning for your Mom. I do the same thing...and my 3 kids go right behind me and take everything out, too. I remember when my Mom came to visit one time, and I found her using a butter knife to scrape the dirt out of the cracks of my kitchen table...That's when I realized I'd never get it as clean as she thinks it may need to be, besides I rather craft!!! LOL

  2. I always seem to end up rather messy when I use paperclay! Fun though! : )

  3. Nikki, you didn't mention DAS. That one is my favorite. Almost the same as creative paper clay and you get twice as much for the money here. It comes in white and teracotta. Great stuff.

  4. First Nikki, I know exactly how you feel about visits, I do exactly the same and the worst is when my Dad comes over from the States to visit. Last time he said we needed a turbo loo Lol.
    Now I am so pleased you have put some thing about the clays. As far as I am aware paper clay is lighter than the air dry clays like DAS and the other ones. Or am I wrong? Its a mine field as there are lots of different types of clay out there.
    Have a nice visit with your family.
    Thank you for the info.
    Debie xxxxxxxxxxx

  5. I feel your pain about guests. I'm not the neatest housekeeper--would rather be creating minis or sewing! So it's the in-law's 50th wedding anniversary in October and DH decides he'll invite all of their living brothers and sisters and spouses for dinner. And there are major things to fix up, spruce up, paint, replace and straighten! Ugh.

    I've only used Creative Paperclay but find I am not very good at it and then it cracks when it dries in my southern climate. I'll try to order some of the second one as it's not available to me locally.


  6. Sorry Nikki but I haven't a clue about what pva is. Would you enlighten me? Thanks, Judy

  7. Thank you Nikki for the outline of the different types of paperclay. We only have Das here and I am happy to learn that they are paper clay as well. I have bought 2 packs and they are still lying around , unopened. Haven't work with paperclay before and this post is really useful! I will be back to comment on DAS once I have used it.

  8. Thanks for sharing all this info Nikki. Mick's parents went home today, but like you it was a mad clear up before they got here.. LOL

  9. Hi Nikki,
    Hope you don't mind but I have left a challenge for you on my blog. Julia
    PS Advice on paperclay was perfectly timed, we have been thinking of trying it out rather than DAS.

  10. Hi Nikki there is a challenge for you at La casa Rossa if you want to pick it up. Rosanna

  11. Hi Kate and David. I too love it loads!

    Hi Katie. I forgot to add about it shrinking a little when drying so have gone back and added about this.
    Its funny how we clean like mad for family visiting. I mostly do it because it then makes me feel organised and more able to cope with several other people in our tiny house. I do tend to take it all to the extreme though to the point of it almost being clinical... lol.
    Hope your mum didnt ruin the butter knife with all her scraping. My mum did the same while she was her and washed and scraped at my skirting boards.

  12. Hi Midnightgrovestudio. I too end up messy, i wipe my hands on my top and the floor looks like its had a good flouring.

    Hi Csey. I went back and added about the das. I agree its just as good for almost everying but i find it can break a bit easier. Thanks for remonding me i needed to add it.

    Hi Debie. Never ever have i heard of a turbo loo, but people i know who have been to the states always come back with some fascination about the toilets and taps etc.
    I think paper clay is a lot lighter than das when dry and so suitable for mini houses.
    Ive seen people make pemdants and things like that with it because its so light.

    Hi Jody. Why do men decide on these great big meals thinking it will be a doddle to prepare.
    I'm sure it will be lovely though with everyone toegther and worth all the hard work preparation.
    I've not had paperclay crack but maybe extreme hot weather could do this. I have found das to crack though on large areas of work, but i just filled the cracks in.

    Hi Judy. Pva is white glue, or school glue. I think in the states its called white glue although not sure.

    Hi Sans. Its quite difficult to find all the facts about all the kinds of clays but das is a lovely one to use. Hope what you have planned goes well. I find you can get little cracks in the das when it dries but they can always be filled with more das again.
    Its good to share our experience with products so we know what to buy for different purposes. You can end up spending a fortune trying to find out on your own.

  13. Hi Debbie. Mad clear up... lol. Mine was a mad woman on a mad spring clean. The house is a tip again now. Its too hot to care today!

    Hi Bear Cabin Mini's. I will do my challenge in a few mins and thank you for sending to me.
    I think you will find my two fave paperclays will be great for what you have planned.

  14. Thank you Rosanna for the challenge. I will go and do this now.

  15. Diamond paperclay is a lot harder than the other kinds - an orange stick won't dent it or smooth it. It tends to crack as it dries, but those are easily filled in. It carves very well and is easily sanded with 240 grit paper.

  16. WooooW its a very helpful posting. I made mini food & cakes for personal collection & so far I have spend a lot for trying different clay (Makins, Crayola air dry, Fimo bake clay) but so sad, NONE of them are perfectly easy to shape & easily mold. Its all Cracking & sticky to my palm & my molds. I was so frustrated because I already spend a lot for those. Now I would like to try using Pearl paper clay. I hope it will not crack too bad as those clays.
    Thanks again dear. I'm on etsy aswell but I dont have a shop there.
    Warm Regards


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