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What's the difference between paper mache and paper clay? Answered

I want to try making my own paper clay or paper mache for sculpting projects (like lightweight small pumpkin people for Halloween), but various instructables use one term or the other. Is there a difference, and if so, what kinds of projects would you recommend using each product for? Thanks.


A good papier mache recipe can be found at http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay and this website http://www.stolloween.com/?page_id=67 has lots of instructions for making all kinds of Halloween decorations.

For sculpting your little pumpkin guys I think you should use paper clay as it is like a dough - it's paper pulp ground up. Paper mache is little or big strips of paper or cloth wetted with a glue mix (wallpaper paste is ideal) or flour and water, laid on the object - see you have to have an object to lay the strips on. An object can be made of something like tin foil, cardboard (takes longer to dry) wire mesh. You get the idea. And yes, paper clay is brittle and does break. It has to be painted to look good as it is an ugly grey. A lot of work and it will break unless you put it up up and away, things just happen, cats etc. If your little guys are smaller than a breadbox use paper clay. Breadbox sized or larger use paper mache. The best stuff in the whole world for paper mache is a gauze that is impregnated with plaster, it can be purchased at Dick Blick on line. One of the advantages of paper mache is that the paper or cloth (not the stuff from Dick Blick) can be anything decorative so that can be part of the design. Say the comics from the paper, old maps, old cotton cloth, wrapping paper.

paper clay needs to be fired to achive it's full strength, it is also very brittly when fired paper mache, on the other hand it kind of like cardboard, you can bend it a little when it is cured for the pumpkin idea, use paper mache