Paperclay - My First Experiences!

by Sherry
(Notts, UK)

My Characters At

My Characters At

Paperclay results: I started by using a type of Dry (powdered) Paperclay call "Paperdur". Oops! It looked pretty much like how I wanted it to after I'd finish shaping it, but, to my horror, by morning my figurine looked like a dried up prune! No matter how much I tried to sand it, it just didn't work out.

I'm not sure whether it's just me - I might have mixed too much water in it - but I can shape Paperdur rather too easily and it was damp and squidgy throughout the sculpt.

After that I did a bit more research and found that most paperclay (that requires water) takes serious skills to get the consistency right and most of the time it is lumpy after it has dried.

So I guess for beginners like me, it's best to start off with the Creative Paperclay. To create my figures I've used what most artists seemed to be using: "Creative paperclay" from It's very smooth and super lovely to work with.

The first lot of figurines are drying well pretty well. There were some tiny cracks in hard to reach area, but it was quite easy to fix them with some water.

It's very easy to smooth paper clay with water. You can keep on re-wetting the paperclay until you are happy with it, even after bone dry. I guess that is the beauty of paperclay and that's why I didn't go for Das or polymer clay.

Also I'm useless at firing! My friend and I both think that Das is a bit too brittle to use to model small pieces as it kept on breaking off. In comparison to Fimo, paper clay's easier for me to use. You can take bits off it with the cutter tool whilst I've struggled to do the same with Fimo or polymer clay (I think it has too much elasticity), but my friend disagree and thinks that Fimo is just easier to mould.

There is also "Delight" paperclay from the same brand. It's meant to be a lighter and easier to use version but I really didn't enjoy using it. It was far too soft to make into any shape.

Luckily I tested it on one of the characters (Mountain range) that is very simple so it still worked but I really wouldn't recommended this type to anyone. My friends who tried Delight this weekend also said the same thing.

I still have to try the premium quality Creative Paperclay yet. Apparently it is much better to make small miniatures because it dries harder than the original and a little more difficult to sand.

This guy confirms my thought about paperclay recipe.

Best Regards


ps. Peter, I've received the tools! Thank you very much. I've also tried them out this long weekend with my paperclay. And it was amazing! In fact I enjoy sculpting so much I didn't get anything else done this weekend.

I've left your positive feedback on Ebay. :)

Thank you again for writing such a fantastic sculpting tutorials. I managed to get my figurines how I've wanted thanks to your lessons. I truly appreciate it.

Comments for Paperclay - My First Experiences!

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Great Submission On Paperclay
by: Peter Holland, Site Owner

Sherry, this is just the sort of contribution I am looking for, full of lots of info and first hand experiences. Thanks for your time!

papier mache vs paperclay
by: Mary

Hello Sherry, Your characters are very cute! I think the problem you ran into was confusing paperclay with papier mache. I haven't used Paperdur myself, but, from what I've read, it is the European version of Celluclay, which is "instant" papier mache pulp. You just add water to the powder. Any mix like that will result in a papier mache pulp which is good for armatures and rustic figures but, with papier mache, it is extremely difficult to get the smooth, fine finish you can get with Creative Paperclay.



Peter (admin) says:- Hi Mary, thanks for a great contribution - I made your link live, so as to make it easier for people to visit your site.

More notes on Paperclay
by: Lori Kiplinger Pandy

There are two types of paperclay: air drying (Creative, LaDoll, Padypur and ceramic paper clay.

Ceramic is wet clay with paper fibers that needs to be kiln-fired. It often is purchased in 25 lb bags and is gray in color but fires white. Graham Hay and Rosette Gault use this.

The other is an air-drying clay. It comes in small packages and is usually white or grayish white.

When using air-dry clay, you'll want to take some of the bulk out of the sculpture so that the clay dries more evenly. If you sculpt something entirely solid with paperclay you find that the exterior dries much faster than the interior - leading to heavy cracking. In fact, if you live in a fairly humid area, you may find that a 'solid dry' sculpture may not be drying on the inside because the outside dried - sealing in the moisture.

It works better to use foam or foil to bulk out your sculpture so you are applying a thinner amount of paperclay resulting in more even drying and less cracking. Hope this helps!


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