How to make plasticine from paper

How to make plasticine from paper
How to make plasticine from paper

Paper modeling clay is a cheap and easy-to-use sculpting material made from toilet paper and a few ingredients available in the DIY department of supermarkets. It is an alternative to paper mache strips, easier to model and giving a more realistic and smoother result and which allows to realize details. Paper modeling clay is ready in five minutes and hardens in the open air. It can then be painted.


Part 1 of 2: making play dough

Make Paper Clay Step 1

Step 1. Gather the necessary materials

To make pulp, you will need toilet paper and a few ingredients that you can find in a hardware store or in the DIY section of your supermarket. This recipe makes a smooth, malleable modeling clay that can be molded onto any previously prepared support. As it dries, this paste hardens and can then be painted or varnished. Here is what you will need:

  • 1 roll of single-ply toilet paper (no coloring, perfume or lotion)
  • 25 cl of preparation for tile joints (paste and not powder)
  • 20 cl of white glue for schoolchildren (PVA)
  • 2 tablespoons of paraffin oil
  • 70 g white flour
  • 2 large salad bowls
  • an electric mixer
  • a graduated glass

Step 2. Remove the toilet paper from its roll

It will be cleaner to remove the paper roll at one time rather than peeling it off to remove the cardboard roll. Place the toilet paper in one of the bowls.

Step 3. Fill the bowl with water

Pour water over the toilet paper until it is completely soaked. Push the paper into the water so that it is thoroughly wet.

Step 4. Wring out the toilet paper and place the pulp of the paper in another bowl

Tear it into small pieces (about 2 cm). This will allow you to wring out the paper even more. Place the wrung-out pieces of paper in a second bowl, so that they can be mixed with the other ingredients. Continue until you have wrung out all the pieces of paper.

Step 5. Measure 40 cl of paper pulp

A roll of toilet paper corresponds on average to 40 cl of paper pulp. If the brand you use has more or less paper per roll, you will get more or less paper pulp, maybe more than you need. In this case, make more paper pulp or discard some of it, so as to obtain 40 cl of paper pulp.

Step 6. Add the other ingredients

Add the tile grout, glue, paraffin oil and flour.

Do not change the ingredients used. Different types of glue, flour, etc. will produce different (and not always successful) results by changing the consistency of the plasticine

Step 7. Mix the modeling clay until you get a smooth, even consistency

Use an electric mixer to beat the plasticine at high speed. The paper fibers will come apart and mix with the glue, oil, flour and the tile joint until they take on a consistency reminiscent of cookie dough.

  • To get a thicker dough, add a little flour.
  • For a more runny consistency, add a little glue.

Part 2 of 2: using paper modeling clay

Step 1. Prepare a sculpted shape

Paper modeling clay is used in place of papier-mâché strips, which are usually dipped in glue and applied to a wire mesh or tape structure. Prepare your sculpted shape so that it is ready to accommodate the play dough.

Step 2. Spread the plasticine on the structure using a knife

Plasticine can be spread in the same way as icing on a cake. You should be able to apply it to the sculpted shape with a knife so as to create a smooth finish. Cover the shape with paper modeling clay as you would with paper mache strips.

  • If you prefer to use a thicker dough that can be worked by hand, add a little flour to thicken the dough, until you reach the desired consistency. Then spread the dough by hand, with a spoon or with the instrument of your choice.
  • Let the first coat dry. The dough will start to dry out forming a hard outer crust on which you can add more modeling clay.

Step 3. Add layers

Apply more layers of plasticine where your sculpture needs to be thicker. Keep adding layers, letting them dry before adding additional layers. You can add as many layers as you want to your sculpture. There is no minimum or maximum. The more layers you add, the heavier your sculpture will be.

Step 4. Sculpt the details with your fingers or with the instrument of your choice

For example, if you are sculpting a face, the plasticine will allow you to add detail around the eyes, nose and mouth. Keep sculpting until you are satisfied with the result.

Step 5. Let the modeling clay dry completely before painting

After a day or two, your sculpture will be rock hard. The pulp can receive any type of paint or varnish.

Step 6. Store the rest of the plasticine in an airtight container

This will prevent it from drying out. When stored correctly, paper modeling clay will keep for several weeks.


  • The best way to use paper modeling clay is to add it to a pre-existing shape.
  • Press the wet paper with a rolling pin directly on the drainer of the sink, this way the water will be directly drained into the siphon and the dough will be wrung out more evenly.

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