First Meeting of Aeolian Art Club

Today was the first meeting of the Primary Grades Art Club. Beginning with red, blue and yellow paper mache clay, we mixed secondary colors (green, orange and purple). We used the whole color palette to make a rainbow wall decoration.

We even learned a rainbow song:

Red and yellow and pink and green,
Orange and purple and blue...
I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow.
You can sing one, too.

The only downside of mixing your own colors? Frequent hand washing! It's important to keep those colors pure!

To make your own paper mache clay at home follow these steps!

Making Your Paper Mache Clay


1 roll of toilet paper

3/4 cup of white glue (Elmer’s glue-All)

1 cup of joint compound (Available at Home Depot near the dry wall, for @$4 -- enough for 5 batches! Don't buy DAP brand because it makes the clay gummy and sticky.)

1/2 cup white flour

2 tablespoons linseed oil (Available at Michael's for @$6 -- enough for @10 batches)


You’ll also need a large bowl, (use one with high sides so you don’t splatter clay on your cupboards), an electric mixer, a measuring cup and a tablespoon measure. To keep t he finished clay from drying out, you’ll need an air-tight container. The recipe makes approximately 1 quart of paper mache clay.

Note about Toilet Paper:

Unfortunately, the people who make toilet paper don’t expect us to turn their product into great works of art, so they see no reason to include the kind of information that would make things a lot easier for us.

I use a brand called “Angel Soft,” in the “regular” 2-ply rolls. I buy it at my local Wal-Mart. Each roll contains approximately 1 1/4 cup of paper, which I measured by wetting the paper, squeezing out the water, and then firmly squishing it into a measuring cup. Be sure to squeeze out as much water as you can!

Since brands differ so much, the first time you make this recipe you should take a few minutes to find out how much paper is in the first roll. Then adjust the recipe if your brand don’t contain about 1 1/4 cup of paper. Fortunately, this is not a chemistry experiment or rocket science–if your mixture contains a little more paper than mine, or a little less, your sculptures will still be stunning.

Step 1. Fill a high-sided bowl with warm water. Remove the toilet paper from the roll and throw it into the water. Push down on the paper to make sure all of it gets wet.

Step 2. Then pick up the paper and squeeze out as much water as you can. Pour the water out of the bowl and put your paper mass back in.

Step 3. You will want to break the paper into chunks about 1″ across. This will allow your mixer to move around the pieces and break them apart.

Step 4. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix, using an electric mixer or food processor. The mixer will pull the fibers of the toilet paper apart and turn it into pulp. Continue to mix for at least 3 minutes to make sure all the paper has been mixed in with the other ingredients. If you still see some lumps, use a fork or your fingers (with the mixer turned off!) to break them apart, and then mix some more.

Your paper mache clay is now ready to use. It will look a bit like cookie dough—but don’t eat it! You can color the clay with food colors.

If you don’t plan to use your clay right away, place it in an airtight container to keep it from drying out. The clay should stay usable for 5 days or more, if you keep it covered. The recipe makes about 1 quart.

The first meeting for Upper Grades will be on November 18. See you there!