Jump to content
Vista

Need help choosing clay for Paper clay

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I am working on a large scale sculpture about 5 feet tall and 31/2 feet wide. I will not be firing this piece ; will be air dried only. The life of the sculpture is expected to stay only for about 1.5 months 

I considered Laguna paper clay but availability and timing is an issue. I  have WED (Walt Disney modeling clay - wet) with me that I thought would use for this project initially.

Reading lots of posts about making your own paper clay and the advantage of green strength by using paper I am inspired to try making paper clay. 

I have  green blow in cellulose from Lowe’s that I want to use instead of bath tissue or newspaper.

My local ceramic distributor has OM-4 ball clay in powder format and can provide stoneware clay in dry powder format. I would like to get some advice on if one of these clays are better than the other. And any advice on how much cellulose / fiber should be added to the clay. I plan to rent a cement mixer to combine the clay and fiber. 

I plan to use the pillow case to filter / drain the water out. Is a plaster bat also required to get the clay workable consistency for handbuilding? 

Any additional inputs are welcome. 

Thank you in advance for reading my query and offering your help.

regards,

GR 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't worked with paper clay for a while but I can give my opinion of it.   The first batch I made was with some rag paper scraps that I had left over from college.   It worked fine but was a pain to make, the next batch I made I used a roll of toilet paper much easier.   A few years later I needed to make something with paper clay,   Laguna was making paper clay by then  so I tried it.   I liked working with it even better than the paper clay with toilet paper and it didn't spoil as fast as the ones I made.    I was only making a 5 gal bucket at a time because of the spoilage factor,  how much are you planning on making?      Denice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would  use the dry stoneware clay not the ball clay. There was a recent post on Ceramics Arts Daily about paper clay using cellulose fibre and the amounts here.  I would make up a bucket of it to get your ratio's right before mixing up a cement mixer full. The other thing you could do would be to use a drill with a mixer attachment  (like is used for cement mixing) mix up it 5 gallon buckets instead of the cement mixer. If you have the space for it what works for drying out the clay, after it has stiffened up a bit, is to put some large bath towels on an unpainted concrete floor, dump the clay onto that, and let it sit for the day then  flip it in half by lifting up the side of the towel, fold the clay onto itself then stomp on it, (with another towel on top), fold it over again and repeat. Drag the towel with the clay on it to a new spot of the floor. Since the concrete is absorbent it will help dry out the clay. Depending on your climate it should be workable after 2 or 3 days of doing this.  Once it's dried out enough that it doesn't stick to your hands then wedge it up on a piece of mdf clamped to a table top if you don't have a plaster wedging board.

Welcome to the forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing I'd add, and this is more for future readers of this thread than the OP, is that using cellulose attic insulation is only a good idea if you're not firing the stuff afterwards. 

Attic insulation is treated with fire retardant, and therefore adds extra nasty fumes to the burnoff. Extra attention needs to be paid to ventilation when bisquing paper clay.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Min, Denise & Callie for your inputs.  I will bear in mind the tips as I work on the paper clay. Since I last communicated the size of the sculpture has been revised to 3.5’ height instead of 5’. 

Would it be ok to mix cellulose with wed clay ( wet) since I already have it with me. In the past I have made a similar piece with Amaco’s self hardening airdry clay. 

Is it necessary to add cellulose at all for this project? If so, Can I just wedge in some cellulose in small batches as I work ? 

On 8/5/2018 at 9:20 PM, yappystudent said:

What are you making? 

I am making a sculpture  of Lord Ganesha; attached is an image if it  

Thank you all of your support and inputs. 

49B8038F-3463-47ED-9D40-25424765C8F6.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You definitely need to mix your fibre with some kind of slip and let it dry out. Wedging is a no-go.  Adding the pulp will add strength to the unfired piece, so I think it's a good idea from a structural point of view.  Denice is right: do a small experiment with the paper clay. It is possible to get detail with paper clay, but it does require a slight adjustment in your working methods. Additive methods tend to work better than carving. Carving can be done, but your metal tools will get dull and the fibre will leave marks as it gets pulled out, so there's more cleanup if you want a smoother look. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.