|Paper Crafts Site|
|Michele G. Desmoulins
BellaOnline’s Paper Crafts Editor
Paper Clay – Air Dries and Non-Toxic
Once it dries, it becomes very hard. You can carve it or sand it, at that point, to refine any details. This is a very safe type of clay, as it is made mostly of wood or paper pulp, starch, water, ash and preservatives. Sometimes they come in different colors but, more often there is a choice of neutral whites or an opalescent shimmer.
For a nice smooth surface you will need to roll it out. However, traditional wood rollers will stick to the clay. Often times there will be a clay roller that will be sold with the paper clay kit. Or you can buy it separately at the art supply store you get the clay from.
Another popular rolling device is PVC piping. Are you doing some renovations on your home or know someone who is? Ask them for a chunk. A lot of local hardware stores or place like Home Depot might have small pieces laying around they may give at a small price. Make sure the pipe piece is not too short or too long as it will be hard to work with. This is a great tool, as it does the trick in giving your paper clay a smooth, flat surface.
For different types of clays there are different types of rollers. They are designed so they don’t stick to the clay you are using. There are other categories of clay such as, polymer, epoxy and plasticine.
The air dry clays, are the safest but, change as the water evaporates. Know what to expect and you can work with it accordingly. If you you have added any color, it will be darker and more intense when the clay is fully dry. The size of the clay piece will become smaller too, as it dries.
Paper clay and other types of air dried clay, will have a binder or adhesive added to the formula. This is so that the clay will stay together once dried and it will help make it more secure on artwork. The completely dried product is very strong and does not break easily unless it was rolled very thinly.
Once the paper clay is applied to the art and has fully dried, take care not to keep it in a humid area. Over time the dried clay will reabsorb moisture from the air and can soften to the point where it falls off or falls apart. To help prevent this, make sure you seal it with a finishing glue such as Modge Podge, or an acrylic varnish.