UPDATE: I've added an extra ingredient to my glue recipe -- liquid starch -- to act as a hardener and binding agent. The previous recipe worked fine, and I was adding the starch to my paper clay directly, but chose instead to put it in the glue since the glue will also be used in pastes.
Since paper mache is one of my favorite mediums (along with Monster Mud) I'm always looking to improve on the technique. I've progressed (regressed) from using white glue and water to glue-flour-water to what I like to call "pancake batter," which is nothing more than just flour and water.
With glue running upwards of $10 or more a gallon, the flour-water mixture is a heckuva lot cheaper and provides a just as durable bond. Recently I ran across a recipe for a paper clay that has the potential for doing away with the strip mache technique altogether.
Jonni Good (can her middle name please begin with a "B") of Ultimate Paper Mache has devised a clay recipe that can literally be painted onto forms and in layers as thin as 1/8" to 1/4" and which provides a shell every bit as durable as the layers of strip mache she previously used (she's been doing paper mache for 50 years!). You can check out her recipe here.
Yet one of the ingredients calls for white glue, which, as I mentioned before, is relatively expensive. So I set about to find an alternative that would serve the same purpose only at a cheaper price and came up with this recipe. It has just
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup liquid starch
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp. vinegar
|Ingredients: flour, sugar, water and vinegar|
Mix the flour and sugar together in a saucepan.
Mix till its relatively smooth in texture.
Add the rest of the water.
Mix until it has a smooth, creamy texture.
Combine the vinegar into the paste and mix.
Heat the mix until it starts to thicken.
I'd stop a short time before it starts to clump like this. You'll feel it start to thicken in the saucepan.
Allow the glue to cool and then store it in an air-tight container. I use a glass jar though I imagine a Tupperware container or similar vessel would suffice. Refrigerate.
In the new paper clay recipe it also calls for use of glycerin to replace the linseed oil it previously used. Glycerin is also relatively expensive and I wondered if I could make my own. Turns out you can make your own using lye, olive oil, sea salt, and a few other ingredients. It also turns out, you can no longer easily buy lye at your local supermarket because it's also a key ingredient in making meth. So it's now a controlled dangerous substance of sorts where suppliers have to keep careful records of who's buying it from them. Your local grocery store no longer carries it.
So I'll have to suck it up and use glycerin or opt for the original linseed oil. In the meantime, though, I've got a jar of glue for my paper mache projects.