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Arts & Crafts with Paper Clay

How to Recycle Paper into Crafty Works of Art

By Alyssa Davis

If you’re into craft projects and you’d like to recycle some of the excess paper in your life, try making crafty works of art out of paper clay. Ordinary household paper or colored construction paper can be combined with flour and water to make paper clay that can be molded into any number of objects. When finished, the air-dry crafts can be painted or, if made with colored construction paper, they can be left as is. 

Paper clay is fun and easy to do and kids love working with it almost as much as adults so why not create abstract wall art of your own. Here is a recipe for making paper clay along with some ideas on craft projects. If you can imagine it, you can create it!

Gather Your Supplies

The great thing about paper clay is that it uses items you already have around the house. 

To make enough paper clay for a typical project, you’ll need two cups of newspaper or construction paper scraps, four and one-half cups of ordinary tap water, a blender, a wire mesh colander and a large mixing bowls or bucket.

How to Make the Clay

Start by ripping the paper into small pieces and add it to the blender along with four cups of tap water. 

chef making a mess

Measure out the extra half-cup of water and set it aside. 

Blend the mixture until it turns into a liquid concoction of even consistency. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to work in batches. 

Drain the mixture by pouring it into the wire colander; let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes, until the moisture has drained away. 

Use your hands to squeeze out the extra moisture and set the paper pulp aside.

In a large bowl or bucket, mix together the flour and one-half cup of water until it is well-blended.

Add the paper pulp a little at a time to the flour water mixture, combining as you go. As it starts to thicken, knead it with your hands into pliable dough. 

Now you are ready to make your crafts! Depending on the thickness of your finished project, the clay will take one to five days to dry.

bucket full of suds on a wheeled stand

Getting Crafty

Using newspaper will give your paper clay a grayish cast. You can add food coloring when mixing dough, if you like, or you can paint the dried creation with watercolor or latex paint. Using construction paper will result in colored paper clay that does not need to be painted. You may try mixing separate batches with different colors of construction paper so that you can combine colored clays when putting your creation together.

Paper clay flowers are really easy to make. Paint them as desired and apply magnets to the back with glue. Anything that kids can make, from animals to clowns or balloons, can be made into magnets.

Glue your creations a book shelf, chalk board or bulletin board for a fun accent in a child’s bedroom. Make a fairy wall art decor that every child will enjoy. 

Music fans can use their fantasy creating music wall art connected with their idols.

Flowers, rainbows, lady bugs and butterflies can be used to decorate garden pots. Make garden stakes out of paper clay figures by attaching them to copper piping and wire. Seal your paper clay creations with clear acrylic sealant to protect them from the elements.

Make a plain bargain store frame unique by gluing on your paper clay creations.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start crafting with paper clay, you’ll see that the possibilities are endless. Let your imagination take you wherever you want to go.





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