Monday, February 22, 2010

Kitty Clay

Several people have asked me if there was an alternative to using cellulose fiber insulation as the paper source when making homemade paper clays. The answer has always been to make your own paper pulp by boiling, shredding and straining recycled newspaper.

Making your own paper pulp is a fun and rewarding experience but it also time consuming and somewhat messy which is why I now use the cellulose insulation for all of my clay needs. Another option is to buy commercially available products available at craft, hobby and art supply stores.

Tonight I had the chance to experiment with another paper source that could be used to make paper clay, the source is cat litter or more specifically Purina Yesterday’s News natural cat litter made from recycled paper products and is 99.7% dust free. The dust free aspect is a positive because cellulose fiber insulation generates quite a bit of dust when making into clay. Purina Yesterday’s News natural cat litter comes in a 15lb bag and cost me $6.99, it is available at major pet stores and many large grocery stores.

The product comes in the form of paper pellets and the following are the steps I took to turn the pellets into a paper clay useable for your papier mache projects.

The pellets were soaked in water for several minutes to soften.

The soft paper pellets where then shredded with a hand blender.

The water was then removed from the pulp by placing the mixture onto a piece of cotton fabric (old t-shirt) and wringing out the water.

The shredded paper pellets were then mixed with papier mache paste (flour + glue + drywall joint compound) and blended until achieving a firm, moldable clay.

The “Kitty Clay” mixture was then used on several experimental props including a shark and human skull. My first impression is that the clay is very useable although it is a slight bit “grainy” compared to other paper clays I have used. This clay accepts texture and smoothed out quite nicely by using a paint brush coated with papier mache paste.

The pieces will need to dry completely until I can say 100% that this technique works but right now I can’t think of any reason as to why there would be any problems.


The Frog Queen said...

Wow, seriously, wow. Always learn something new here - thanks!


Pixie said...

good to know there are other options to the cellulose insulation (which cannot be found here at the end of the earth). Thanks for checking out the options!


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