After applying Magic Sculpt and Apoxie Sculpt clays to my large, I realized this medium would not work for large areas. I need the clay to form a rock-hard surface over the top of the paper strips, so my armature has a shell skin I can paint, sand, and texture. The epoxy-based clays are very strong and hold fine detail but are hard to spread over a large area and expensive when you need to cover a large surface area.
Jonni from Ultimate Paper Mache has perfected several air dry clay recipes using everyday hardware store ingredients. I decided to give her SIlky SMooth Paper Mache Clay recipe a try. The recipe uses the following ingredients: damp toilet paper, joint compound, Elmer’s glue, mineral oil, cornstarch, and flour. I felt like a mad scientist combining these items, but the result was astounding. I spread it on my Giant Panda with a pallet knife, and it went on like frosting. Easy to blend, one batch covered a large area and took two days to fully dry. The result could be sanded, or I decided to try Jonni’s suggestion of applying a thin layer of joint compound with a silicone spatula over the top. This eliminated the small bumps, and I could smooth it further with a wet towel. The result was terrific! I now have a plaster-like surface. I plan on doing the whole Panda this way, even though I started with the epoxy clay.