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Paperclay Fish Ornaments

Paperclay Fish Ornaments
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Paperclay is a wonderful modeling material that you and your kids will love working with. It is easy to use, non-toxic and it air-dries without the need for ovens or kilns. Here’s how to make a paper clay fish.

Paperclay Fish

What You Need:

  • Creative Paperclay®
  • Waxed Paper Or A Sandwich Bag
  • An X-ACTO® Knife or Popsicle Stick for the younger ones
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paint Brush
  • Rolling Pin
  • Glue and Water Mixture in a spray bottle (80% water 20% glue)
  • Paper Clip
  • Drawing paper and pencils
  • Scissors
  • Sequins or other small found objects


What You Do:

  1. Talk about the ocean and discuss the kinds of fish and mammals who live there.
  2. If possible, look at books and poster that show pictures of the undersea world.
  3. Your students can then draw out some designs based on what they have learned.
  4. These designs should then be cut out of the paper to be used as a template.
  5. Roll out the Paperclay® between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic from a sandwich bag with the rolling pin until it’s 1/8″ thick.
  6. Peel back the waxed paper or plastic.
  7. Place the fish patterns that have been drawn and cut out on top of the flattened Paperclay® and cut out Paperclay® fish with an X-ACTO® knife or popsicle stick.
  8. Peel off fish pattern.
  9. Smooth the rough edges with a wet finger or a paint brush and a drop of water.
  10. Push a paper clip into the top of the moist Paperclay® fish. This is so you can hang your fish later on.
  11. Let the paperclay dry a day or so. You can speed up the process by putting it in an oven for about 30 minutes at 250 degrees, or by placing them in direct sunlight.
  12. Be sure to turn them over after they’re half dry so both sides dry evenly.
  13. Paint as desired.
  14. After the paint dries, spray with an 80% water, 20% glue solution. You could also use a spray varnish but the glue and water mix is far less toxic.
  15. Rhinestones or other found objects can be glued on to the fish after the glue dries to make them sparkle.
  16. After all is dry, hang the fish from the ceiling or in front of a window.

Paperclay Fish

Tips for Working with PaperClay:

1. Working Surface – Place plastic wrap (pieces cut from trash bags work well) over your work surface to prevent sticking. If you’re working on a waterproof surface, moisten the area beneath the plastic to anchor it to the table. Waxed paper may also be used, but it doesn’t hold up as well. You may also want to keep a small container of water on hand for thinning and smoothing Paperclay®.

2. Rolling it out – Put the Paperclay® on one end of the plastic wrap. Fold the other end of the plastic over to cover the Paperclay®. Then use a rolling pin to roll out to the desired thickness.

3. Imprinting – After rolling out Paperclay®, remove the top layer of the plastic and lay lace or any other textured fabric directly on top of the Paperclay® and roll again to get the unique textures and patterns.

4. Covering Objects – To cover or embellish an object with Paperclay®, wet it with a small amount of water before applying the Paperclay®. Paperclay® sticks well to most surfaces, but if you have a problem, you can always use white glue.

5. Using molds – The method used to release Paperclay® from molds depends on the type of mold used. When using plaster molds there are several methods for release:

Leave Paperclay® in mold overnight, it will dry and shrink slightly so it will come out of the mold easily the next day.
Cover the mold with a very thin coat of liquid soap.
Sprinkle talcum powder in the mold.
Spray the mold with a mold release (Armor All® works great!).
Cover the mold with a piece of nylon and then press in the Paperclay®.
When using plaster molds use talcum powder or the nylon method to remove Paperclay® from the mold immediately or it may stick to and damage the mold.

6. Drying Paperclay® – Small items will generally dry in a day or so depending on room temperature and humidity. Larger projects may take a few days to completely dry. If you’re in a hurry, you may put your unpainted projects in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes or until dry.

7. Sanding, carving, etc. – After Paperclay® dries, it can be sanded and carved like wood. You can also build on to a completely dry Paperclay® object by just applying fresh Paperclay® (see #4).

8. Painting – Once Paperclay® is dried, it can be painted with any type of paint. After painting, spray with a clear acrylic spray sealer if desired. Paperclay® may also be colored by kneading water base paint into it before shaping.

9. Storage – After you have opened a package keep the unused portion in an air tight bag. If it should happen to dry out slightly while you’re working or it’s in the bag, simply knead in a few drops of water to restore it’s pliability.

Follow these helpful hints and have fun!

Visit the PaperClay® website at

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