There is really no one way to do this, it's whatever works for you and that’s something you’ll find out once you complete the first wall. The easiest way for me to do this is to open the package, take out the clump of clay and smooch it with the palm of my hand until it's flat. I then place it on the wall and smear it around until the wall is covered. It has the same consistency as Play-Doh. Here are a few tips on working with this product:
- Rolling it out: Some people like to flatten the clay with a rolling pin. I tried it and for some reason, even though it does work, I just found it easier to do it with my hands. If you do use the rolling pin, keep some things in mind. First the clay can become sticky and stuck to your rolling pin, making it very difficult to roll out. I suggest that you place parchment paper over the clay and then roll it out with your rolling pin so it doesn’t stick. You can also use the parchment paper under the clay as well so it doesn’t stick to whatever surface you're rolling it out on.
A marble rolling pin will not allow the clay to stick to it but they cost a bundle and unless you’re other hobby is baking, I wouldn’t invest in it just to build a dollhouse. A wooden rolling pin is just fine, just use the parchment paper between it and the clay and it will work.
Flatten out your clay on a solid, non moving surface to get the best grip on it. The clay is quite dense so you have to use force in order to flatten it.
- Air dry time: The package does not say so you will just have to wait and see. I suggest you do not turn on any fans while working with the clay to minimize the drying time until your done stamping your pattern on it. I’m assuming that the drying time depends on what the climate and humidity is in your work area. So far, for me, it seems to take about an hour to dry hard enough to feel solid with your fingers. I should suppose it has a 24 hour cure time to be dry all the way through. That gives you plenty of time to get it looking just right before it dries completely.
- Handling the clay: It can be touched with your hands just fine, it's not toxic so you don’t need to be in a ventilated area or wear gloves in order to handle it.
- Ease of use: It's messy of course but very forgiving. Mistakes in your pattern can be easily smooshed away and then redone.
You have to make sure the clay is even and you don’t have more clay on one side of the wall than the other, etc. Wetting your hands with water will allow you to smooth the surface of the clay easier.
Clay is easily removed from window and door openings by simply pressing it against the edges of the openings. That causes it to cut right off very cleanly.
There are infinite patterns of stone out there depending on the look you want the dollhouse to have. You can even create a brick pattern to the clay and have a brick dollhouse.
I chose large square stones for my dollhouse since this is my first time using Paperclay and these stones would be the easiest type of pattern to do. I basically used a piece of siding to measure the width of the lines and then I cut a piece of cardboard to the right length I wanted each stone to be and used that as a guide. I wanted a rough, textured looking wall. So I tried to leave my clay lumpy rather than smooth.
I suggest you do one wall at a time. It takes about one package of clay per wall for a dollhouse this size. Maybe a little more if the wall has no windows or doors like the right wall of this dollhouse. The clay patches just fine between dry and wet clay so its all right if a wall dries and you still have more areas to do.
The reason why you want to do one wall at a time is because it takes quite awhile to smear and smooth out the clay on each wall. The more window openings or bays a wall has, the more time this process will take. If you try to do the whole dollhouse at once, some of your walls might dry before you stamp your stone pattern into them and that’s not good.
Also, once your pattern has been stamped and the clay is still wet, you can accidentally smooch it if you touch it or hold it by that finished side while trying to put clay on another wall.
You want to stamp your patterns by pressing inwards, not scraping across to make the lines of your pattern. Scraping only moves some of the clay around the line and makes it a little messy.
I tried to not make my lines even and my stones all the same exact size. My pattern went down a little on the right wall near the foundation, making it a little off down there. It's not very noticeable. Besides, I noticed it too late. The clay was already dry and not fixable.
Always start with a side wall, not the front wall. You want to get the hang of it before you begin the front of the dollhouse. You want little mistakes, etc to not be so noticeable like my slightly off pattern. I wouldn’t have wanted that on the front of the dollhouse. If you make a mistake with your pattern, smear the clay to erase it and do it over. If your clay dries, you won't able to fix it.
When you reach an inner corner, like the bays inner corners, push the clay really into it so it doesn’t make a curved corner instead of a square one. When you reach an outer corner, just wrap the clay around it and then pinch it a little with your fingers so you still get a defined square corner and not a rounded edge.
The clay goes on white but it can be painted with acrylics or latex paints.
I was able to do the right and front wall today. I really have to let this all dry before I can continue to the rest of the walls.