The picture shows the left over dried paper clay scraps from my latest workshop. As you can see, there’s a lot left over. But, since it’s paper clay, I never worry about this or what to do with it. One of the nice thing about green bone dry paper clay is its ability to be recycled and reused many times.
When people use regular clay, they tend not to think about the clay that is going into the thrash because that cost is relatively small. A typical 25# bag of regular clay can be as low as $6.00 per bag, depending on the clay blend. Paper clay being more expensive (a 25# bag costs around $15-17.00) than regular clay requires me to think more frugally. Any paper clay scraps I throw away means I’m throwing away $$.
Once the paper clay has dried out, it will last indefinitely. It is one of the methods for storing your paper clay without it getting moldy. The disadvantage of this storing method is that you cannot use your dried out clay immediately like you could fresh from the bag. It will require some planning and time, and it can be messy, especially if you are reconsituting a lot of paper clay crumbs. My process of slaking the dried out clay, blending it, and drawing the excess water out till the paper clay is in a kneable state usually takes about a week, maybe even two depending on the weather.
If you have stored you dried out paper clay in sheets, and want to use them as sheets, you can reconstitute (ie rewet/rehydrate) them as such and can begin using them once the sheets have returned to their leather hard state. Most of the time, I just roll out my reconstituted clay into slabs and let it firm up. That way, I have more control over the thickness of the slabs.
Save all your paper clay scaps. Recycle and reuse! Make them feel happy again to be part of a new piece of Art.