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How Papercrete Works


The Art of Papercrete
Papercrete proponents say that the material's flexibility prevents it from cracking the same way regular concrete often does.
Papercrete proponents say that the material's flexibility prevents it from cracking the same way regular concrete often does.
©Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock

While it's a stretch to compare papercrete to papier-mache, its flexibility as a building tool makes it a good medium for sculpting. Since it's significantly lighter in weight than conventional concrete -- making it easier to work with -- many devotees use papercrete to create large-scale statuary and functional art that would be much more difficult with regular concrete. Stucco, as well as most commercial concretes, can be layered on top of papercrete, so the appearance of the final product can be customized in almost any way imaginable.

Any building or landscape architect will tell you that they practice one of the oldest human arts, so it's no surprise that these professionals are drawn to the artistic possibilities of papercrete. From garden structures to outdoor staircases, from dome houses to simple outdoor walls, papercrete is the landscape artist's dream.

For now, papercrete is still considered a cutting-edge material because of its more limited environmental impact and because its use and composition hasn't been codified for construction use. Because it's easy to make, in addition to being a recycled-paper product, it's extremely appealing to green homesteaders and others who want to build their homes from scratch in an environmentally mindful way.


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