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Paper Palace One was designed to test the range of  flexibility of papercrete. It includes a curved exterior wall,  curved parapets, glass block windows, copper porch roof,  pressed paper doors with stone tile inlays, a four-foot un-reinforced ornate circular porch wall opening and a thick papercrete roof.

Mr. Barry J. Fuller (see About Us)made over two thousand blocks and 100 roof panels needed for Paper Palace One. Laboratory testing was done on blocks composed of various combinations of recycled paper and waste materials including clay, crushed glass, fly ash and cardboard.

The results of the tests have proven that papercrete is more than adequate for two-story load bearing residential construction.

Recent tests have shown that the R-value of our new mixes is even higher than previously indicated. The last two tests place the R-value of our walls at 3.01 per inch - about R-36 per foot.  The standard R-value of walls in new wood frame construction is R-19.


East facing side of Paper Palace One.
Porch roof finished.

Interior of Paper Palace One looking west. 
Circular truth window on right shows
exposed blocks


The Moody home, located near Lake Havasu is a beautiful and peaceful place to live in the desert. It features an earthen finish and open spacious living areas. Ed Moody's letter about construction is copied below.

Hi Barry,

My mix for the papercrete was approximately 80 lbs of paper (the paper was bundled and we would stack it against the tire and make it as high as the tire - our local newspaper gave us all the paper we wanted), half a 60 lb bag of Portland and approx 120 gallons of water in the tow mixer. As you know, some mixes would be a little wetter and some drier, but we tried to keep them constant.

The mudding mix was different on the inside than the outside: We used earth from our site that is about 12% clay. The basic mix is 30 shovels of screened earth, two gallons of cooked flour paste, 2.5 gallons of cellulose, 1 cup of borax mixed into 1 qt of water, and then water to make the consistency needed into the cement mixer. For the adobe on the outside we added about 2.5 gallons of chopped straw. This made a really wonderful adobe that we applied to damp papercrete walls. We had some cracking on the inside walls but we call the cracks “design elements” as they add interest. Mudding adds extra strength and insulation to the walls and we love the look.

The foundation is 18 inches deep and is rubble (rocks gathered on site) and superadobe (made of earth from my property and approx 15% Portland cement). We put one bent rebar with about 2 feet sticking up and we formed and poured the first two courses. We did not use any internal reinforcement the rest of the way up.

The wall is topped with a bond beam of 2x6’s side by side and they were attached by drilling holes and driving rebar into the blocks. The roof beams are 4 x10’s, 20 feet long and 2 feet on center. They are attached with L angles and screwed into the bond beam as well as the beam. I sheathed the beams with OSB, laid tar paper, then a layer of blocks attached 2x3’s over them by drilling holes then attached them with lag screws through the blocks into the roof beams. I covered the roof with a corrugated material called Ondura.

All the openings have lentils and the south wall has two buttresses because the openings are larger and that is the taller wall. The south wall is 10‘ and the north wall is 9’ so we have a nice slope south to north for drainage off the flat roof. Several rain storms -- no leaks!!

Ed Moody


Joyce Plath, working with builder Shane Keller, has recently finished a beautiful papercrete forest cabin in northern California with paper floors and clay exterior and interior finishes. Joyce has her M. Architecture from Berkeley and has been designing green buildings for over thirty years The photos  speak for themselves.



Barbara and Mike Thomas are artists living in northern New Mexico. Mike is an accomplished sculptural welder and Barbara paints and works with just about any medium including papercrete - as evidenced by her 10 foot croc below and on our Home Page. They have a very interesting story about the insulative property of papercrete which is quoted verbatim here:

"...We were gone the last three weeks of Dec. 2006 with no heat. Temps were running 3 to 15 degrees at night and never over 40 in the day. Forgot to leave south curtains open and after three weeks on New Years Eve we got home and  it was 54 degrees in the house."

I think it's safe to say that papercrete is a superior insulating material.



The following edited letter came from a Greg Penn, who lives in a very wet and humid location in Missouri.  He consulted with me and then immediately built a pump house. The pump house was an experiment to test papercrete in wet conditions. He is very satisfied with the performance of the material and is planning workshops as he builds his new home. His phone is  417-683-9000

August 1, 2007 

Barry, I said I’d send you a photo of my fibrous cement pump house in South Central Missouri. Here it is.  

The pump house is 7’ x 9’ x8’ high walls on the outside.  There is a reinforced concrete footing and a stone masonry stem wall.  The outside is finished with one layer (1/2”) of homemade stucco---Portland cement, slick lime, masonry sand, and water.  We added no color and textured it with a brush. After one year the stucco has developed two small cracks at the corners at the top because I put it on a little too thick there. 

In hot weather the pump house is cool inside---twelve degrees cooler than outside (without cooling equipment).  We’re storing pumpkins in it now. 

It was easy to build.  My children did much of the work, sometimes unsupervised.  My son who was then 13 did the stone masonry and they all worked on walls down to the 8 year old with the 13 year old driving the van to pull the tow mixer, which was made by the 11 year old. 

I am pleased with the material, and we are about to start building fibrous cement walls on our new house any day now. 

Thanks for your counsel, Barry.

Till next time, Greg Penn   


Anyone concerned with papercrete's affinity for water needs to talk to Shane Keller and Joyce Plath in Northern California. Shane and Joyce have nearly completed a two-story papercrete cabin with clay interior and exterior finishes. The blocks used to build the cabin were buired in snow for months. This structure is located in an area which cannot be accessed in winter due to heavy snows. Take a look at Shane and Joyce's beautiful design in the first snow of a Winter Wonderland.



Many women attend our workshops and build their own homes. Judith Williams is an independent builder and innovator. She has devised a special papercrete/pumice mix which produces extremely light, strong blocks. She has also designed and tested a fireplace which works in close proximity with papercrete. Here's her post and beam structure,  well underway, in New Mexico.


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