What You Need
Create Forms for Your Paper Mache
One of the nice things about paper mache is you do not need any special supplies! You can use many items found around your house to make molds and forms for your paper mache projects.
You can create forms for your paper mache projects easily. Here are some suggestions for items to use. Some can be used as bases for the projects, while others can be used to add specific details.
- Balloons – All sizes and shapes are great for bases to rounded designs.
- Cardboard – Corrugated cardboard is great for bases to projects; and lightwweight cardboard, like from cereal boxes, works well for details.
- Chicken Wire – Use this as a base for large projects.
- Masking Tape – Great for holding all the other things together while you apply the paper mache.
- Newspaper – Besides being a key ingredient in holding your paper mache creation together, you can use it for creating details. Try rolling it to make an arm or leg, or crumple it up to make smaller parts!
- Shoe Boxes – Cover with paper mache to make a fancy box, or use as a base for a bigger project.
- Toilet Tissue and Paper Towel Rolls – Great for adding details like arms and legs.
- Others -Aluminum Pie Pans, Blown Eggs, Bottles or Jars, Cardboard Ice Cream Containers, Detergent Boxes, Egg Cartons, Frozen Juice Cans, Juice Boxes, Oatmeal Containers, Paper Cup, Plastic Margarine Bowls, Soda Pop Bottles, Styrofoam Meat Trays, Tin Foil
- Create your paper mache form (see above procedures in making forms) and prepare your desired paper mache paste.
- Tear newspaper into strips.
- Dip one piece of newspaper at a time into prepared paper mache paste.
- Hold the strip over the paste bowl and run it through your fingers to squeeze off excess paste.
- Stick the newspaper strip over the form you want to paper mache, and smooth it down with your fingers.
- Completely cover your creation with a layer of newspaper strips. They should all be over-lapping.
- After one layer is applied, let it dry about 24 hours.
- Add another layer of newspaper strips and let dry another 24 hours.
- Repeat this process until you get the desired effect, but you should have at least three layers.
- Paint, decorate and proudly display your creation!
- Tear the newspaper into strips — do not cut it!
- Be generous when dipping the newspaper strips into the paste — you want each piece thoroughly saturated!
- Let each layer dry completely before adding another.
Paper Mache Paste Recipes
- Use a simple mixture of flour and water. Mix one part flour with about 2 parts of water until you get a consistancy like thick glue. Add more water or flour as necessary. Mix well to get out all the bumps. Add a few tablespoons of salt to help prevent mold!
- Similar to the above recipe – Put 4 cups of water into a large pot. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, mix together 1 cup of flour with 2 cups of water, stir well to get out as many bumps as possible. Once the water is boiling, carefully add your flour and water mixture. Simmer this mixture for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of salt to help prevent mold. Allow to cool before you try to use it!
- You can use regular glue mixed with a bit of water. Mix using about 1 part water with 2 parts glue.
- Use wallpaper paste. Follow the directions from the manufacturer to mix this paste.
- For small items and intricate details, try using this paper mache pulp.
- Experiment with liquid starch!
More Tips and Hints
- Paper mache is a very messy craft! Make sure to cover your work surface, or you can even do it outside if weather permits. Make sure you cover yourself also!
- Some creations can take several days to finish, so be prepared and be patient! Sometimes you will have to work for a little time every day adding new layers to your project.
- You want to give your creation plenty of time to dry before you paint and decorate it.
- Always tear your newspaper into strips instead of cutting them. For some reason the torn paper lays better on paper mache creations.
- To help your creation last longer, seal it with varnish or acrylic sealing spray when you are done painting it.
- For a natural look, use brown paper towels for the final layer of your creation.
- Always make the last layer of mache with white computer paper or paper towel so that painting is easier. It takes far less paint. If you don’t do this, consider priming the project with white acrylic paint before you use the poster paint
- Costumes, masks and head gear for school programs
- Costumes, masks and head gear for parades, festivals and other special occasions
- Animal shapes for children toys
- Other props for school and theatrical plays