Paper mache is a super easy craft technique that involves using paper and glue to create objects. You can use it to create masks, puppets, bowls, dishes (not for eating) and other sculpted items.
It’s easy to do and lots of fun for kids and adults. You can learn how to make it pretty much instantly. And if you don’t want to make your own diy glue, you can skip that step and use plain white glue.
You start by shredding paper into small pieces. In fact it’s a great way to use up shredded paper that can’t be recycled. Then you glue the paper together with a paste made from water and flour. Once the paper mache is dry, it can be painted or decorated as desired.
Fun things to make with paper mache
What’s great about paper mache is how easy it is. There’s very little prep work or materials needed. None of it costs much at all. You can decide to do a project and get started within just a few minutes. The only thing that takes time is the drying.
And you can make almost anything you feel like making. Bowls are the easiest way to start. Masks, if you have a form, are next.
But you can also make more complex forms by putting together bits of household paper trash. For example, wrap a cardboard insert from toilet paper or paper towels in paper mache. Now you have a cylinder that could be the tree trunk in a paper mache art project.
You could use these to make a dog or horse figure. Add pieces of straws for the legs, some kind of tube for the neck, etc. Then you apply the paper mache around the outside in layers to get it to look the way you want.
Paper mache is simply pieces of paper applied to a mold with glue. So the only part you need to "make" is the glue. And here's how you do it.
- Dash of salt (optional)
- Mixing bowl
- Spoon or whisk
- Put some flour and water in a bowl. Add a dash of salt to keep mold from forming if you don't plan on using all of the paste today
- Mix it together with the whisk or spoon. If it's too runny, add more flour. If it's close to the texture of paste, it's too think and needs more water.
Once you have your paste ready, you can start making your paper mache project.
- Paper mache glue (or plain white glue)
- Strips of paper, preferably thin like newspaper or tissue paper
- Balloon, mold or object you want to decorate
- Paintbrush (optional)
- Once the paste is at the right consistency, dip a strip of paper into it and apply it to your mold or item to be decorated.
- Or you can use a paintbrush to brush the paper mache glue onto your strips of paper and apply them to the item.
- Keep adding layers of paper mache strips until you're happy with how the item looks.
- Allow it to dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to two days .
- Once it's dry, remove the paper mache from the mold.
- Decorate it however you want. Use acrylic paint, beads, glitter, washi tape, etc.