How to Make Papier-Mache

Homemade papier-mache is art on the cheap, allowing your imagination to soar without breaking your budget.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Make paste Make papier-mache paste by mixing equal parts flour and water in a bowl, stirring the mixture with a spoon until it is smooth and soupy.
  • TIP: Substitute white glue for water for big projects, such as a volcano or large masks or figures.
  • Step 2: Tear newsprint Tear newsprint into long, thin strips for round papier-mache project forms and wider strips for other shapes.
  • Step 3: Make form Use inflated balloons, cardboard boxes, wire mesh, or any combination of rigid materials to make a skeleton or frame for your project.
  • Step 4: Oil the form Lightly oil the skeleton so you can easily remove it when the papier-mache dries.
  • Step 5: Dip strips into paste Dip your newsprint strips into the paste, making sure each side gets thoroughly covered.
  • Step 6: Lay strips Lay strips on the skeleton, overlapping them and smoothing them out with your fingers. Continue adding strips until the form is covered with at least three layers.
  • TIP: Use powdered wallpaper glue if you want to preserve your papier-mache project for many years.
  • Step 7: Allow to dry Allow the project to dry completely, adding more layers if necessary. Carefully remove the skeleton after final layers have had time to dry.
  • Step 8: Paint Paint your project using any type of paint you like and get ready to hear some oohhs and ahhs when you show off your original paper mache dolls, animals, and other creations.
  • FACT: Papier-mache models of the human body were used for study by medical students in the 1800s.

You Will Need

  • White flour
  • Water
  • Newsprint
  • Skeletal structure
  • Cooking oil
  • Paints
  • Paintbrush
  • White glue (optional)
  • Powdered wallpaper glue (optional)

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