If you’re looking for easy to make crafts that will potentially keep the kids entertained, maybe allow you to spend some quality family moments doing a bit of handy work, this is it: paper mache, also known as papier maché!
This page aims to be the most comprehensive “paper mache” resource on the Internet, so you may want to add a bookmark for future reference. Here’s a quick sampler of the neat things you’ll find here:
- special paper mache applications and projects
- dozens of paper mache craft ideas and pictures
Also, in case you’re wondering just how making paper mache crafts will boost your immune system… there’s a section just on that by the end of the article!
How to make a paper mache paste that sticks!
To begin with, let’s go over three different paper mache recipes that you should know about. They all work very nicely (as long as you mix the ingredients in the right proportions, as annotated in each recipe), so you are free to choose the one you prefer.
Choosing the best recipe for you is usually a matter of which materials you have available, and all three revolve on the same principle: mixing water with a certain substance (such as white glue, wallpaper paste, or flour), then using this base paste to embed paper strips on. You should try all three of these mixes over time, and see which one you like best… since it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference (mine is recipe 2).
Recipe 1 : wallpaper glue paper mache paste recipe. You can get wallpaper past at any harware store; it’s relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy lots of it. The proportion for this mix is 1:3; one part wallpaper paste to three parts of water , which you will then stir diligently until you get a smooth fluid.
Recipe 2: white glue paper mache mix. This material is easier to find, although slightly more expensive (compared to wallpaper paste); you can get white glue from most supermarkets or hardware stores. Proportions are 2:1, meaning you have to mix two parts of white glue with one part of water. Also, the water should be warm or it won’t be as easy to mix both ingredients.
Recipe 3: making paper mache with flour. This is the cheapest and simplest of all paper mache paste recipes, and it will work nicely if you do it right. Just mix a proportion of 1:3 (1 part flour to 3 parts water), and stir energetically until you get a creamy fluid. If you make lots of it and want to store it for a future occasion, it’s best to add a few drops of Wintergreen oil, which you can get at any drugstore. This is just an optional step, but it might be useful if you want to keep some paper mache paste in storage.
So you’ve got your paper mache paste mixed… now what?
Once you’ve mixed your paper mache recipe, you just have to use it to embed paper strips on, which you will then attach to any structure… such as a mask or volcano as in the following examples. Also, you should know that old newspapers torn in thin strips (1 or 2 inches wide, across the paper width) work best for this purpose, but you can use any kind of thin oily paper, such as an old phone-book, for example.
There’s no point in purchasing paper for your paper mache projects, since that would be a waste of money and paper. You might as well get into the spirit of re-utilization and transform those old newspapers you have stored in the attic into something beautiful and creative, as demonstrated in the pictures further down this post!
Now, let’s show you some practical examples of fun projects you can do with your paper mache paste.
How to make a paper mache volcano
This is a very popular science fair project, and very simple to do. You just need an empty plastic bottle, some cardboard strips and tape, as well as extra newspapers, as well as your paper machié paste of course. When you’re done, you’ll need baking soda, vinegar and food coloring (to make your paper mache volcano erupt!)
Just cut off the top of the plastic bottle, keeping in mind that will be the opening of the volcano. Then crumple a bunch of newspaper around it, using the strips of cardboard to create the volcano shape and the tape to stick it into place. When you’ve achieved the desired shape, it’s time to paper mache!
Embed thin strips of newspaper on the paper mache paste, and use them to cover the entire surface of the volcano. When you’re done, let the paper mache volcano dry off, which should take a few hours. Once the volcano is ready, it’s time to prepare the eruption.
Just put a few spoons full of baking soda into the plastic bottle… I mean, the crater. Then set aside a recipient with some vinegar and food coloring, mixed to the right hue. When it’s time for action just pour the “lava mix” inside the crater, and step aside! The vinegar will react with the baking soda inside the volcano, and in a few seconds it will burst out in reddish magma-like foam.
how to make a paper mache mask
To create your own paper mache mask, you will need several strips of cardboard and a bunch of tape. Model some strips of cardboard over your face, and use the tape to hold them together. Once you’ve managed to create the appropriate shape to base your paper mache mask on (meaning there’s a fitting how for your eyes and mouth), it’s time to get creative!
Just apply paper mache strips over the mask structure, until it looks just like you’ve envisioned. You can use more pieces of cardboard to change the external shape (to make a huge nose, for example), but make sure to leave the inner shape untouched, as to assure the mask will fit comfortably in your face.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to make paper mache masks, check the picture gallery at the end of this post for lots of examples!
How to make paper mache bowls
To make this project, you can use anything for a mold… including an actual bowl with the right shape you’re looking to create. The trick is to generously coat the bowl with vaseline in order to ensure the paper mache bowl will come out of the mold once it’s finished and dry!
Once you’ve applied the base coating to your chosen mold, just stick your strips of newspaper embedded in paper mache all around. When it’s fully covered let it dry off; the paper mache bowl will then come off easily from the mold, and you will have a paper mache replica of your ceramic bowl. With practice, you can do this process with complex shaped bowls, as well!
Other paper mache ideas and projects
There are lots of fun and creative projects you can do with paper mache, and you are limited only by your imagination! You just have to think of a way to make the base structure and then apply strips of newspaper embedded in paper mache paste, until you’ve crafted the desired look.
For example, you can easily make a paper mache pinata with a ballon as a base, paste in paper strips all around it, and decorate it until it looks like a real pinata. If you don’t have the time or inclination, you can just make simple paper mache ballons, which also look pretty good as decorative motifs.
You can create paper mache birds around a structure made of crumbled paper wrapped in aluminum foil; in fact, you can use the same approach to make any kind of paper mache sculptures you can think of! The aluminum foil can be easily shaped however you wish, thus creating a good base that you will support the paper mache strips.
Paper mache projects gallery
To round off this article, we’ve gathered a vast selection including some of the finest examples of paper mache projects from around the Internet. Hope these beautiful examples will inspire you to get creative and have fun doing arts and crafts!
How does paper mache boost your immune system?
At this point you may be wondering just how does making paper mache boost your immune system? That’s actually simple! Most scientist agree that engaging pleasurable creative activities that distract you and keep you content will indeed help reinforce your natural defenses. As such, doing paper mache crafts is a great example of an activity you can engage that will boost your immune system. This is especially true if you use this activity as a pretext to spend some quality time with your kids or with some close friends!