Here's a riddle! What's hard as a rock, light as a feather, is made of something you throw away every day, and will last for many years?
The answer is Papier-Mache, but most people write it as "paper mache", so that's how I'll write it here! Papier mache may have a fancy French name, but it is really just ordinary newspaper mixed with a special paste. It's easy to make, easy to mold, and easy to be creative with.
To make paper mache crafts, you can use one of two types of paper mache...
- Paper mache pulp can be shaped like clay and molded as it is, or used to cover other objects.
- Paper mache strips are best used just for covering objects.
How to make paper mache pulp
This is a simple way to make a pulp that's great for all sorts of paper mache crafts. Please note that parents will need to help with the electric mixer.
- electric mixer
- paper mache paste (directions below)
First, tear a newspaper into small pieces (about 1 inch square).
Next, fill a pail half full with the pieces of paper. Then, fill the pail with warm water and leave it to soak overnight.
The next day, mix with the electric mixer. Then squeeze out the water and place the pulp in a large container.
Finally, squeeze paper mache paste into the pulp and mix, until the mixture feels like clay.
And there you have it - the perfect pulp for your paper mache crafts. You can mold it into whatever shapes you desire - but, for my children, nothing beats making little people! In fact, we have enough paper mache people to fill a paper mache town!
To dry the objects you make with paper mache pulp, just leave them in an open place for 2 or more days. Alternatively, with the help of an adult, you can dry them in an oven set to a temperature of 150 degrees.
(Please note, though, that if you used the pulp to cover a balloon, you should NOT put it in the oven - just leave it to dry at room temperature instead).
How to make paper mache strips
To make paper mache strips, just tear a newspaper into strips, around 1 inch wide. To make it easier, tear the newspaper from the fold down.
Next, cover the strips with paper-mache paste. You can do this by pulling each strip through the paste, or you can spread the paste on each strip with a paintbrush.
The best way to cover an object with paper-mache strips is to paste on a layer of strips in one direction. Then, just paste on another layer of strips in the other direction, so that they go across the first layer.
Finally, smooth down all of the strips. Repeat this process until you have put on four or more layers.
How to make paper mache paste
There are three recipes for making this paste. I prefer the third recipe. It's the easiest!
(1) Stir 3 parts water into 1 part flour until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Adding a few drops of oil of wintergreen (which you can get at the drugstore) makes the paste last longer.
(2) Buy some wallpaper paste at a hardware store, then mix 1 part wallpaper paste with 3 parts water. Stir thoroughly and the paste is ready to use.
(3) Mix 2 parts white glue with 1 part warm water. Stir well and the paste is ready to use!