DLTK's Crafts for Kids
How to Paper Mache
- tear newspaper into strips.
- HINT: 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 let the kids at it with the poster
- Make paper mache paste (there are many different options):
- OPTION 1: 3/4 white glue to 1/4 water (or if using a good,
thick glue, like elmers you can do 1/2 and 1/2)
- OPTION 2: COOK METHOD: 1 part flour to 5 parts water...
boil about 3 minutes and let cool (my favorite! it's
the cheapest method and is nice and smooth)
- OPTION 3: 1 part flour to 1 part water. Stir together.
Suggestion from a viewer...
" Rather than make our own paste for paper mache, we use liquid starch that is relatively inexpensive. I bought a large jug at the supermarket that we have been using for years. Sounds like it gives the same result as the cooked method. It dries smooth and clear - fantastic for use with gift wrap scraps. We use it with brown grocery bags when we want to create pottery or leather looking crafts."
Thanks to Pam for sharing this idea!
Suggestion from a viewer...
"for paper mache: add a little cinnamon to the mix - it takes away the smell."
Thanks to Cindi for sharing this idea!
- OPTION 1: 3/4 white glue to 1/4 water (or if using a good, thick glue, like elmers you can do 1/2 and 1/2)
- NOTE: Humidity really does play a factor! If you live
somewhere very humid, add less water (up to 1/4 less). I live
in a very dry area.
- NOTE: if you add a couple tablespoons of salt to your paper
mache it will not mold. (Thanks to Marg for this tip!).
- Cover your project with no more than 4 layers of paper mache.
I always tell the kids 2 layers as they ALWAYS overlap more than they
- Let dry COMPLETELY.
- Once again cover with no more than 4 layers.
- continue this process until it's as solid as you want it.
- if making a pinata, tie a loop of string to a paper clip.
Tape the paper clip onto the frame of the pinata before you start maching.
Mache over top of the paper clip. Make sure not to mache over
the string loop. Tie your rope onto the loop to hang your pinata.
these tips for working with paper mache...
"I briefly looked at your dolphin paper mache... Have you ever tried using an old 2 litre soda bottle instead as your base? I use these a lot for paper mache. They are a good size and easy to cut and tape to alter to suit your needs. I taught Art to 4-7 graders and we made Elephants, Hippo's and Parrots out of the paper mache using the soda bottle method. I made a wonderful dolphin using a mineral water bottle that had a beautiful triangular shape. Wish I had a picture!!
Try this easy paper mache paste recipe:
- Take 1 heaped soup ladle of powdered cornstarch
- Place in a heat proof bowl
- Add enough COLD water to form a paste and to dissolve powder to consistency of thick cream.
- Pour in one kettleful (1.7 litres) of RAPIDLY BOILING (MUST be bubbling away...) and stir like crazy...!
It is very very HOT like porridge and it can form lumps so I usually give it a whisk or beating with my electric mixer to smooth it.
Paste should change from opaque white to translucent once the boiling water is added.
It will keep a few days and can be microwaved to be heated so it's less "jelly-like". Kids love to use it while it's warm, but it works equally well cold.
Salt can be added to prolong shelf life."