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  • Papier Mache

How to Create Papier Mâché

Last Updated: March 2, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Amy Guerrero . Amy Guerrero is an Arts and Crafts Specialist and the Owner of Sunshine Craft Co., a crafting studio based in Phoenix, Arizona. Amy specializes in macrame, DIY crafting, and teaching fiber arts. She offers monthly in-person and online workshops along with having developed a range of DIY craft kits for at-home projects. Amy holds a BS in Industrial Design from Philadelphia University. She worked as a graphic designer before starting her own business. Sunshine Craft Co. is a creative hub that offers a wide range of workshops, tools, and resources for any craft project to inspire creativity and community engagement. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 74 testimonials and 87% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,245,296 times.

Looking to make your own paper mâché craft? Papier-mâché (pap-yay mash-ay) or paper mâché (paper mash-ay) is an easy to make, hard material that can be used to cover various surfaces. You can use it in arts and crafts to make various sculptures, fruit bowls, puppets, dolls, and much more. The surface is easy to paint, allowing you to add patterns, bright colors, and interesting designs to your finished product. We've put together a tutorial on how to make paper mâché that can be used for any project that you have in mind.

Making Papier Mâché

Step 1 Clear an area and gather the materials you'll need to do papier-mâché.

  • A bowl or large container
  • Flour, wallpaper powder/ paste , or white glue [1] X Research source
  • Your base structure
  • Newspaper (for your project -- not for clean-up duty)
  • There is no wrong size your strips could be. In fact, if you want to add volume to your structure by molding the strips, you will need different sizes. So tear away freely.
  • Glue mixture: Pour 2 parts white glue and one part water into a mixing bowl. These quantities can be changed to suit the size of your project. Or, if you have a stronger bonding glue, 1 part white glue and 1 part water will do the trick. [3] X Research source
  • For super large and intense projects , you may want to substitute white glue for the water.
  • Wallpaper powder : Pour 2 parts wallpaper powder and one part water into a mixing bowl. This method is good if you're thinking seriously long-term -- it can last years. [5] X Research source
  • If it's too thin or thick, adjust accordingly. Add more adhesive base if it's too thin, water if it's too thick.

Step 5 Find a surface you want to papier-mâché.

  • If you're using a balloon, consider painting it with cooking oil beforehand -- that way, when it's dry, you can slide it out easily.

Creating Papier Mâché Crafts

  • If you'd like to create a shape (a face, say), bunch the strip into the form you want, place it on your surface, and then layer another strip on top to smooth it out. This can create volume, texture, and detail quite easily.
  • Put your first layer on horizontally, the second vertically, and so forth. It will help show you where you have been before and strengthen the piece. [10] X Research source

Step 5 Place the object...

  • Some schools of thought say to start with a white primer. If you're using a light color on the piece, you may want to use this method (otherwise some print may stick out). Make sure not to cover to top part in order to take the balloon out.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Reader Videos

Share a quick video tip and help bring articles to life with your friendly advice. Your insights could make a real difference and help millions of people!

  • It will take more than 40 minutes to dry. Thanks Helpful 38 Not Helpful 5
  • The flour mixture is better for piñatas, as it breaks easier. If you're looking for a stronger hold (like for cosplay) use the glue one. Thanks Helpful 48 Not Helpful 9
  • In addition, tearing the paper roughly, as opposed to cutting with scissors, will result in a smoother final appearance. Thanks Helpful 56 Not Helpful 13

Tips from our Readers

  • Leave the paper mâché to dry overnight. Check on it in the morning to see if it's completely dry. Drying time depends on the size of your project, so just make sure it's dry before you paint or decorate it.
  • Gather your materials before you start working, like newspaper, glue, paste, water, a paintbrush, and a structure as your base. Then, cover your work area with scrap paper.
  • There are lots of adhesives to choose from, like flour paste, white glue, or wallpaper paste. Just mix either adhesive with water until it has a smooth consistency.
  • Dip the strips into the adhesive mixture and smooth them onto your structure in layers. Aim for 3 layers of strips.
  • Tear newspaper into long, 1 inch wide strips. Tearing creates a better edge than cutting.
  • Use a hairdryer to speed up drying time. Just don't hold it too close or use high heat.
  • Smooth any rough parts with sandpaper when the paper mâché is completely dry.

make a paper mache

  • The glue mixture may be hard to clean off your work surface once it is set. If you are worried about getting glue on your work surface, put some newspaper down before you get started. Thanks Helpful 96 Not Helpful 39
  • If you're making a piñata using a balloon, make sure you use enough layers (at least 3 or more) or replace the newspaper with thicker paper (like normal white paper) and be sure to let it dry completely before removing the balloon. If not, the balloon may drag the paper inward and create dents when it's popped. Thanks Helpful 84 Not Helpful 37

Things You'll Need

  • Glue/flour/wallpaper powder
  • Mixing spoon/stick
  • Newspaper (for surface and structure)
  • Base structure
  • Cooking oil (optional)

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make a paper mache

  • ↑ https://medium.com/prikabylove/beginners-guide-to-paper-make-84ece70b6fce
  • ↑ https://www.dltk-kids.com/type/how_to_paper_mache.htm
  • ↑ https://www.papiermache.co.uk/tutorials/getting-started-with-papier-mache/
  • ↑ https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/things-to-do/make-paper-mache-glue/news-story/ceb59e78216f566a15b75932462f274c
  • ↑ https://blog.treasurie.com/paper-mache-balloon/
  • ↑ https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/things-to-do/how-to-make-paper-mache-288662
  • ↑ https://www.ponderosahomes.com/2014/11/getting-crafty-thanksgiving/

About This Article

Amy Guerrero

To make papier mâché, first add 2 cups (240 grams) of flour and 1 cup (240 milliliters) of water to a large bowl. Stir the flour and water together until a paste forms, then set the paste aside. Next, tear or cut enough 1-inch wide strips of newspaper to cover the object you’re papier mâchéing 3 times. When you’re done, dip the strips into the papier mâché paste, and press them onto your object. Continue dipping and pasting the strips until your object is completely covered. Then, let the first layer dry, which should take about 2 to 3 hours. Place a fan next to the object to help the papier mâché dry faster. Repeat the process 2 more times so you have 3 layers in total. Then, paint and decorate your papier mâché object. For other ways to papier mâché, including how to use a glue mixture or a wallpaper mixture as your base, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Paper Mache Beginner’s Guide (Easy!)

Written by Rebecca E. Parsons

This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission, you can find our privacy policy here.

Paper Mache Beginner’s Guide

Hello my sweet Graphics Fairy friends! It’s Rebecca E. Parsons here, back today with a fun tutorial for a Paper Mache Beginner’s Guide! Paper Mache is a marvelous art form for beginners because people of all age groups can enjoy the simple applications of this technique without any prior experience. In this tutorial, we will make a nifty little Paper Mache Bowl using an inflated balloon as a mold. I’ll even included 2 recipes for the mixture you will need, one is a flour paste recipe and one for water and glue paper mache. Easy peasy! Plus we will decorate the inside of our bowl with a beautiful Graphics Fairy bird!

Paper Mache Bowl

What is Paper Mache?

In simple terms, paper mache refers to the layering of paste moistened paper onto a blank surface. The paper then dries into the shape of that blank surface. Cool! The term paper mache is derived from the French words Papier-mâché, meaning of all things “chewed paper.” Paper mache is a method of crafting in which paper is combined with a ‘paste’ to create a wide variety of objects.

Don’t forget to Pin and save this post for later!

Paper Mache Beginner's Guide Pin

You can create something as simple a little bowl to something as grand as a Mardi Gras float and even a useable canoe! This age old craft dates back thousands of years to Egypt and China.

Easy Paper Mache Bowl

Materials Needed

The basic materials needed for paper mache crafting include:

  • Newsprint Paper (I prefer blank newsprint, but you can use old printed newspapers as well)
  • An Adhesive (see options below)
  • Vaseline (for highly detailed molds)

How to Make Paper Mache

There are two options for preparing your paper for paper mache. One method uses paper pulp created by placing paper scraps into boiling water or soaking the paper in water overnight, then mixing in an adhesive. This is best for sculpting and intricate designs. The most commonly used method requires tearing strips of paper, soaking them in paste or adhesive, then laying them on a shape. The adhesive used to moisten the paper acts as the binding agent. The outer shell hardens as the paper dries. After drying, your paper mache creation can be painted and decorated. We will be using the ‘strips of paper’ method in our crafting.

A soft paper that is easy to mold is the best option for paper mache. Although different types of paper can be applied, torn strips of newspaper is the definitive choice for most crafters. It is inexpensive; free if you use old newspapers! It is very absorbent and thin. I actually buy unprinted newsprint that is used as packing paper when moving. TIP : Make sure that it is uncoated. I prefer this because newspaper ink stains the piece. That is fine however if you plan to paint it.

As always, I encourage you to experiment. You can use lightweight papers like 20-24 lb. printer paper. Just make sure that you soak them a little longer so they absorb the glue. I have heard of people using cotton or rag papers with success as well. Those would be pricey though. NOTE :  Coated and glossy papers like magazine pages will not work!

Paper mache bowl with transfer of blue jay

The Adhesive

Crafters have two choices for the adhesive:

  • Homemade Flour Paste : A part water, part flour mix. There isn’t really an exact flour to water ratio, but 1 cup flour to 1 cup water is a good reference point. It is best to use a whisk and bowl to create the flour based paste.
  • Ready-made Glue Mix : Plain white school glue (PVA glue like Elmer’s) mixed with water is very popular. Wood glue can also be used. White PVA school glue should be mixed 2 parts glue to 1 part water. A 4 ounce bottle is mixed with 1/4 cup of water.

The use of glue is similar to using flour, but glue produces a stronger structure and is less likely to deteriorate over time.

Salt : I recommend use of salt for preventing future mold on your paper mache project. It also speeds up the drying process by removing excess moisture from the paper more quickly. It is optional, of course.

Advanced Paper Mache

Three-dimensional paper mache sculptures can be created by starting with foam core board that you can cut to form whatever your imagination leads you to. Whether it be a face, birds, flowers, etc., the options here are virtually limitless. Wire can also be utilized as a reinforcement tool or by itself to actually build the ‘skeleton’ for a sculpture. The paper mache that covers the skeleton can be viewed as the ‘flesh’ of the sculpture.

Another optional material is vaseline. This is utilized if you decide to create a paper mache piece by covering your paper over a mold of some sort by rubbing vaseline over the mold first to prevent the paper from sticking to the mold.

Paper Mache Bowl used as a container (not food dafe)

How to Seal Paper Mache

You generally do not have to seal paper mache items. YAY! However, sealing can be beneficial if you want the paper mache surface to be very smooth. Prior to sealing, you can use sandpaper to smooth out rough areas. If any gaps or wrinkling remains after sanding, a sealant can fill in the uneven parts. TIP : Sealers should be applied after your paper mache item has dried completely. Overnight is best for smaller pieces. Thicker pieces can take several days.

Gesso is highly recommended for use as the sealant since it dries very hard and provides an excellent finish that is ideal for applying acrylic paints. The best way to apply gesso is with a sponge or brush in multiple thin layers. Gesso is available in clear, white, and black. It dries in just a few minutes. People have had success with Mod Podge as a sealer as well.

How to Paint Paper Mache

Make certain that the surface is dust free and completely dry before you paint. Also be sure that the paper mache layers are not loose or uneven before painting. If there are loose pieces, just put a dab of white glue to hold it down. Painting with acrylic paint and a paintbrush is the preferred method of painting on paper mache. Acrylic paint is ideal because it is waterproof and has many color options. NOTE : The paint needs to be thoroughly dry between applications.

Acrylic markers sometimes are used instead of acrylic paint, and are a viable option. Watercolors are not ideal because they aren’t waterproof and tend to dry somewhat soft and dull. Additionally, watercolors and other paints can actually damage the unsealed paper itself. If you wish to apply your own personal touches to your project after painting, colored pencils or waterproof marker pens are a splendid choice. There are of course many other ways to embellish your work of art with your own, unique ideas!

Sealing After Painting

Your new paper mache creation can be sealed. This is an option that will protect the paint from sunlight and help to maintain vibrancy. The two practical materials for this final stage are gloss varnish or Gloss Mod Podge. Applied with a brush or sprayed, both will dry transparent and leave a hard shiny finish. Acrylic sealing spray is an alternative option and is considerably easier to apply evenly. PLEASE NOTE : The items you create are not food safe!!! They are for decorative use only!!!

How to Make a Paper Mache Bowl

Now that you know everything about creating with paper mache, let’s make a bowl! This is a fun and messy project, so protect your surface well. Kids absolutely love to do this. I find it very satisfying and almost meditative to make these small bowls. I used a small, round balloon for this project.

Craft Supplies

Small Balloon blown up and tied shut Permanent Marker Paper torn into 1/2″ wide strips about 3-6″ long White School Glue 4 oz. mixed 2 parts glue to 1 part water Salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) Foam Plate Whisk Gesso Acrylic Paint in color of choice (I used aqua) Blue Jay Print Here  from The Graphics Fairy

Step-by-Step Directions

Step 1 – Prepare the Balloon:  Blow up the balloon. Lightly draw a line around the balloon with a permanent marker. This will give you a guide to the edge area. However, the uneven edges of a Paper Mache bowl are what gives it the carefree look you want.

A Word About Balloons : I prefer to work with a colorful balloon. You can see any thin or gap areas more easily. I learned a lot about balloons while making this tutorial. I first bought a bag of small balloons (2-3″ round) at the grocery store. They were very small and so thin that some of them broke while being blown. I did like the small size bowl I made with them (see below). Then I went to my neighborhood dollar store that only had 6″ balloons. They were sturdy when blown, but larger than I had hoped. I would say that a 4″ balloon would be perfect for what I wanted. Just be aware that inexpensive balloons might frustrate you!

draw a line around balloon with a permanent pen

Step 2 – Tear the Newspaper:   Tear the newsprint paper into strips about 1/2″ wide strips about 3-6″ long.The edges of the ripped paper will have fibers that grasp and grab hold of other pieces easily. (see the strips in the above photo) HINT : Do not cut the strips (tear them) as the crisp edges will be harder to work with . Trust me on this !! NOTE : The bigger the balloon, the longer the strips can be. I used 3″ strips for my 6″ balloon. The edges of wider strips will pucker when laid on the balloon.

Step 3 – Prepare the Paste: Thoroughly mix 2 parts white glue to 1 part water in a foam plate Sprinkle in a little salt; maybe 1/4 teaspoon. I use a wire whisk for this. The mix should be thin but not runny!!! (see photo below)

Mix glue and water with whisk

Step 4 – Dip and Place Newspaper: Place your balloon on top of a glass or jar with the tie inside. This will help to stabilize it while you work and dry the bowl. (see photo below) TIP : I added water to my jars to make them less apt to fall over while working!! WINK

place balloon onto a jar to stabilize it while working and drying

Lay it over the balloon and smooth it down with your fingers. (see photo below)

Smoothing paper mache paper strip onto balloon with finger

Lay the strips randomly in all directions (see photo below). Repeat this process until you have three or 4 layers over the entire balloon.

randomly placed strips of paper

You can hold the balloon up to a light source to see any thin areas. Leave it to dry overnight. The more layers of paper, the longer it will take to dry. If the bowl feels cold to the touch, it is still wet. Allow it to dry completely before removing balloon and decorating !

Step 5 –  Remove the Balloon : There are a few ways to remove the bowl from the balloon. I will share my favorite. PLEASE   NOTE : If the paper is not completely dry, it will be a struggle to remove the balloon . I found this out the hard way!!! Methis 1 worked like a charm on my second bowl. Method 1– Begin at the edges of the bowl where it touches the balloon. There will probably be a few gaps where the paper has started to pull away from the balloon. Start on one of these. Gently press the balloon in, away from the bowl. The paper should pop off fairly easily. Slowly and carefully work your way around the bowl, pressing and releasing the paper. If it is really stuck, allow the bowl to dry more. Method 2– Pop the balloon. Then gently pull the balloon out of the bowl. (ph0to below shows balloon sticking to the bowl) TIP : If it sticks to the bowl … STOP, it is still too wet. Allow to dry longer. Then gently remove the balloon.

breaking the balloon inside of paper mache bowl

Finished Bowl and Bowl Edges

Here is a look at the yummy, uneven edges of a paper mache bowl. The top photo is my test bowl. I did not have enough layers of paper at the edge. The front edge is torn a bit and you can see how translucent it is. But it still works, I think!

Edges of paper mache bowl not layered enough

In this image, you can see the wavy and wispy edges of my finished bowl. Most of the edges have three or four layers of paper in my second try. You can also see the beautiful outside of the bowl, which is unsealed. Using plain newsprint dries to this rustic, almost rough plaster like look and feel. Printed newspaper with have dark areas where the ink was.

Paper Mache Bowl wavy edges

Step 6 –  Decorate : There are several options for decorating your bowl. We will be painting ours and doing a transfer to the inside. But you can stain it, glitter it, gild it, etc.

  • Sand the bowl if necessary according to the directions in the “How to Seal Paper Mache” section above.

apply gesso to the inside of bowl

  • Paint the inside of the bowl with your color of choice. I used Golden’s Acrylic in Cobalt Teal. Allow to dry at least 1 hour. HINT : You want the paint to form a strong bond to the Paper Mache bowl for the transfer to work well. So don’t rush it!
  • Transfer the Bird Image . Photocopy or Laser Image to transfer – I used this  Blue Jay . I am using my Acrylic Paint Transfer Technique to transfer the little bird onto my bowl bottom. Again, I used Golden’s Acrylic in Cobalt Teal spread liberally in th area where the transfer will be. You can find the instructions for this technique HERE ! NOTE : It is a little trickier to transfer an image to a soft and bumpy surface.
  • Take your time; don’t rush.
  • Fussy cut the image leaving just a tiny white edge around it.
  • Apply plenty of paint; more than you may think is necessary. If it dries before you get the image burnished down, those areas will not transfer.
  • Burnish, then burnish more. I used my fingers first and them my bone folder. I worked on this for several minutes to make sure every single part of the image was embedded in the paint.
  • Allow the image to dry at least 3-4 hours before wetting and removing the backing paper. It would be better overnight!
  • Use very little water to remove backing paper. The water necessary to remove the backing paper can soften sealed and unsealed Paper Mache.
  • Rub the paper backing very gently and stop if any of the image begins to come off!!

Close up of Blue Jay transfer inside of paper mache bowl

  • Seal the transfer inside of the bowl with a glossy medium or spray. This will help make the image pop and look clear. I used Mod Podge Gloss Spray! Use the steps in the “Sealing After Painting” section above.
  • Enjoy your bowl!!

Paper Mache Bowl on side

That was a bunch of messy, creative FUN!!! I hope that you enjoyed The Paper Mache Beginner’s Guide and learning How to Make Your Own Paper Mache Bowl with me!! When I am not exploring with new and old Techniques for Mixed Media in my Graphics Fairy sandbox, I also create Photoshop Elements tutorials and craft project tutorial videos over on The Graphics Fairy Premium Membership site . You can find even more of my books, junk journals, mixed media art, classes, and whimsical shenanigans on Rebecca E Parsons Dot Com .

May joy be with you all,

Paper Mache Beginner's Guide Pin

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November 21, 2021 at 8:34 am

Rebecca, you make this sound so easy! I once made a hot air balloon with my daughter for her bedroom (long, long ago) Tonight my grandboys are spending the night and I am thinking we will use your directions and make a Christmas bowl for their mother! Thank you so much. I also thought with them making the bowl maybe a photo transfer of the two of them might be fun. Have you tried that? Anything I need to be cautious of doing or not doing. I would hate to ruin their bowl. They loved making paper together so I am thinking they will love this. Again thank you for the very clear instructions.

Karen Watson says

November 21, 2021 at 4:12 pm

Hi Sandy, I’m so glad you liked Rebecca’s project! What a great idea to make a Christmas bowl with your grandkids! If you are going to do the photo transfer, I would definitely create a little scrap paper mache piece that you can experiment on before doing it on the actual bowl. Since we all have different types printers, ink, and use different brands of paint, it’s best to try it for yourself on a practice piece so that you know exactly how it will turn out, with your supplies I hope that helps!

Giuseppa says

November 8, 2021 at 8:30 am

Grazie. La spiegazione è chiarissima.

November 8, 2021 at 6:07 pm

November 4, 2021 at 6:25 pm

Thanks so much Rebecca, I remember doing this at school. What a fun project!❤️

November 5, 2021 at 10:18 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed Rebecca’s post Sue! 😊

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How to Make Paper Mache

Home » DIY » How to Make Paper Mache

how to make paper mache

Make paper mache with kids with all-natural ingredients. You can then use it to create all sorts of cute projects for kids and teens.

paper mache ball

Doesn’t paper mache just take you right back to your childhood? I remember long summer afternoons when my mother and I would get our hands all messy and squishy making our very own paper mache dough from scratch!

kneading paper mache

Just making the dough—we called the lumpy paper that and the name stuck—was super fun, but why stop there? You can make a ton of craft items with it, like little trinket bowls, ornaments, and even paper mache alphabets.

paper mache crafts

Watch Full Tutorial: How to Make Paper Mache

Supplies and Tools You’ll Need for Paper Mache

Here’s a list of supplies and tools you need to make your paper mache dough:

  • 1/2 toilet paper roll
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1/2 glass of water
  • 1/2 glass of wheat flour

craft supplies

You should definitely consider laying out plenty—and I mean plenty —of paper towels or newspapers around you while you work on this DIY project . It’s going to be messy right from the get-go.

If you’ve laid out newspapers over your work surface, you can get right down to the fun and therapeutic part of this project: shredding paper!

Go ahead and start ripping your paper into smaller pieces before putting them in a bowl.

ripping toilet paper

You can definitely use newspapers, as well. Just remember to tear the newspaper into really small pieces as the dough will end up thicker and harder if you don’t.

cut up newspaper in bowl

While you’re shredding the paper, put a kettle on. It’s not just to make yourself a cup of tea, although you definitely should. You’re going to pour boiling water over your shredded paper and let it sit for a couple of hours.

pouring boiling water

The hot water helps with breaking down the cellulose, and your paper will get all soft and squishy. Don’t skip this step, though. When you let the paper sit in the boiling water, your dough will end up more pliant.

Also, if you use newspaper, then you will have to let it sit in the water overnight. Newspaper is much thicker and needs more time to soften and for the cellulose to break down.

paper and water in bowl

Next, when you’re sure your paper has been sitting in the water long enough, grab a hand blender and mush everything into pulp. You will either love the squelching sounds you’ll hear, or you won’t.

Me? I get a kick out of it!

blending paper mixture

Stop pulping the paper when it looks something like this.

holding paper mixture

It’s time to strain your pulp and drain all that water. Place a cheesecloth over a big bowl and carefully pour your paper pulp into the cloth.

cheesecloth in bowl

Gather the ends and squeeze the excess water out of the pulp into the bowl below. If you think you’ve squeezed enough, just do it again, just to be extra sure!

paper mix in cheesecloth

When you take the pulp out of the cheesecloth, it should look something like this.  Break the pulp into little pieces and put them into a bowl.

holding paper mache

If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looks an awful lot like ricotta or cottage cheese.

paper bits in bowl

Now, you’re going to prepare the binding paste to turn that pulp into your paper mache dough. Grab another bowl and add your white flour to it. You can just as easily use cornstarch which will be just as effective, if not more so.

holding cup

Stir your water in—not all at once, but in parts so that the flour doesn’t turn lumpy. Your paste should be smooth and sticky but not runny. You will need to cook this paste, so to speak. Place the contents in a saucepan with the heat on low.

flour mixture in bowl

The mixture needs to be heated for around five minutes, or until the water evaporates and you have a thick and creamy paste. You have to keep stirring the paste constantly, or it will burn.

Alternatively, you can pop it into a microwave. Heat the paste for 15-20 seconds, take it out, stir vigorously, and then it goes in there again for another round. Repeat this a few times till the paste thickens.

spoon of flour mix

Spoon the paste onto the pulp.

adding flour to paper mix

This part is my absolute favorite: rolling and kneading the dough. But first, roll up your sleeves; it’s going to get messy.

mixing paper and flour

If your dough is wet, just sprinkle a little flour over, and keep rolling. If it’s too dry, just a few drops of water should help soften it. Kids, in particular, will love this part of the activity!

holding paper mache ball

When you’re all done, your paper mache dough will look like this—good enough to eat and even better to start making your paper mache craft items.

ball of paper mache

What Can I Make from Paper Mache?

There’s absolutely no limit to what you can do with paper mache. Just making the dough can be a great activity, but when you do have the dough ready, you can make a ton of things.

If you have a chocolate or candy molk just press the dough into it and flatten it out. When it’s dry, you can pop it out, paint it, and use it as ornaments and baubles.

putting paper mache in mould

If you want to make lesson time more fun and creative for your little ones, then make a set of paper mache alphabets and use them to teach toddlers their ABCs.

letter A with paper mache

You can also make trinket trays, bowls, and small dishes, and use it to store, well, trinkets! Just cover the outside of a plastic or glass bowls with clear wrap or cling film, spread a drop of oil around it, turn it around, and stick paper mache dough around it, just so.

making bowl shape

Can You Use Hairdryer to Dry Paper Mache?

Yes you can use a hairdryer to dry your paper mache. However, you should turn the heat setting down to low, or your mache will scorch. Remember, paper mache is pretty flammable! Besides, using a hairdryer might not dry the paper mache evenly, either.

Smaller pieces will dry up faster, while bigger ones will definitely take longer. Just allow whatever you end up making to air dry for at least 2-3 days—longer if the item in question is thicker. Once dry, you can go ahead and paint it.

Here’s a tip: if you want your paper mache to last longer, add a teaspoon of salt to the dough just before you start kneading. You can store the dough in the fridge for up to a week, as well!

paper mache shapes

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paper mache crafts

How to Make Paper Mache (Step-by-Step)

diy paper mache

Love crafting? Learn how to make paper mache and make a bunch of fun crafts out of it!

Instructions

  • Gather all the materials listed out to begin.
  • First, lay out plenty of paper towels over your work surface to control messes and spills.
  • Now, tear paper or newspaper into tiny pieces and put them in a big bowl. You can also use a pair of scissors. Newspaper is thicker and so, tear it into much smaller pieces.
  • Next, pour boiling water over the paper and let it sit for at least 2 hours(overnight if you used newspaper). The hot water will break down cellulose and turn your paper into pliable pulp.
  • Drain the pulp into a cheesecloth and squeeze the excess water out. Squeeze until you’re sure you managed to get all the moisture out of the pulp.
  • Remove the pulp from the cheesecloth and break it into tiny pieces and put everything in a bowl.
  • To make the flour paste, add flour(or cornstarch) to another bowl and mix in some water. Then, place this paste over low heat and stir continuously as it ‘cooks’ for 4-5 minutes. When the excess water evaporates, your paste should be smooth and sticky.
  • Alternatively, pop the paste into a microwave for 15-20 seconds, take it out, stir it, and pop it back in for another round. Repeat this 4-5 times and you’ll have your paste.
  • Pour the paste onto the pulp and knead them into a pliant dough. You can store this dough for up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • Go ahead and make a ton of paper mache craft items with your dough. Once you allow everything to air dry for a couple of days, you’re all done!
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How to Make Paper Mache, Made Easy for Beginners

Modified: Feb 25, 2024 by Treasurie

Learning the basics of how to make paper mache will ensure you can accomplish multiple projects with ease and confidence. This tutorial will give you the basics of paper mache using paper strips.

How to Make Paper Mache

How to Make Paper Mache, Step by Step Instructions

The general steps that you need to take when making paper mache crafts using paper strips are as follows:

Table of Contents

The things you would need for this method on how to make paper mache are as follows:

  • Container or Large Bowl: This item should be large and deep enough to hold the other materials and more. It will ensure you won’t make too much mess.
  • Adhesive: Whatever type of adhesive you choose, ensure that you prepare the amount that suits the size of your project. 1 cup flour.
  • Cold Water: For how to make paper mache methods, you will use water to dilute your adhesive, giving it a smoother consistency and making it more convenient to use.
  • Molds: This item will help you achieve the shape and design you’re going for, so first-timers should choose the most basic ones. The mold can be a balloon, clay or plastic.
  • Paintbrush (Optional): Choose a soft-bristled, fine paintbrush. You can have two, one for smoothening out the adhesive and prevent air bubbles, and another for painting your project.
  • Paper: Aptly named, paper will be the main material for this project.

Best Paper for Paper Mache

Some of the best types of craft paper that you can use are:

  • Strips of Newspaper: Used newspaper is the most common and affordable paper that you can utilize. It also holds well, so it’s the perfect base.
  • Kraft Paper or Brown Paper Bag: Similar to the newsprint, this is an affordable option, especially for practicing how to make paper mache. However, it’s a little thicker.
  • Construction Paper: You can choose from light to medium thickness, depending on your project. The problem is that it won’t work for most projects because it has a rough texture. 
  • Printer Paper: Like the construction paper, you can choose from several thickness levels. This type of paper also has a smooth surface, unlike the newsprint.
  • Crepe Paper: Yes, this is very thin paper, so it’s best used for creating the finer details of your paper mache project. The best thing about it is it comes in various colors, so you can skip the painting step. Plus, it’s rough or wrinkled, adding texture to your finished design.
  • Tissue Paper or Paper Towel: An alternative to crepe paper, this is more readily available at your home.

Types of Glue for Paper Mache

The best adhesive is PVA glue because it’s safe, durable, free of mold and rot, dries quickly, clearly, and evenly, and has excellent strength and smoother texture. Nonetheless, you can opt for the following:

  • Regular Wood Glue: Being water-soluble, non-toxic, and strong, this is a good alternative. However, once it dries, it’s no longer flexible. You can also opt for type 1 yellow or carpenter glue.
  • Mod Podge: This easy-to-clean, toxic-free, and water-soluble option is perfect for the finishing stage of the how to make paper mache process. Just note that it dries quickly.
  • School Glue or Elmer Glue: This adhesive is the most affordable and easily accessible commercially available glue that is versatile and strong. The issue you’ll encounter is that it softens when exposed to water. You also won’t be able to sand it.
  • Wallpaper Paste: The last adhesive you should opt for is wallpaper paste because it has toxic ingredients. You also need to experiment with the ratio when diluting it. But if you have this at home already or use it in your other craftworks, then go for it, making the process more cost-effective.
  • Homemade Flour Mixture: Making your own simple recipe for adhesive using 1 cup of plain flour is the most affordable, best for kids and it also works great!

Step 1 - Prepare Your Working Area

Having your own crafting table would be great, but you can choose to work on any table in your home or a workbench in your garage. Either way, it’s best to protect it from any drip and mess that usually happens while accomplishing your paper mache project.

First, ensure that the surface is clear of any other objects and clean. Then, place a cover. You can use an old table cloth or fabric, a plastic cover, newspaper, or any scrap pieces of paper.

Step 2 - Make Paper Strips

Create plenty of long paper strips using your hands or scissors. The ideal thickness for a newspaper strip is 2.5 centimeters or one inch, but feel free to choose the strips’ size. They don’t need to be perfect; in fact, you can even create strips of different widths to add more volume to your mache project.

Step 3 - Make a Paper Mache Paste

Choose an easy paper mache recipe. Simple paper mache is made just with flour and water.

For this paper mache recipe , place the adhesive and water in your container, following these recommended adhesive to water ratios:

  • PVA, Modge Podge, School Glue: 2:1 or 1:1 (Using the 1:1 ratio will give a stronger glue but you may need to experiment to get the right consistency.)
  • Homemade: 1:1 (1 cup of flour to 1 cup water, or 1 part flour to 1 part water)
  • Wallpaper: 1:1 (1 part wallpaper glue to 1 part water)

Next, whisk the mache paste recipe using your paintbrush or a spoon until you reach a smooth consistency.

Adjust the quantities if needed. You can add a little water if it’s too thick or adhesive if it’s too thin. You don't want any bumps in your mixture, so stir well.

Adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of salt to the paper mache glue will make your mixture last longer in high humidity if you plan on storing excess paste for later.

Step 4 - Dip the Strips in the Solution

Place a few strips of paper in the bowl or container with your glue paste. Ensure you don’t put a lot to cover both sides of the paper strips. That said, you must also ensure that you don't saturate them too much.

If you don't want to use strips, a paper mache pulp can be made by blending the paper and glue strips.

Step 5 - Layer Your Soaked Strips

Take one of the soaked paper strips, and carefully slide from top to bottom two of your fingers to help remove any excess adhesive. Hold it for a while and let the adhesive drip in the container. Slowly lay it on the surface of your mold, and then smooth it out. You can do so with your paintbrush or fingers.

Repeat the process, but make sure you achieve the shape and design you want while laying the rest of the strips. Make sure you also achieve your desired texture, volume, and details.

If you run out of strips, repeat steps five to six of the paper strip procedure.

How to Make Paper Mache

Step 6 - Let It Dry

Leave your project to dry for at least 24 hours. Once dry, you can start painting it or add any details or embellishments that you want.

Once you’re done, you can slowly start removing the dried design from its base model.

Step 7 - The Finishing Touches

Paint the paper mache project using acrylic paints. Apply a clear coat, such as varnish, all over the project to seal it properly, And you’re done!

How to Make Paper Mache - Ideas & Projects

If you’re unsure what kind of project to accomplish, below are some great paper mache ideas that you can start with, from the most basic to the most complicated.

Paper Mache Balloon

The process of making a paper mache balloon is simple. All you have to do is inflate the balloon, and follow the instructions above. The demolding part involves popping the balloon.

Paper Mache Balloon

Paper Mache Globe

The how to make paper mache globe procedure is almost the same as the balloon’s, except for the finishing part. Paint it blue, create outlines to paint with green, and create smaller details or outlines with brown.

Paper Mache Globe

Paper Mache Pumpkin

Perfect for Halloween, a paper mache pumpkin uses a balloon inside. All you need to add to the steps is to wrap twine around the inflated balloon to create the pumpkin’s lines, leaving some excess for the stalk.

How to Make a Paper Mache Pumpkin

Paper Mache Pinata

In making a pinata paper mache , your mold will depend on the design that you want to achieve. You can use a balloon for a round animal, or a box for a traditional pinata. Decorate it with tissue paper. Don’t forget the candies, coins, and more!

Paper Mache Pinata

Paper Mache Volcano

A more complicated project that you can jump into after a few practices is how to make paper mache volcano . For this, you need an empty bottle instead of a balloon. You will also need a cardboard box to create a base for your volcano.

Paper Mache Volcano

Paper Mache Bowl

You can make a paper mache bowl by using either paper strips or paper pulp. Just use any sized bowl as your mold and follow the standard steps we discussed.

How to Make a Paper Mache Bowl

Paper Mache Mask

There are three different ways how to make paper mache mask s: using a mesh wire, a balloon, and paper pulp. The most challenging part is adding the details, such as the eyes, and ensuring the final product has the shape of a face.

How to Make a Paper Mache Mask

How to Make Paper Mache - In Conclusion

Making paper mache involves simple steps. It's the design you choose that will make it complicated. Thus, it’s best to start from the simple ones and then progress as you practice. Also, make sure you choose the adhesive and paper you’re comfortable working with. Have fun!

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The Curiously Creative

The Ultimate Guide to Paper Mache for Beginners

Are you interested in learning how to make paper mache? Paper mache is a craft that you may think of in a time of creative inspiration.

The concept of paper mache has been around for longer than paper creation. Despite its age, it has stayed strong in the crafting world throughout history. Paper mache has since been established as effective but easy to utilize.

This craft may seem overwhelming to those who have not had any experience with paper mache before.

Thankfully, everything down to the mixture you will use is things found in everyday life. Let’s get to everything that you need to know about paper mache.

What is Paper Mache?

The history of paper mache, paper mache in modern times, what supplies do i need for paper mache, how to create paper mache art, tips for paper mache art, paper mache video tutorials.

Paper mache, or papier mâché (“chewed paper” in French), is a method of art that involves paper and a paste that the artist creates.

What is Paper Mache

This paste is made of easy-to-find ingredients that you may already have in your house, saving you a trip to the craft store!

The paper you have will be torn into strips and then coated in the mixture you make before being put onto a surface of your choice. Surfaces can consist of things such as balloons, bowls, or vases.

The paper you use that is saturated in the paste will harden as it dries, becoming a light but durable material.

Once it has dried, the paper mache will be strong enough to hold what it needs to hold but will break if put under enough pressure.

Paper mache as we know it today is thought to have originated from China, where paper itself was first invented.

History of Paper Mache

These first instances of paper mache were likely for helmets. While paper mache is not strong enough to save you from any of today’s weapons, it does show how highly they valued this material.

While China has the first known instance of paper mache as we know it today, if you look further back in history, you will see a close relative that can be found dating back to Ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egyptians would coat pieces of papyrus or linen into the plaster to create objects for funerals. Coffins and Egyptian death masks would be crafted from this paper mache version.

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Paper mache is a popular crafting method even in the modern era, but it has also been known to be used for practical uses.

It was not that far back in history that paper mache was being used for fuel tanks and canoes.

While this practice has not necessarily continued into modern day as we know it, it was less than 100 years ago that the craft was being utilized for these items.

Today, it is much more common to see paper mache used to make objects such as pinatas and parade floats. You also may see artists using paper mache to create figures, jewelry, and more.

make a paper mache

Paper mache can be incorporated into whatever craft you are interested in.

If you are into fairy gardens ,  you can make a paper mache piece for an indoor terrarium.

Artists globally produce their own impressive works of art with paper mache, with a portion of these artists making their profession solely in paper mache.

If you are a crafter who would prefer a more hands-on method with your craft, consider paper mache a great candidate.

Paper Mache Supplies

Flour or Glue

Base of choice.

When you are gathering materials for your paper mache project, paper will be the absolute necessity.

Feel free to upcycle any old newspaper or magazines and use their pages as the strips of paper for your paper mache project.

This is a great way to be more environmentally friendly while also saving yourself money.

If you did not have anything spare lying around, Amazon offers over five pounds of blank newspaper for your crafting needs.

Water is one of the next priority materials for paper mache. Water will be your friend, as it is a significant ingredient in your paste.

Without any moisture, there wouldn’t be a paste after all. It does not have to be any particular kind of water; simple tap water would be sufficient.

While there is a way to also do paper mache using glue as the base, flour is a more available product for this craft.

Just as water was a significant ingredient for the paste, flour is the next ingredient.

The dry powder of the flour will mix with the water to slowly create a paste with a consistency based on your personal preference. 

If you are using glue, the glue will mix with the water just as the flour does.

Your paste will need something to be mixed in. You will need a container that will be large enough for you to easily coat strips of paper in, as well as holding the paste mixture itself.

Salt is recommended by some paper mache artists to be added to your paste for its antifungal elements.

However, it isn’t a miracle worker, and you will still want to take extra precautions to prevent mold.

While the whisk is not a necessity in your paper mache experience, it will certainly ease the way.

The whisk will help to mix your paste together, breaking away any dry clumps to give you a smooth mix.

The bases you can use are endless, but one great beginner’s item is balloons.

You can apply your moist strips to the balloon to form your project’s shape. When it is dried, you can pop the balloon to remove it easily.

Another option is to use these masks to create paper mache masks that can be used as decorative items.

How to Create Paper Mache Art

  • Gather your materials and prepare your crafting area.  Make sure all your materials are within reach. You also want to be sure to protect your environment, so prepare your crafting area ahead of time.
  • Combine flour/glue and water into the bowl and mix until desired consistency.  When you begin to make your paper mache mixture, you will combine your two ingredients in a bowl until it reaches the desired consistency. If the mixture is thick, you add water. If the mixture is thin, you add flour or glue.
  • Add some salt if you want. While not a necessary step in this procedure, if you add salt to your mixture, you will help keep your work free of any potential mold while it is drying.
  • Whisk until smooth. When you combine these elements together, you will want to mix it until there are no dry lumps. This is a very similar situation to stirring some batter.
  • Cover your paper in the mixture of flour and water. When your mix is to your liking, this is when you will begin creating with it. You will grab strips of paper one at a time and saturate them with your mixture.
  • Ensure no excess mixture is on the paper by using your fingers to wipe the strip.  While you want your strip of paper to be saturated enough to stick to your project, you do not want it to be so soaked that it dries slower. Because of this, you can take off any excess by brushing down with the paper strip in between two of your fingers.
  • Place the paper over whatever base you have chosen.  If you have selected a balloon, this is where you will keep your balloon steady and begin applying the strips. However, if you’re using a bowl or something else, you will want to apply a nonstick element to your bowl before adding the paper mache.
  • Cover the surface as much as you wish.  Whether you are creating a bowl and thus only utilizing half of the balloon or if you’re making something different that requires the whole balloon, it is entirely up to you.
  •  Let dry before beginning a second layer, or you may risk mold.  If you are going to apply more than one layer of paper mache, waiting for the previous layer to dry before adding another is the best idea. Even with the salt element, you do not want to risk mold from over-saturation.
  • Apply as many layers as you wish.  While you have to wait for each layer to dry, apply as many layers as you want if you have the patience!
  • Allow it to dry.  Finally, when you have added all the layers your heart desired, it is time for you to wait for it to dry completely.
  • Remove your base.  If you were using a balloon, this is where you can simply pop the balloon. If you were using the bowl, this is where you will be thankful that you used a nonstick agent, as the bowl will be much easier to remove than if you hadn’t.
  • Decorate as you please!  If you plan on coloring your paper mache masterpiece, it is best to use  acrylic paints !  There are also many more decorating ideas to truly customize your project.

Place the Paper Mache Strips In As Many Ways As Possible

If you place every paper mache strip in the same direction, you will have a fragile piece when your project dries. Instead, try to apply your strips of paper to create a strong base in as many directions as possible.

Do Not Paint Until Project is Dry

In the same light as not applying another layer of paper mache until the first layer is dry.

You will not want to paint before your project is completely dried. This increases the chances of mold, which can entirely ruin your work.

You Can Add Aromatherapy Scents

If you do not like the smell of your flour and water mixture, you can also feel free to add aromatherapy scents to your mix.

Be Prepared to Be Patient

When you are doing paper mache, you need to be patient. With how much dry time is involved and how crucial dry time is, you will be spending a lot of time waiting to move onto the next step in your project.

You may want to consider a different craft if you are all for instant gratification.

Paper mache is a craft that has grown with humanity, from its ancestry in Egypt to its origination in China.

The materials you need to craft with paper mache are accessible and may already be things you have in your home.

There are so many potential projects for you to test your new crafting skill and a world full of information waiting to be learned. Whatever your reason for learning paper mache may be, the path ahead will be adventurous.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Papier Mache

Papier Mache is a really fun craft to learn and do.  Here you will find out everything you need to know about how to create papier mache objects!

Papier Mache always reminds me of my school days when art lessons would involve quite a bit of papier mache!

I very vividly remember once creating a papier mache ball – we pasted the special mixture over a regular balloon and then once it was dry we popped the balloon – and lo and behold we had a papier mache ball!

It was a great craft to do at school – it was somewhat messy (kids love that!), you didn’t feel like you were actually doing ‘school work’, and you could create some amazing things!

Papier Mache is a really really fun craft to try and do.  You can really use your hands and imagination to create some amazing things with paper and a gluey mixture! You don’t need to be a kid to appreciate the fun creativity of papier mache.

make a paper mache

What is Papier Mache?

Papier mache, (pronounced “pap-ee-ay mash-ay,”) is a crafting technique involving paper and a paste-like mixture to create a wide variety of objects.

The name itself comes from the French words “papier” meaning paper and “mache” meaning mashed or mashed-up.  That is exactly what papier mache is all about – mashing up paper to form unique creations! 

Where Did Papier Mache Originate?

The origins of papier mache can actually be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt and Persia.

These ancient civilizations this method to create masks and coffins. However, it was during the Renaissance period in Europe that papier mache started to flourish and gain popularity.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, papier mache became a fashionable and affordable alternative to expensive woodwork and decorative items.

Papier mache was extensively used to create ornate furniture, intricate boxes, and even musical instruments.

The technique then spread to other parts of the world, with each culture adding its own unique touch and designs to the craft.

How Do You Make Papier Mache?

Making your own papier mache is incredibly easy and fun! Here is a simple step-by-step guide to start your own:

1. Gather your materials: You will need torn or shredded newspaper, a paste mixture, a bowl, and a mold (if desired).

2. Prepare the paste: There are various paste recipes that you can use, but a basic one involves mixing equal parts of flour and water until the mixture is a smooth consistency. You can also add some salt to the mixture to prevent the growth of mold.

4. Let it dry: Allow your creation to dry completely. This may take a few hours or even a couple of days, depending on the size and thickness of your project.

5. Decorate and finish: Once your papier mache is fully dry, you can paint, varnish, or decorate it as you wish. Get creative and let your imagination run wild!

Papier Mache is a really versatile crafting technique that can create so many different objects and designs.

You can create practical items, decorative pieces, and also fun pieces such as party supplies with Papier Mache.

Here are a few ideas of Papier Mache crafts that you may want to create:

Pinatas You can create your own pinatas for birthday parties and other fun gatherings.  Making a pinata is also really fun and rewarding. You can choose your own shapes and colors for your creations, and fill it with whatever you want to!

make a paper mache

Decorative Bowls You can make some amazing decorative or functional bowls with Papier Mache.  To make a bowl you will need a mold, either a balloon or a bowl. 

To this mold you add strips of newspaper that are dipped in the special paste.  You will layer the strips over the mold and then let it dry. Once the bowl is dry you need to gently remove the mold and then paint the bowl in the colors you choose.

To make a mask you will shape a mask base over a face mold or your own face. Once this base is dry you can paint it and decorate it as you want.

Sculptures Papier Mache can also be used to create some amazing sculptures. This requires a bit more creativity and more work and time, but it is well worth it.

You can create abstract shape sculptures, animals, and all kinds of things! To make a papier mache sculpture you will need to start with a wire armature in the shape that you desire.

You then cove the armature with the papier mache mixture to build up the form. Once the form is dry you can color, paint and embellish it.

Papier Mache is also a really great craft project to do because you can just experiment and try all kinds of different shapes and objects!

Papier Mache is a really fun craft to learn and do.  Here you will find out everything you need to know about how to create papier mache!

Make Calm Lovely is about creating calm and lovely in your life: through organization, productivity and exploring your creative side. I have great DIY & craft tips & ideas (including great IKEA hacks!) Plus lots of organization and productivity tips and advice, so you can create more time for the lovely in your life!

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How to make Paper Mache Paste from Flour

Easy paper mache recipe that is strong, durable and made from every day ingredients. You can make your own Papier Mache Paste quickly and easily – and a cheap recipe that is also eco friendly and for working in large groups or in the classroom.

How to make paper mache glue – quickly & easily

Papier Mache Recipe for crafts with projects shown

Perfect for anyone that loves to craft with newspapers ! Our simple paper mache recipe only requires two ingredients – yes that is correct – flour and water. I have used this paper mache recipe at summer camp many times before, as well as used it at home. Things I have made with it have lasted for years (I still have a paper mache piggy bank that I made 20 years ago at summer camp!! In that instance, I made the paper mache paste in the microwave too).

It is the most traditional method for how to make paper mache paste and gives you a strong, durable papier mache glue. With the added bonus that this papier mache glue is cheap, can be made from household items, is not as messy as PVA Papier Mache paste AND is good for the environment.

So without further ado.. here is our very easy paper mache paste made from flour and water:

Ingredients for papier mache paste:

So, how do you make paper mache at home?

Easy microvable Papier Mache Paste with newspaper

  • 1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
  • 2 cups tap water
  • OPTIONAL: some people like to add a tablespoon of salt to help preserve the paper mache glue – but we have never needed to do this. If you live in an area with high humidity you may wish to add some

Yes. That is literally it!

Though we do heat it, so you will need a microwave or cooker too – as this helps release the starch in the flour which is your acting agent! It is possible to just use flour and water, with no heating, but the resulting paste won’t be as strong -if you have no accesses to bring your flour water mixture to the boil, do try and pour on boiling water instead and be sure to give it a good whisk – I encourage you to experiment with this first, before using it in a group setting and making sure YOU are happy with the result. This paper mache paste won’t be as strong, but the diy glue will work.

Next you will need is strips of newspaper/ any paper strips (we have used tissue paper before too) and you are ready to go!

(If you love how amazing flour is, you may also adore our 3 ingredient salt dough recipe !!)

You will also need

  • A disposable container/ old pan if using a cooker (though you can use a normal bowl, as this washes up nicely and won’t get ruined!)
  • Measuring cup (it really doesn’t matter what size, it is the relative quantities that matter)
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Microwave or cooker

If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this on the stove top – just heat the mixture in a pan gradually, bring to the boil and keep stirring!

Is PVA glue or flour better for paper mache?

Form our years of making paper mache at summer camp and in the classroom, we find that flour is strong and durable. PVA glue, like elmer’s glue, of course is also strong and durable, but as flour is so cheap and also eco friendly, I would always put the flour paper mache recipe first. The only “upside” of a paper mache glue recipe, is that it is “whiter”. A flour recipe will be slightly off white. So if you are using white tissue paper in your craft, you may like a glue recipe instead. Most people however, tend to paint their finished projects, so the colour of the paste really shouldn’t make a difference!

Go with flour!

How long does Paper Mache paste from flour KEEP FOR?!

I usually keep my homemade paper mache glue, in a covered bowl or sealed container or jar and it should last in the fridge for about a week. The water and flour mixture may separate out a little, just give it a good stir and you will be ready to use it again. Personally, I like using it straight away (once it has been cooled down) or with in a day or two. I wouldn’t keep it too long, but it CAN be made ahead of time.

As mentioned you can add a tablespoon of salt or two and that can help preserve it for longer. Having said that, (and as mentioned earlier), I still have a paper mache piggy bank, that I made well over 20years ago at summer camp. And no salt was added to that!

How to make Paper Mache Paste (Recipe with Flour)

This short video shows you how very quick and easy it is to make your Paper Mache Paste! Or follow the step by step instructions below!

How to make paper mache paste from flour and water – step by step instructions

This really is one of the easiest and least messy DIY Paper Mache Recipes!

  • Mix one part flour, with two parts water. Pour the water in gradually and keep stirring.
  • Try and remove  as many lumps as possible.
  • Pop into the microwave at full blast for 30-40 seconds (remember microwaves do vary, so add it for less if need be). Remove, give it a good stir.
  • Pop back into the microwave for another 30-40 seconds etc. You will see some air bubbles forming, that is fine. You can “stir them out later”.
  • NOTE: Some people prefer it more paste like.. but I like it a little “runnier” (not too runny mind you). It really is a question of preference. 
  • Remove the flour mixture and give it a good stir. Try and “squish out” any lumps against the side of the container. They are not a “disaster”, but your work will look neater and smoother, if there are no lumps.
  • Let cool a little and you are ready to use your mixture.

I do think that this is stronger than bonding glue or modpodge and I love that this recipe is natural and biodegradable. The natural starch in the flour simply is amazing! And it is fantastic how it results in qiute a hard material!

Stove Top Paper Mache Paste DIY

You can achieve the same result on the stove top. As you are only working with flour and water, this will papier mache recipe will not ruin any of your saucepan or pots!

  • As before, add your mixture to a pan and stir to make as smooth as possible.
  • Place on the cooker, on low heat and slowly heat it up.
  • Stir continuously until you have a thick soup like constitency.
  • Remove from stove and let cool!

Your Papier Mache Mixture is ready for us! As mentioned, it should last in your fridge for up to around a week.. but I prefer to use it with in 2-3 days.

make a paper mache

Papier Mache Paste

  • 1 Cup of flour
  • 2 Cups of water
  • Microwavable container (can also be made on the stove top)

Instructions

  • Note: this can also be made on the stove, by lightly heating the mixtue and stirring continuously
  • Mix one part flour, with two parts water. Pour the water in gradually and keep stirring. Try and remove  as many lumps as possible
  • Microwave at full blast for 30-40 seconds (remember microwaves do vary, so add it for less if need be). Remove, stir
  • Repeat the step above 2-4 until you have a consistency you like (some like it runnier, some like it thicker)
  • Let cool and use
  • Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week

Once you have your basic paper mache glue ready (no white glue in sight!), you can get started on your paper mache projects. You will of course need strips of newspaper, though you can use other paper too – having said that, the more absorbant the paper, the better. Simply dip your paper in the paper mache paste and start working on your projects. I tend to get very messy and “hands all in” when using paper mache, but you can keep things a little less messy and use a paint brush too. Be sure you have a nice clear work area before you get started!

Most paper mâché projects also like to work with a balloon – you get the fabulous shapes that way! And you can really vary the size of your project depending on how big your balloon is! We LOVED making a Death Star pinata that way! But you can also make small piggy banks or papier-mâché fruit bowls using smaller balloons.

You can also use your papier-mâché recipe to make pulp clay or paper mache clay recipe. I have a post on paper mache clay recipe here. This is great for small projects requiring different shapes.

Some of our favourite Papier Mache Projects to day include the following:

For any paper mahce project, you will need your paper mache paste, layers of newspaper strips and some paints (we love acrylic paints.. and for some projects you can use white acrylic paint to create a “white canvas” and then draw on it with pens and create interesting designs and details -a great little trick!). Sometimes you will need scissors or a craft knife to finishing this off.

Adorable Papier Mache Birds

Stunning Papier Mache Garden Bird Ornaments

homemade paper mache dinosaur piggy bank

Papier Mache Dino Banks (again, we still have these years and years later! The paper mache paste recipe really is the best!)

Easy papier mache solar system with preschool

Papier Mache Solar System

Homemade Easy Papier Mache Pulp Fruit Bowls

Papier Mache Melon Bowls – love these fruit bowls! They are so cute and full of bright colors!

Papier mache layers of the earth educational craft

Layers of the Earth Bowls – a lovely educational craft

Paper Mache Stone Age Educational Craft (KS2)

Stone Age Axe – another great project for KS2 Primary school. So many great things to make from old newspaper!

Paper Mache Giant Model Making Preschool

Sheep Sculpture – an example where white acrylic paint makes a great “canvas” for kids to paint! You could also add coats of emulsion paint!

Easy Papier Mache Hens

Hen Basket here we used tissue paper instead of strips of old newspaper. It work just as well. You could even use patterned floral tissue paper. How cute would that be?

make a paper mache

Papier Mache Volcano – probably one of our most popular paper mache projects! Great for science fair projects both in school and the homeschooling community!

DIY pirate ship

Papier Mache Pirate Ship

make a paper mache

A fab Day of the Dead Pinata – a real balloon paper mache project classic! As a top tip, some people like to add a light layer of vaseline to the ballon, to prevent it from accidentally popping and “imploding” your work whilst it dries. Alternatively, some people like to add a later of plastic wrap. But I don’t think it is strictly speaking necessary!

make a paper mache

Fish Pinata – one of the first paper mache projects I made for Red Ted Art. The dried paper mache really made a strong hard material and it lasted us for years (we used it as a decoration!). I love the tissue paper scales.

Trending Post: How To Paint A Glass Tile Backsplash With These Simple DIY Steps

the diy nuts logo with green paint stroke and text all things diy.

How To Make An Easy Paper Maché Piñata

Save Money: Make a Homemade Pinata

Learn how to make a DIY piñata using simple ingredients from home. You will be shocked at how budget-friendly this craft can be.

paper maché balloon piñata hanging outside.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

There is no better party activity than a piñata. We have convinced our son that a family party in our new playset with cupcakes would be the perfect way to celebrate his birthday. What little kid doesn’t love hanging a piñata outside and finding all the customized treasures?

Why not just buy a piñata?

I had a few in my online shopping cart but decided to save $20+ and make my own DIY piñata. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a homemade paper maché piñata . The best part about this easy DIY project is that it is budget-friendly. You probably already have most supplies in your pantry.

collage of images including balloons, paper mache paste with girl hitting homemade pinata with a yellow bat.

Ways To Make A Simple Piñata

  • out of a cereal box
  • use a paper bag as the base
  • use an old cardboard box
  • traditional paper maché paste and crepe paper
  • mini piñatas out of cardboard tubes
  • create a base like large numbers out of bendable cardboard strips

Design Your Piñata Before You Start

Once you have decided on your piñata design you need to construct your base before making your paper mache paste.

For our simple Easter egg piñata that meant blowing up the balloon and prepping our workspace. This will take more time if you are using something other than a balloon for your base.

I asked my son what he wanted, and he actually said the easiest thing possible…An Easter egg piñata. This basic shape could be made with a balloon and easy DIY paper maché paste.

Other DIY piñata ideas

Unsure of the piñata you want to build? Our DIY friends make them all the time. We will be consulting this list of cool piñata ideas for our next birthday party.

flour, balloon, bowl, measuring cup filled with water on newspaper in kitchen.

Recommend Supplies For Paper Maché Recipe

  • I.5 parts water
  • 1 part flour
  • Tablespoon of salt
  • Newspaper or old brown paper bags
  • Colored Tissue Paper or paint (optional)
  • Balloons ( this pack of balloons has also been a hit for extra games around our house)

*You can use cardboard or a different base than a balloon.

How To Make Homemade Paper Maché Paste

Step 1: add water to flour.

Pour flour into the bowl and slowly add water.

measuring cup with water being poured into bowl with flour.

Step 2: Completely Mix Together

  • Stir or whisk until it is not chunky at all.

whisk in bowl with paper mache paste.

Step 3: Add A Pinch Of Salt

Adding salt helps preserve what you are making.

How To Make A Piñata From A Balloon

Step 1: cut strips of newspaper or a brown bag.

You will want to precut your newspaper or old paper brown bags into strips of paper about 1 inch wide. This can vary depending on your project.

hands holding orange scissors cutting brown paper bags into strips.

Step 2: Blow Up The Balloon

If using a balloon, blow it up to the desired size and place it in a bowl. This will help you have a stand to work on. If you are creating a cardboard base, then you would just get that ready.

balloon in bowl with mixing bowl and flour on countertop.

Step 3: Start To Add Paper Strips

Dip a whole strip of newspaper into the flour mixture. Pull it out while keeping it flat.

This allows the edge of the bowl to take some of the excess paper mache off. You can also use your fingers to take extra goop off.

hand placing newspaper strip in flour paper mache mix.

Step 4: Add Strips To The Balloon

Keep strips flat and place them on the balloon or base. Rubbing it to get flat.

newspaper strips with paper mache paste on a balloon on the kitchen counter.

Step 5: Continue Covering The Balloon

Overlap strips in different directions. You do not want the paper mache strips to all go the same way.

large balloon with paper mache paste and newspaper going different directions.

Step 6: Continue Adding Strips

Repeat this until you have about 3 layers .

blue streamer on paper mache balloon piñata.

Optional Step: Add Tissue Paper For Color

If you want to add a base color to your homemade pinata, then you can also carefully add tissue paper on top of the newspaper . You can try to do it while it is wet or revisit and add color after it dries.

blue homemade piñata in bowl with plate of paste and loose tissue paper on counter.

Step 7: Let Piñata Fully Dry

Your piñata base may take up to 24-48 hours to completely dry.

Optional Homemade Piñata Decorating Steps

Paint dotters or paint.

Use paint dot makers to have little ones help you add decorations as we did after our homemade pinata dried.

pink, purple, silver paint dotters in front of balloon piñata.

Add Extra Colors Of Tissue Paper

Cut tissue paper in a fringe and glue it on to give it a more traditional pinata feel.

foam brush putting paper mache paste on top of pink tissue paper on homemade piñata.

Add Texture

Cut some squares of tissue paper, wrap them around the end of a pencil and dip them in glue. Add the tissue paper to the pinata. In the image below, we are making a simple textured tissue paper heart craft .

This will give that fluffy texture. I think I will probably try this the next time I need to make a pinata, but it probably would be pretty time-consuming.

hand holding square of tissue paper around pencil end and adding texture to heart shape.

How To Turn Balloon Into A Hanging Piñata 

Step 1: pop balloon.

First, pop the balloon. I did cover the whole balloon except for the knot. 

Step 2: Cut Door

Cut out a shape on the top big enough for you to drop your prizes into. Use an Exacto knife to cut a square flap out of the top .  Do not cut the whole shape. Cut 3 sides so that the top of the pinata will flip open.

hand holding exacto knife cutting into paper mache piñata.

Step 3: Fill With Prizes

Drop in the prizes, homemade crafts such as these shrinky dink charms or small toys. Make sure that your piñata is strong enough to support whatever you are putting in. We added suckers, small toys, airheads, and my favorite little spiky balls to ours.

hand placing red and yellow spiky ball toy inside color piñata.

Step 4: Add Hanging String

Punch or cut two small holes far enough away from the opening and add a string or ribbon .

purple ribbon going across inside of homemade piñata with toys and candy inside.

Step 5: Close The Lid

Flip the cut shape back on.

pink, green, blue tissue papered homemade piñata with open cut.

Step 6: Add Paper Maché and Paper Strips On The Seam

Make a small amount of homemade paper maché paste. Reapply flour paper mache on top of the cut seams.

paper mach newspaper on top of homemade piñata.

Step 7: Add Color To The Seam

Add colored tissue paper back on top using paper maché paste.

pink, purple and green wet tissue paper with flour mixture on it.

Step 8: Let Dry

Let the paper mache strips dry and get ready to have some fun!

Hang Your Homemade Piñata

We decided to hang ours near our new treehouse and rock wall. Surprisingly, ours held up for quite a few swings. I was surprised at how strong the 3 layers of paper mache were. My kids loved that they knew we had made it ourselves and couldn’t wait to see what was inside.

colorful piñata made from a balloon hanging outside.

They also really thought it was a mystery about how things got inside. While they helped with the paper mache part, they didn’t get to see me put the toys and candy inside. They were happily surprised by this homemade piñata!

Tips and Tricks For Making A Piñata

  • Make sure that your homemade piñata structure is strong enough to hold what goodies you put in.
  • Use a bowl to help prop up balloons or round objects.
  • Find ways to add details with the whole family (like using paint dotters )

children feet and candy after hitting a homemade piñata

How-To FAQs

homemade blue piñata sitting on bowl with wet paper mache on it.

3 layers will make sure that your piñata is strong enough to hold the goodies you put inside. Make sure you criss-cross the strips when applying them to the balloon.

Classic paper maché consists of flour. However, we have had success mixing 1 part non-washable glue and 1 part water together for a flour alternative. Make your strips out of thinner paper or even paper towels for the best results.

If you are using a box as a base, you would want to open parts of it and then retape it together with masking tape. This will make it easier for your children to smash.

When you add more paper maché you are making the piñata very strong. You could modify this step by only taping the lid shut. However, your piñata may easily break (which may be a good thing depending on the age trying to break it open).

Piñatas To Buy

Now, if after you read this, you decide you just want to spend the money and get a pinata, here are a few that I did consider buying. 

  • Race Car Pinata – Seemed to be the cheapest with the highest rating.
  • Llama Pinata -I really would have had to think about getting if this was for my daughter

More Family-Friendly DIY Tutorials For Your Next Party

  • DIY Anniversary Party Ideas that Will Save You Money!
  • Easy and Inexpensive Birthday Treat Bag Ideas
  • Fun DIY Prize Punch Board Game

little girl in pink hat and gray coat swinging plastic bat at homemade piñata.

Follow us on Pinterest , YouTube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

I hope you enjoy making memories with your DIY paper maché piñata! We know our family did.

Did you have fun making this craft with your family? Make sure to leave a 5-star ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ review in the comments !

colorful homemade piñata made from a balloon hanging outside.

How To Make A Piñata

  • ▢ Bowl
  • ▢ Utility Knife
  • ▢ Scissors (our favorites)

Recommended Supplies

  • ▢ Newspaper Strips
  • ▢ 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ▢ 1.5 cups Water
  • ▢ Tablespoon Salt
  • ▢ Balloon
  • ▢ Paint Dotters Optional
  • ▢ Colored Tissue Paper Optional
  • ▢ Fun items or candy to fill your piñata

Instructions

How to make paper maché paste.

  • Pour flour into a bowl and slowly add water.
  • Add salt (this helps preserve what you are making).

How To Make A Piñata Out Of A Balloon

  • You will want to precut your newspaper into strips of paper about 1 inch wide . This can vary depending on your project.
  • If using a balloon, blow it up to the desired size and place in a bowl.
  • Dip the whole strip of newspaper into the flour mixture. Pull it out while keeping it flat. This allows the edge of the bowl to take some of the excess paper mache off. You can also use your fingers to take extra goop off.
  • Keep strips flat and place them on the balloon or base. Rub them to get flat.
  • Overlap strips in different ways. You do not want the paper mache strips to all go the same way.
  • Repeat until you have 3 layers.
  • Optional: You can use tissue paper to add color, paint the paper maché or use a variety of ways to finish your paper maché piñata.
  • Let paper maché fully dry.

Adding Treats Inside The Piñata

  • Once the piñata is dry, cut open the top and place party treats inside.
  • Cut holes on side and string ribbon across before closing.
  • Re-paper maché the top after attaching a ribbon or string.
  • Decorate as needed and enjoy your DIY piñata.
  • Place a balloon in a bowl when trying to paper maché. 
  • This simple paper maché recipe can be used for all sorts of DIY art and easy craft projects.
  • Instead of using a balloon for your base, you could make a base out of cardboard or a box to create any shaped piñata.
  • Make sure to add three layers of paper maché to your balloon . This will make it strong enough to hold your weight items.
  • If young children are having a hard time cracking the piñata, cut a small slit to help them break the piñata apart.

Erin Nutter is the DIY enthusiast, writer and photographer behind TheDIYNuts.com. She loves sharing her passion for do-it-yourself projects along with her husband, Eric. As an artist, mother, and lover of all things DIY she hopes to inspire you to be creative to make a life and home you love.

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I used to make paper mache as a kid and this looks super fun to make!

Hi Hannah! Yes, my kids did enjoy getting pretty messy creating this DIY pinata. They had even more fun cracking the homemade pinata open!

You have just given me a great idea! We are still on lockdown and I was thinking of what to do to celebrate when we are finally back to the new normal. I’ll make a giant pinata!! It looks so simple and I’m sure it will be fun to do!

Hi Millie. Yes, our kids loved making the homemade pinata (even though the paper mache was pretty goopy). And of course, they love smashing it! It really made my son’s birthday (while being safe at home) special.

This is a great diy! Thanks for the steps. Piñatas are expensive so being able to make one is great!

Hi! Yes, we love being able to make things ourselves. A DIY pinata is a perfect solution for something you are just going to smash anyway!

Ultimate Paper Mache

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How to Make a Simple Paper Mache Mask

Simple Paper Mache Mask, Step 3

Monica Franco sent us some excellent instructions for making a simple paper mache mask. Thanks, Monica, for submitting your guest post for our online Halloween Mask Party !

And now, here’s Monica:

I made a simple wearable mask by

1) cutting cardboard into the rough shape of a head

2) build up the facial features (use a mirror as a reference)

3) dip paper strips into a bowl of water and layer it on form

4) dip paper strips into flour and water paste and layer it on the water layer immediately

5) wait for both layers to dry

6) remove from form, cut eye holes and nostril holes ( your gonna need these)

7) add more layers of paste on the inside and out till its as strong as you want

8) decorate

Thanks, Monica!

14 thoughts on “How to Make a Simple Paper Mache Mask”

suppose i was making a theatrical mask, how would i do that

You could use this method .

i am going to design my mask as a square and the color will be green and blue. i will put some more decorations on it.

That sounds great! Have fun with it.

Are the facial features mentioned in step two built up on top of the flat piece of cardboard that is cut out for step one? You layer them on top of the flat cardboard to build up the features?

Brian, I don’t know if Monica is still watching her post for comments, so I’ll jump in and try to answer your question for her. I’m sure she builds up all the shapes on top of the cardboard, using crumpled newspaper and tape. The cardboard shape helps to make sure the outside shape of the mask stays the way she wants it. Then the rounded shapes of the face are built up on top of it. You could also use a plastic mask form, if you have one. There are a lot of ways to make masks, and you can see a lot of different methods here .

I am trying to make some costume heads out of paper mache. I need the mask to go over the head. How would I do that? With a balloon? Or what? I want to get a base for the head then I can add the dimensions and details of the head afterwards with the paper mache clay.

I suppose if you get a really big balloon, it would work. I would probably try to make a base out of cardboard pieces taped together. Then you could try it on before adding the paper mache. If you didn’t want the cardboard to stay in the helmet, you could cover it with plastic before adding paper mache. By the way, you have very little time left, so do start soon. Paper mache takes time to dry.

Thank you ma’am. This is not for Halloween actually, but thank you for the advice.

Terrible you should be ashamed

can you please explain the step 2? Its pretty unclear to me.

Looooove the simplicity! This could be an easy base for pretty much anything that you could imagine! Thanks Monica, great idea! Would love to see the finished peice!

Jonni I love Erika Takacs!! I love her sculpture “Fledgeling” it’s my favorite!

I just saw a mask made by Erika Takacs – she doesn’t say how it was made, but it’s quite lovely, and the finish is interesting.

Thanks Jonni, I actually didn’t finish it yet. That was an experiment, and it went exactly the way I thought it would. I’ll post the finished mask when its done.

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5 best recipes for paper mache pdf

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"5 best recipes for paper mache".

Includes Jonni’s famous Paper Mache Clay recipe, and tips on choosing the right recipe for your next project.

make a paper mache

Mod Podge Paper Mache Bowls (So Easy!)

L earn how to make Mod Podge paper mache bowls the easy way! You can paint them any colors you like to match your decor. So simple!

Skills Required: None. You can make paper mache with no previous crafting skills. It’s a perfect idea for beginners, and even children.

I don’t know about you, but paper mache played a large part in my childhood art classes. I don’t know if it’s an 80s thing or if kids are still doing it today, but there was a lot of paste making with flour and water.

There was a lot of stirring a chunky liquid (because the flour never fully dissolved) and then slapping it onto newspaper. It was a simpler time.

Luckily, times have changed. Well it’s not that they’ve changed that much, but I’m here to show you how to make Mod Podge paper mache. So that you don’t have to mix the ingredients and deal with the chunky water. But why would you want to do that instead?

A typical paper mache glue recipe is one part flour and two parts water. Some people add school glue. And when you mix it? It’s kind of clumpy. And stays chunky in some areas. And doesn’t dry clear.

SO I use Mod Podge for my paper crafts !

Well, the nice thing about using Mod Podge to make paper mache is that you can use it directly from the bottle. There’s no mixing. The Podge can also be used to seal the paint on the newspaper (if you choose to paint).

Plus you don’t have to worry about yellowing or crusting or falling apart like you do with the flour and water combo. I highly recommend it for adult projects especially, if not for all of your projects.

But what if your Mod Podge is thick?

If your Mod Podge is thick, I do a few things. First I shake the bottle, then I wet the brush and dip it into the Podge (rather than just dipping a dry brush in).

If it’s super duper thick, you can pour some into a separate container and add a touch of water. You just want to thin it a bit, not dilute it completely.

Are you ready to try a paper mache project? It couldn’t be any easier. I’m going to show you how to make this craft at home below.

Gather These Supplies

  • Bowl (or balloon)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Mod Podge Satin (or Gloss or Matte)
  • Mod Podge Hard Coat (optional)
  • Acrylic paint – a few colors

Tips and Thoughts for This Project

You can use a bowl or a balloon as a base for your project. Some people like to blow up balloons and use them to create bowls like was done with this confetti bowl .

I personally like using another bowl for my template because it’s a stable working surface. But, it’s up to you.

Choose the Mod Podge formula of your dreams to make Mod Podge paper mache. I recommend Gloss, Matte, or Satin . . . but it really doesn’t matter because you’ll be painting over it.

You can also use tissue paper , wrapping paper , and other papers in place of newspaper. Whatever you have, give it a try.

It looks kind of cool with just the recycled newspaper look . . so paint it . . . or don’t! It’s up to you.

Time to enjoy your finished paper mache bowl. What do you think? What else are you going to try with this paper mache method?

Mod Podge Paper Mache

Learn how to use Mod Podge and newspaper to make paper mache! I'll show you how to make a simple bowl and then paint it.

  • Acrylic paint
  • Painter's tape (optional)

Instructions

  • Cover a clean, dry bowl in plastic wrap to protect it. Tape to the insides if necessary with a removable tape (like painter's tape).
  • Tear or cut several pages of newspaper into squares.
  • Place a layer of Mod Podge on the outside of the plastic wrap.
  • Lay down pieces of newspaper down on the surface of the bowl and smooth with a paintbrush covered in Mod Podge. Press the paper down and brush right over the top.
  • Continue overlapping newspaper pieces and applying with Mod Podge until the entire bowl is covered. Apply a second layer of newspaper for more rigidity. Wrinkles will form, but don't worry about those. It's part of the character.
  • Apply a layer of Mod Podge and let the entire bowl dry on your work surface, even overnight if you're in a humid area.
  • Once dry, remove the layer of plastic wrap from the bowl mold, releasing the bowl. You might have to twist a little bit. Remove the plastic wrap from the paper mache.
  • Use the bowl mold as a template to trim the edges of your newspaper bowl with scissors.
  • Paint the inside and outside of the bowl with acrylic paint if desired.
  • Paint a layer of Mod Podge on both the inside and outside of the bowl; let dry and apply a second coat. Let dry completely before using.

Costs vary for this project. I already had everything on hand.

Some of my plastic wrap stayed on the inside and I couldn't remove it (I used cheap plastic wrap). It just adds to the rigidity so no reason to remove it if it sticks.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

If you enjoyed these Mod Podge bowls, let me know in the comments! I’d also love for you to check out the following projects and posts:

  • Mod Podge Fabric Bowl in a Few Steps!
  • Letter Ornaments You Can Personalize for the Family
  • Easy DIY Leaf Bowl Made with Stiffy
  • These Boredom Busters for Kids Are So Much Fun
  • Crafts for Kids at Home: Ideas Using Supplies You Have!
  • Magazine Bowl You Can Make for Free!

The post Mod Podge Paper Mache Bowls (So Easy!) appeared first on Mod Podge Rocks .

Mod Podge paper mache bowls

Go Big Before Going Home: Finish the Year with a Collaborative Paper Mache Sculpture

paper mache hands

Note: Be sure to review all resources and preview all artists before determining if they are appropriate to share with your students.

As the school year winds down, keeping students engaged can be a challenge. The natural instinct is to keep things simple with one-day “make and take” projects for those shorter attention spans. However, consider going the other way! A collaborative, large-scale paper mache project could be the perfect way to close out your year. Keep reading to see how you can clean out your closet, use up leftover art supplies, and create a school community installation that will last for years to come!

paper mache castle

Take on a big project to make your job easier.

It may seem counterintuitive, but one big project can be easier than several smaller projects. Plus, working collaboratively helps everyone achieve something great with less work and more fun.

Let’s look at the benefits of doing a large, collaborative project at the end of the school year:

  • Strengthens your community of artists.
  • Demonstrates to administrators and students that you remain engaged.
  • Uses up scrap cardboard and miscellaneous materials.
  • Gets students excited to come to art class and see the latest developments in the project.
  • Saves time on prep and planning so you can tackle grading, generate next year’s supply order , and catch your breath!
  • Sets you up for success in the fall with classroom or school decor made and ready to hang.

student gluing paper

Break down a big project into small, manageable pieces.

At first, building a giant sculpture or collection of sculptures can feel overwhelming. As with all projects, the first step of choosing what to make can often be the hardest. Consider making a representation of your school’s mascot or pull subjects from major units throughout the year to activate prior learning. If you need more grand ideas to inspire your students and proactively decorate your room for the fall, construct giant art supplies and introduce Andy Warhol or Claes Oldenburg .

Regardless of the subject, follow these steps for success with your paper mache project:

  • Brainstorm as a class to determine your subject matter.
  • Gather materials such as scraps of cardboard, paper, newspaper, tape, and glue. Your students may surprise you with what they decide to upcycle !
  • Sketch the final sculpture so everyone can work toward the same goal.
  • Build an armature out of cardboard, wire, or thin scrap wood.
  • Cover the form in paper mache .
  • Paint and/or glue found objects, fabric, and collage materials to add more details.
  • Display the finished work for students to enjoy now and see when they come back in the fall!

emptying glue bottles hack

Try these tips to get maximum results with minimal work.

One way to streamline the process is to have all of your classes work on the same project. Every class can simply build off the work of the class before them—like an art relay. This will speed up production and save you the hassle of clean-up and storage between classes. If one gigantic project seems unwieldy, try making a Pop Art collection. Show students works by Andy Warhol or Claes Oldenburg for inspiration and make one sculpture per table. Save yourself time and prep work by using the Exploring Pop Art Collection in FLEX Curriculum . It has lesson plans and student-friendly artist bios, videos, and assessments ready to go.

Try these tips to smooth out the paper mache process:

  • Dump the glue from old clogged and nearly empty glue bottles into a bucket and then add water for a 50/50 mix.
  • Crumple and twist your school’s butcher/bulletin board paper as an alternative to cardboard for an armature.
  • Use different colors for each layer of paper mache so you can easily see what areas still need covering.
  • Rip smaller pieces to wrap curvy, organic forms.
  • Dip, then wipe using the classic “scissor fingers” technique (below) to remove excess glue.
  • Allow students to choose tasks according to their preferences, if possible. For instance, some students love the sensory experience of glue-covered hands.
  • Place paper as a drop cloth to protect the table or floor from inevitable glue drips.
  • Recycle paper drop cloths at the end of the day as more paper mache paper!
  • Consider opportunities for students to have meaningful input. For example, each student can decorate a scale on a large dragon or design a custom brick for a huge castle.

A collaborative paper mache sculpture is a rewarding way to use up leftover materials, strengthen student bonds, and create a lasting installation to promote school spirit. Transform your classroom into a fun collaborative art studio and end the year on a high note. Just because a project is large-scale, does not mean it needs to be cumbersome to manage. Break the project down into smaller steps and use the pro tips above to streamline the process. Your next massive paper mache installation will provide you and your artists with smooth sailing to summer break!

What huge paper mache installation would transform your space?

How do you keep your students inspired during the final weeks of school?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.

make a paper mache

Kyle Wood, an elementary school art educator, is a current AOEU Writer. He strives to make the art classroom fun through gamification and enjoys creating art history podcasts.

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The Best Paper Mache Recipes and Projects

Kate Pullen is an accomplished artist and rubber stamping expert with over 15 years of professional crafting experience. She founded the website Away With The Pixels, a digital rubber stamping studio, and conducts craft workshops around the country.

Paper mache (or papier mache) is such a simple craft. Not only is it simple to do, it is also extremely low cost. However, you shouldn't underestimate what you can achieve using basic paper mache recipes and techniques. As well as using paper mache in layers to make objects, you can also use it as a clay. 

We've selected some of the most interesting and innovative recipes and projects to share with you, including tips for getting a smooth finish on the surface of your project. While this might not matter for some projects, if you want to decorate your surface with rubber stamps or finely detailed painting, you'll require a surface which is as smooth as possible to work on. read on for recipes and tutorials to get you started with paper mache.

Paper Mache No-Cook and Cooked Recipes

Learn how to make traditional paper mache using just flour and water (with a little extra salt, depending on where you live).

Go to the No-Cook Paper Mache Recipe Page

You will find a recipe and video tutorial here, showing how to make a cooked paper mache paste.  

Go to the Cooked Paper Mache Recipe Page

Once you have made your paper mache paste you can use it to make a variety of projects including a cute piñata. These instructions and video will get you started!

The Ultimate Paper Mache Recipes and Projects

The Ultimate Paper Mache site contains a wealth of information to get you started making paper mache objects and to help you take your skills on to the next level. You will find recipes along with lots of tips, tutorials, and videos to get you creating and finishing a variety of objects. In addition to traditional paper mache, you'll also find recipes for paper clay.

Go to Ultimate Paper Mache Site

Paper Clay Recipe

 Learn how to make paper clay using simple household ingredients. You could use the finished clay in a similar way to salt dough .

Go to Project Page

Papier Mache Hot Air Balloons

These cute hot air balloons are surprisingly simple to make, using just a balloon, paper mache, and a few embellishments. They would make a great way to add some decoration to a party or celebration.

Go to Project Page 

Glitter Paper Mache Cake Toppers

This tutorial shows how to create a glitter finish on a papier-mache object. While this project uses a ready-made papier mache object, you could use this technique to add a layer of glitter to your own finished papier mache items.

Wet Paper Embossing

 Here's a super simple way to emboss texture and patterns into wet paper. While this isn't as robust as paper mache or paper clay, it's a great way to make toppers for cards and scrapbook pages.

Paper Mache Unicorn

Ashley Hackshaw from Little Blue Boo shows how to make a paper mache animal head in this detailed step by step tutorial.

Make Papier Mache Hens

Molly Moo Crafts shows how to make these cute hen decorations using paper mache. You'll also find a free printable template to help you get the basic hen shape.

Make a Paper Mache Lampshade

Over on the Pretty Prudent website, we learn how to use simple paper mache techniques to create a modern looking lampshade. 

  Go to Project Page

Paper Mache Light Up Globes

These paper mache light globes are made using tissue paper. The tissue paper is transparent enough to let light through to make pretty light garland party decorations.

Paper Mache Bracelet

 This bracelet is made by layering pieces of paper which have been soaked in paper mache glue onto a card tube base. The instructions are short, however, the project is relatively self-explanatory.

Paper Mache Confetti Bowl

If you have scraps of decorative paper left over from other projects then how about upcycling them into a pretty and useful bowl. This project uses paper mache techniques, however with a twist!

Flower Paper Mache Bowl

OK, so this tutorial isn't in English, however, there are lots of photos which will make this tutorial easy to follow, particularly if you have read some of the tutorials explaining how to make paper mache objects.

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2024 Graduation Congrats Fillable Cardboard Letter Paper Mache Sweet Charcuterie Board Treat Tray (Grad)

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2024 Graduation Congrats Fillable Cardboard Letter Paper Mache Sweet Charcuterie Board Treat Tray (Grad)

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Make Paper Mache

    Step 4: Add a layer of paper mache to the bowl. Dip a strip of newspaper into the paper mache mixture, saturating it completely. Slide the paper through your fingers to remove the excess paste. Place the paper strip on the covered bowl, smoothing it down with your fingers. Continue adding coated strips of newspaper to the bowl, overlapping them ...

  2. How to Create Papier Mâché: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

    Glue mixture: Pour 2 parts white glue and one part water into a mixing bowl. These quantities can be changed to suit the size of your project. Or, if you have a stronger bonding glue, 1 part white glue and 1 part water will do the trick. [3] X Research source. Flour mixture: Combine 1 part flour with 1 part water.

  3. How to Make Paper Mache

    Step 2: Make Your Paper Mache. Paper mache clay: Paper mache paste: Paste with no flour (and no mold!): Make paper mache with glue: Step 3: Apply the paste or paper mache clay to your form. Applying paper mache clay: Applying paper strips and paste: Step 4: Let your paper mache get dry all the way through.

  4. How to Make Paper Mache

    Discover how easy it is to create amazing paper mache works of art. Start by deciding what you want to make—the possibilities are almost limitless with paper mache. Two of the more popular items to make are a pinata and volcano.When you know what you want to make, then create the base or form for your project.

  5. DIY Paper Mache: Techniques and How to Make Paper Mache

    Tear your paper into small (around 1/2 inch is ideal) pieces. Place the pieces into a mixing bowl. Add two cups of boiling water to the paper, stirring in order to ensure that all the pieces are saturated. Let the mixture cool. Use a blender to smooth the mixture into a pulp.

  6. Paper Mache Beginner's Guide (Easy!)

    How to Paint Paper Mache. Make certain that the surface is dust free and completely dry before you paint. Also be sure that the paper mache layers are not loose or uneven before painting. If there are loose pieces, just put a dab of white glue to hold it down. Painting with acrylic paint and a paintbrush is the preferred method of painting on ...

  7. How to Make Paper Mache (Step-by-Step)

    Newspaper is thicker and so, tear it into much smaller pieces. Next, pour boiling water over the paper and let it sit for at least 2 hours (overnight if you used newspaper). The hot water will break down cellulose and turn your paper into pliable pulp. Drain the pulp into a cheesecloth and squeeze the excess water out.

  8. How to Make Paper Mache, Made Easy for Beginners

    Homemade: 1:1 (1 cup of flour to 1 cup water, or 1 part flour to 1 part water) Wallpaper: 1:1 (1 part wallpaper glue to 1 part water) Next, whisk the mache paste recipe using your paintbrush or a spoon until you reach a smooth consistency. Adjust the quantities if needed.

  9. The Ultimate Guide to Paper Mache for Beginners

    Combine flour/glue and water into the bowl and mix until desired consistency. When you begin to make your paper mache mixture, you will combine your two ingredients in a bowl until it reaches the desired consistency. If the mixture is thick, you add water. If the mixture is thin, you add flour or glue.

  10. A Beginner's Guide to Papier Mache

    4. Let it dry: Allow your creation to dry completely. This may take a few hours or even a couple of days, depending on the size and thickness of your project. 5. Decorate and finish: Once your papier mache is fully dry, you can paint, varnish, or decorate it as you wish. Get creative and let your imagination run wild!

  11. Fast Easy Paper Mache Recipe

    Here is the simple way to make great paper mache in about 2 minutes. Lots of Paper mache projects on my website:http://www.stormthecastle.comAbout my Channel...

  12. Paper Mache Recipes

    Paper mache paste is easy to make, and it doesn't really need a recipe. The most important tip is to use hot water (from the tap, not boiling) to make a nice smooth paste. Ingredients for easy paper mache paste: Flour; Hot Water from the Tap; To make the paste, just pour some white flour in a bowl. Add hot water gradually until you have a ...

  13. Paper Mache Projects and Recipes for the Whole Family

    Paper mache is a composite material involving paper pieces or pulp and originates from China. The Chinese would make helmets toughened with layers of lacquer while the Americans made paper boats. Today, paper mache is a fun craft that's appropriate for all ages and is even included in strategy video games like The Escapists .

  14. How to Make Papier-Mache Base Forms and Molds

    The papier-mâché paste is a simple mixture of flour and water, and you can use many items found around your house to make molds and forms for your projects. It's a great way to recycle. Some of these items can be used as bases for the papier-mâché object, while others can be used to add specific details to the project.

  15. How to make Paper Mache Paste from Flour

    This really is one of the easiest and least messy DIY Paper Mache Recipes! Mix one part flour, with two parts water. Pour the water in gradually and keep stirring. Try and remove as many lumps as possible. Pop into the microwave at full blast for 30-40 seconds (remember microwaves do vary, so add it for less if need be).

  16. Make a Paper Mache Bird (Beginner Tutorial)

    Make paste and tear up paper. Using a long strip of paper dipped in paste, wrap each bird leg starting just above the toes, all the way to the top of the leg. Then papier-mâché the beak and the unattached parts of the wings. Wrap the paper around the wing, all the way up to where it is glued down.

  17. How To Make Paper Mache With Glue

    Transfer the pot to the flame and let the water boil for some time. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup cold water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. To make a thin paste, thoroughly combine them. Next, add the flour mixture to the boiling water and stir for 5 minutes.

  18. How To Make An Easy Paper Maché Piñata

    If using a balloon, blow it up to the desired size and place in a bowl. Dip the whole strip of newspaper into the flour mixture. Pull it out while keeping it flat. This allows the edge of the bowl to take some of the excess paper mache off. You can also use your fingers to take extra goop off.

  19. Art for kids: How to make a paper mache

    Tutorial guide video to learn how to make a paper mache in a simple wayPaper mache is easy to make and fun to sculpt withA great way to recycle paper that is...

  20. How to Make a Papier-Mache Mask

    Full Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLALQuK1NDrgsMg5k61zI_J2ihyHouOSY--Watch more Paper Crafts videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/180137...

  21. How to Make Papier-Mache Bowls

    Adhere Newspaper Strips to Bowls With Paste. Dip one strip of newspaper at a time into the flour mixture. Remove the excess glue by sliding the strip of paper between your fingers, then paste it on the foil-covered bowl. Criss-cross the strips until most of the bowl is covered. Then reinforce the strips by encircling the bowl with horizontal ...

  22. How to Make a Simple Paper Mache Mask

    1) cutting cardboard into the rough shape of a head. Simple Paper Mache Mask, Step 1. 2) build up the facial features (use a mirror as a reference) Simple Paper Mache Mask, Step 2. 3) dip paper strips into a bowl of water and layer it on form. 4) dip paper strips into flour and water paste and layer it on the water layer immediately.

  23. Papier-mâché

    Mardi Gras papier-mâché masks, Haiti. Papier-mâché (UK: / ˌ p æ p i eɪ ˈ m æ ʃ eɪ /, US: / ˌ p eɪ p ər m ə ˈ ʃ eɪ /; French: [papje mɑʃe]; lit. ' chewed paper '), frequently written as paper mache, is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, and bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

  24. Mod Podge Paper Mache Bowls (So Easy!)

    Remove the plastic wrap from the paper mache. Use the bowl mold as a template to trim the edges of your newspaper bowl with scissors. Paint the inside and outside of the bowl with acrylic paint if ...

  25. Go Big Before Going Home: Finish the Year with a Collaborative Paper

    Place paper as a drop cloth to protect the table or floor from inevitable glue drips. Recycle paper drop cloths at the end of the day as more paper mache paper! Consider opportunities for students to have meaningful input. For example, each student can decorate a scale on a large dragon or design a custom brick for a huge castle.

  26. The Best Paper Mache Recipes

    Papier Mache Hot Air Balloons. Martha Stewart (marthastewart.com) These cute hot air balloons are surprisingly simple to make, using just a balloon, paper mache, and a few embellishments. They would make a great way to add some decoration to a party or celebration. Go to Project Page.

  27. HOW TO MAKE PAPER MACHE GECKO EP1

    HOW TO MAKE PAPER MACHE GECKO : CLAY BY Reuse Recycle : Paper Mache Clay Recipe Craft Basics-The Easy Original Recipe-----...

  28. 2024 Graduation Congrats Fillable Cardboard Letter Paper Mache Sweet

    WENPACK 12" Cardboard Letter Shaped Fillable Paper Mache Chocolate Covered Strawberry Decorative Gift Box TrayWith Clear Lid (White, A) 4.5 out of 5 stars 678 1 offer from $20.98