Paper Mache Art

Paper Mache

We know it can be a bit messy,and some parents will cringe at what we are about to say but… paper mache is so much fun, the possibilities are endless, and you likely already have everything you need right in your home. Paper mache creates 3-dimensional projects by combining paper with a glue-like mixture and letting it dry into a hardened shell. Paper mache will ta the form of whatever mold you are using so you can create anything- masks, hot air balloons, bowls, or abstract designs. This week we used a balloon to create a jellyfish. We encourage you to research ways you can use even items (probably some right now in your recycling bin) to create the form you are going for. Embrace the mess and enjoy!

Materials:

  • Newspaper, computer paper, paper towel
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Glue
  • Salt
  • An object to cover- a bowl, balloon, bottle, aluminum foil formed into a shape or animal, etc…
  • Painting supplies
  • Decorative, multimedia embellishments

Directions:

  • Tear or cut newspaper into strips. Hint: use computer paper or paper towel for the outermost layer of strips. It makes painting it easier and takes a lot less paint.
  • Make the paper mache paste. There are many ways to do this. Here are my top 3:
  • ½ cup glue to ½ cup water
  • Cook method: 1-part flour to 5 parts water… boil 3 minutes and allow to cool.
  • Non-cook method: 1-part flour to 1-part water. Stir to smooth.

Tips: Add a few tablespoons of salt to your paper mache to keep mold away. Try adding cinnamon or a few drops of essential oils to give it a lovely smell.

  • If you are using an object to create a certain shape (such as a bowl) smear some Vaseline in a thin layer to the side you’ll be applying the strips to. This makes it a lot easier to remove from the mold once it has dried. Like in our case this week, ff you are using a balloon, then simply pop it to remove.
  • Dip your strips of paper into the mixture, lightly “squeegee” off the excess by running your fingers down the strip and apply to your form. Use your fingers or a paintbrush to smooth it down so that there aren’t any air pockets or gaps. I like to apply in a cross-hatch fashion and encourage a minimum of 3 layers. The more layers, the stronger it will be.

Allow to dry (this can take up to a few days), paint and decorate.