The ancient craft of making paper mache household objects and objects of art is practiced all over the world. By toddlers in kindergartens, by elderly in daycare centers, by artisans in craft workshops and artists in their amazing art studios. And, of course, at home, by moms with their kids having fun one Saturday afternoon.
Given the popularity of this craft, I suppose it is no wonder that I get asked from time to time: how to make paper mache?
How to Make Paper Mache
There are two ways to make paper mache craft:
a. using paper mache strips and layering these; or
b. creating a paper mache pulp to model with a mold.
The first recipe is so easy, that I think I could give the instructions in one sentence, but I’ll add a bit more detail here for clarity.
The second recipe I will leave for another post.
Paper Mache Ingredients for Easy Projects
1-2 cups of flour
1 cups of water
extra newspaper to protect
bowl with clean water
Easy Paper Mache Recipe Steps
- cut up your newspaper in long strips of even width
- put the flour in a metal bowl. Add the water while stirring till it becomes a paste
- slide the strips through the water and layer the wet strips over each other to create the desired shapes.
- to make a bowl, cover your favorite shaped kitchen bowl with gladwrap and use it as a mold.
- layer the wet strips over each other to create the desired shape.
- work in a circular motion
- when done, let the bowl dry in a warm dry location
- when dry, cut the top with a sharp knife into a smooth rim
- you may want to add a layer of paper covering the rim for a neat edge.
- let it dry again.
Enjoy the beautiful bowl you’ve created. Now you,re ready to sand your bowl and paint it with acrylics or gouache paint.
Tips for Successful Paper Mache Projects
- Start early, a lot earlier than you need the end result to be completed. If you start today, you can have several made, dried, sanded, painted and varnished even in time for Easter or Mother’s day gift giving.
- Have 1 extra newspaper to cover work area.
- Have some extra supplies: A j-cloth to soak up excess moisture on your bowl, and/or to handle an accident with the water bowl.
- I like having a little bowl of water to unmess my hands, but if you have a sink nearby, this is not necessary.
Materials for Painting
brush for gesso
smooth sand paper
old cloth to rub it on
Painting Your Paper Mache Bowl
- Steps to create the effects of the bowl in the picture here:
- Add two coats of gesso
- Let it dry in between
- Then I sanded it down, showing bits of grey from the newspaper below.
- Then, use a tiny tat of yellow ocher and rubbed it on with a cloth.
- Let it dry.
- Last, brush on some gold paint for sophistication.
Voila. A very simply made, but interesting bowl for the coffee table.