Paper Mache Projects

Learn how to Paper Mache! If you think strips of newspaper over a balloon is what it is all about, it is time to discover the real art. Yes, you still use newspaper, but long gone are the days of simply covering a balloon and trying to make it look like something wonderful.

It is one of the best recycled craft ideas. You can use materials from your recycle container such as cereal boxes, pringles cans and plastic soap containers.

There are some great paste recipes for adding strength and durability. Click here to go to paste and craft recipes

It is always a good idea to seal your completed project to keep moisture out. A good sealer is urethane. If it is a paper mache project that will remain indoors, a water based sealer will do.

One of my very first projects was when I was about twelve years old. It was a big giant clown head, and yes, it was done over a really big balloon.

I hope you are ready to try Paper Mache without a balloon. You still use newspaper strips, and flour and water paste, but there are way better ideas for what to use for a form.

First some tips before I get down to the more detailed instructions. Yes, it can be messy, but it is an easy, inexpensive and fun craft project. My biggest problem is having patience. I'm not really very patient, and paper mache must have enough drying time in between layers.

I have discovered the secret though. Multitasking is the best way to handle it. While one thing is drying, I can start on something else. Depending on the humidity in your area will depend on how many things you will need to have going all at once. (if you are impatient that is)

At first, you may also have to have different types of crafts to work on. Otherwise, you may end up with a lot of wet, gooey stuff sitting there, still requiring you to wait for it to dry. Timing is everything. Of course, if you are a more patient person, that doesn't mind drying time, then by all means, do one project at a time.

Anyways, if you can't tell I am kind of making fun of myself. It is a big joke around here. You would not believe how many times I have heard my husband tell me to be patient. Let it dry. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Getting in a hurry does happen with pretty much everything I do. I get on a mission and drying time just shouldn't have to be in the equation, but of course it is. Not allowing proper drying time between layers will result in MOLD. You always MUST let it completely dry before continuing on. Here is more info on how to tell when it is dry and how long it takes.

When I say layers, you actually do three to four layers at a time, (unless specified otherwise) and then let it dry. Repeat until you have seven to nine layers. Depending on the size of what you are doing will sometimes dictate how many layers. Something larger is going to need more layers to support itself. It also will depend on what your underneath support structure consists of.

Paper Mache Improved Tutorials:

Start by deciding what you are going to use for a form. Sometimes this requires you to do some construction before you start to do the paper mache. A good base to work on, makes this craft project go much better. Here is an easy dragonfly to start with.

dragonfly-how-to


Say "I Love You" with this one of a kind homemade heart.

Make it using water bottles for the form. Cover with newspaper and tissue paper.


heart-from-paper-mache

 

Make this Giant Skull for a Halloween Prop. Use paper mache over a cardboard base.

Add a light in the back and the eyes will glow. You can also attach a hose to a fogger and have the fog coming out his mouth.

giant-skull


It was only you, from the very start, so here it is, the Key to My Heart.

You can make this large, antique looking skeleton key, using these instructions.  

giant-key

Make this paper mache bowl and keep your yarn, tangle free.

There is also an easier version just for kids.


Bet you haven't seen a papermache project like this one.

This German beer stein is a flower vase.

Flowers need water, paper doesn't like water. There is a secret, but easy way to hold the water.

Find out how to make it!


This paper mache how to includes instructions and also some interesting facts about scorpions.


paper-mache-scorpion



Searching for paper mache ideas? How about this? It's a fire hydrant with secret compartments that will store dog treats, a brush and a leash.

paper-mache-fire-hydrant

 

This easy paper mache pumpkin is made using a plastic bag form. Make it the size you want by using more or less stuffing.

make-a-halloween-pumpkin

Make your own rocks, stack them up and build an inukshuk.

Great school project, for anyone that is studying the Inuit culture.

Easier than packing real rocks     in your backpack, to take along for show and tell!

how-to-make-an-inukshuk

There are many options, besides the well known balloon method. Even so, sometimes, using a balloon still works too. It was a good option for making the pirate pinata.

pirate-pinata

Do you have a room in your house that is decorated in a beach theme?

This seahorse would be right at home.

Add some detail and make it quite realistic or simplify it for a good, kids project.

This doesn't require any clay, just newspaper and paste.

seahorse craft

A form can be built with heavy cardboard, crumpled tin foil, or even plastic bags stuffed with paper from the paper shredder.

The form for this Paper Mache snowman craft is made using plastic bags and shredded paper.

snowman-from-paper-mache

Here is a spider craft that doesn't require a lot of supplies.

Make this spider as creepy as you wish. Add fangs to make him really scary looking. Leave them off for a more child friendly version.


spider-from-paper-mache


How to make your very own Unicorn Pinata!

Instructions with LOTS of photos to guide you.


Make a witches cauldron that glows in the dark.

What is that green goo the witch is cooking up?

witches-cauldron

Whenever I use a balloon, I have visions of it popping while the paper mache is still wet, and flinging it everywhere. Wouldn't that make a mess!? So far, I have been lucky and that hasn't happened to me, but I do wonder if it has ever happened to anyone else.

Mix your paste into a plastic margarine or similar container. Tear newspaper into strips about 3 inches wide and about 8 inches long. If you are doing a big project, rip the newspaper strips wider. You can't get too carried away though or you won't be able to handle it once you get the glue on. If the paper isn't tearing well, try ripping it in the other direction. Believe it or not, there is a difference.

Dip the newspaper in the paste and with a finger on each side, pull down the length of the paper to remove excess paste. I am a dipper but I am familiar with the techniques of a well respected artist that says that is a no, no. Shh.. don't tell. Oh, am I going to be in trouble, if he finds out! (Not really!) I completely understand why. You don't want too much paste, left on the newspaper. It will be too globby and won't dry properly, then it will mold. Yuck! Hence, the don't dip opinion, which I really do respect. Dan the Monster Man is the best paper mache artist out there. Check out the link to his amazing site: http://papermacheblog.com/

Gooey-hands-from-paste

Some people may find dipping difficult, especially small children. An alternative method, is to apply the paste with a paint brush or with your hands. Your choice. Just make sure you don't use too much paste. If you find that your craft project is getting too gooey, try applying a layer of newspaper over it, that doesn't have paste on it.

Clyde was a camel that I made for an Egyptian themed halloween display. It was a really large paper mache project. For this, I mixed up large batches of paper mache paste and ripped the newspaper strips quite wide. I also mixed the paste in a plastic dish pan and used a mixer.

If you do this, don't do what I did... I dropped the mixer in the dish pan of paste. Yuck. What a mess that made. Would you believe I dug it out, wiped it off and it still runs? It is a cheap little black and decker and I am still using it.

Since I am running out of room, because of my halloween decorating obsession, I decided to take Clyde the paper mache camel, one of my largest props and redo it for the next years change in theme. So, the next year the camel was turned into a dragon. It took quite a lot of extensive revamping, but I was able to maintain the basic structure. This saved a lot of time.

He is such a nice dragon, I can't see him morphing into anything else now, after his transformation.

camel-from-paper-mache

Here is Clyde the camel with his skinny little legs!


dragon-from-paper-mache

The camel transformed into a dragon.



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