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Make Your Own papier Mache

You can make all kinds of things with papier mache! As it dries it hardens over whatever mold you form it on. We've made puppet heads (using small balloons as molds), pinatas, dolls, boxes, bowls, even pa pier mache houses (made in pieces and glued together). The final product can be painted, decoupage or decorated just about anyway you want.

To make the paste:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tb sp. sugar

  Mix together flour and cold water in a bowl. Add this mixture to the boiling water and allow it to return to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. As the mixture cools it will thicken as it does.

You can also just make a quickly paste by putting flour in a bowl and adding water until you have kind of a soupy paste.

If you're planning to make something you want to last for years and years, be aware that flour paste can get moldy, especially in humid environments. You might want to try using powdered wall papier non-porous adhesive (Note: please read warring on carton) mixed with water. It comes in milk carton type containers and you can find it anywhere wallpapier is sold.

Be sure to cover your work area with lots of newspapier or wax papier - pa pier mache can get very messy!

To make your shape:

Tear (don't cut) narrow strips of newspapier or newsprint. Narrower strips work best when using a rounded mold.. for flat or rectangular surfaces, larger strips are ok. Dip the strips into the paste, coating completely. As you lift the strip out, run it between your thumb and forefinger to squeeze out excess paste. Then drape the strip across your mold. Overlap strips slightly as you go - the torn edges will blend together and your final product will have a smoother finish. You may need more than one layer of papier. It's best to allow each layer to dry before putting another on - this means some projects could take several days!

Find out more about the history of papier-mache

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