Paper Mache Recipe and Related Craft Projects

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Shown below is an easy paper mache recipe, along with several creative craft ideas and activities.

Paper mache (actually spelled "PAPIER MACHE") is a pasty substance that holds paper together.  

This kind of material has been used for everything from craft projects (like the box, ball, and house shown here), to sculptures and floats (like the gigantic cow shown here), to housewares (like maybe a vase or a fruit bowl). 

Paper Mache can even be used to build lightweight structures such as boats and household furniture. 


Paper Mache Recipe



To create your own Paper Mache Recipe, mix water and flour together until it reaches the consistency of heavy cream.


Cut or tear some thin pieces of paper (such as newspaper) into strips, and soak each piece in the paste until it is thoroughly wet.


Place the wet pieces (one at a time) onto the desired surface structure.


Cover the surface with a single layer of wet paper, and allow the creation to dry slowly at room temperature, before adding the next layer.  For strength and durability, add at least five layers of paper to the surface. 


The paper strips are sometimes placed on a skeleton of wire mesh over a structural frame.


You can also layer the paper over an object to create a cast in the shape of the object. For example, you can cover a balloon with paper mache. Then when the paper covering is dry, pop the balloon. The resulting hollow shape can be used to create a mask or a bowl or a vase or whatever else you can imagine.


Once dried, the shape can be cut, sanded, painted, or even waterproofed with a suitable water repellant shellac.

Other lightweight objects suitable for this technique are light bulbs and cardboard boxes.

In 1874, a man named Nathaniel Holmes Bishop traveled all the way from New York to Florida in a waterproofed paper canoe.

Papier-mâché panels were also used in the late 1800s to produce special lightweight domes for observatories.

These domes were constructed over a wooden or iron framework. The lightweight material could easily be rotated to position the telescope opening in any direction.

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