Paper mache is a fun craft for kids, and there are plenty of paper mache projects they can enjoy. Read here for great paper mache ideas.
With a little bit of imagination, you can paper mache just about anything. All you need is a base to cover, plenty of newspaper, and a bowl of glue. Depending on the size of the project, paper mache is something that can be done over several days, so it’s a great way to fill in the holidays or a wet weekend.
How to Paper Mache
No matter what your paper mache project is, the basic steps are the same. These basic guidelines will help make any paper mache project a success.
- To make a great paper mache project you firstly need a base to cover. You can take an existing base like a plate or bowl, or make your own versions using recycled materials such cardboard, wire netting, tins, balloons or empty packaging.To make a base in your desired shape, simply tape everything together with masking tape. It doesn’t have to look pretty at this stage; you just need your basic shape to be secure.
- To paper mache, start by dipping strips of newspaper into wallpaper paste, and laying them over the top of your base. Wallpaper paste can be bought in powder form from hardware shops, and you simply make up the paste following the directions on the back of the pack.
- As you start to cover your base in paper strips, gently smooth the paper flat to remove any air bubbles. Make sure you criss-cross and overlap your paper strips, so that each piece is sticking to another.
- Continue adding paper strips to your base until it is covered in at least 6 layers of paper. The more layers you have, the stronger the project will become. Finishing with one or two layers of white paper will make it easy to paint and decorate.
- Set the project aside to dry for at least 48 hours. (It may even take longer, depending on the size of the project.)
- Once dry, paint and decorate your project, and if you like, finish with a coat of varnish.
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Paper Mache Project Ideas
If you can stick paper to it, you can paper mache it – so the options for paper mache projects are literally endless. Here are some basic ideas to get you started, but with a little imagination you can turn these ideas, into your own unique pieces of art.
Tape a cardboard tube to a margarine lid, to make a cool candle holder. Stuff the tube with paper so that the candle can only go in a few inches, and then paper mache both the inside and out. You can make 3D designs on the candle stick by twisting paper into ‘sausages’ and taping them into place.
Chip and Dip Plate
Cut a piece of heavy cardboard into any shape you choose, and then tape a margarine container into the centre. Roll up sheets of newspaper and tape them around the edge of the cardboard, to form a lip on the plate.
Once the paper mache is complete, you won’t be able to spoon dip directly into the bowl, so make sure you use a container that can fit a whole dip container on the inside.
After you have painted your plate, finish it with a coat of varnish so that chippie crumbs can be easily wiped clean.
Make a cool pen holder by covering an old tin can with paper mache. You can turn the tin into anything you like, by taping boxes, tubes or cardboard cut outs to the tin. To make a 3D spotty design, tape on bottle caps before you start with your paper layers.
One of my favourite desk caddy ideas is to turn the tin into a funny face. You can paper mach on a huge nose and googly eyes, paint on a smiling mouth, and add sheepskin or wool for hair around the top.
Blow up a balloon to make a great pinata base. Cover the balloon with several layers of paper, leaving a small gap around the neck. Once the paper mache layers are completely dry, cut off the balloon tie so that the air gently escapes. You will be left with a big empty cavity which you can decorate, fill with lollies, and then bring to the party.
You can make just about any container into a paper mache money box, but one of the easiest bases to use is an empty tissue box. The slit is already created, and you can easily cut an escape flap in the bottom.
Plastic jars also make good money boxes. Cut a coin slot in the lid before you start to paper mache, making sure that it will remain big enough once you have overlapped the edges with paper. Cover the jar with paper mache too, but remember to leave the screw thread clear, so that the lid can still be screwed on and off.
Paper mache a glass jar to make a truly funky flower vase. The outside is obviously paper, but the inside remains glass so that it can hold water. It’s a great trick, and people find it hard to believe that paper mache can hold all that moisture!
Quick and Easy
Hunt around the house for recycled materials, and create some unique bases for these paper mache projects. Let your imagination go wild making a:
Cell Phone Cradle
Tooth Fairy Dish
Tissue Box Holder