Paper mache is a craft that goes in and out of popularity, despite the fact it is one of the easiest and most versatile crafts. Using paper mache you can make nearly anything. Do you need a piñata for a birthday party but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Make one with paper mache.
There is no right or wrong way to do paper mache. One recipe for the glue isn’t any better than the others, so you’ll want to find one you’re comfortable with and stick with it. Here are two of the simpler recipes to try.
No cook glue is simply made with flour and water. The ratio is one part flour to two parts water. If you don’t like the smell, add a drop or two of an essential oil. Adding a tablespoon or two of salt to the mixture will help prevent mold. Unused glue can be covered and placed in the refrigerator for a few days.
Cooked glue is a little harder to make but produces a glue with a smoother consistency. The ratio of flour to water is different: one part flour to five parts water. Mix together one part flour with one part warm water, beating until all the lumps are gone. Then bring four cups of water to boil in a pot. When the water begins boiling, slowly add the 1:1 flour and water mixture and mix well. Allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes. This will also keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
Here are a couple of creative paper mache projects
To create a paper mache piñata, start with a large balloon. Blow it up the size you want and then tape crumpled paper to the balloon to create the shape you want. Dip strips of newspaper into the glue and squeegee off the excess. Lay the glued strips over the form until it is completely covered. When the piñata is completely dry, cut a hole large enough to remove the balloon and add candy. You’ll also want to carefully put a hanger of some type on it which will allow it to be hung. Paint the piñata, fill it, and then hang it up. Then watch the kids at the party destroy your hard work.
Knowing how to do paper mache is also good for creating science projects such as a working volcano. Create a form using chicken wire wrapped around a soda bottle which has been placed on a wooden base. Use paper mache to cover the volcano and allow it to dry completely. Paint it, add rocks or sticks to represent boulders and trees, and then place baking soda into the bottle. Mix red food coloring with vinegar and then when it’s time for the volcano to erupt pour the vinegar into the baking soda.
Do you need props for a play? Make them with paper mache. Do you want decorations for your home? Some of them can be made with paper mache. Look through your public library or on the internet to get more ideas of what is possible with a little paper, flour, water, and paint.
There’s no end to the things you can create with paper mache. It can be a fun, messy project for the kids, or something you yourself do. It is also an inexpensive way to be creative, it re-purposes those old newspapers, and who doesn’t like to get a little messy every so often?
Have fun being creative!
Here are some books to for more paper mache projects: