Once you find out how easy it is to work with papier-mâché, you will wonder why it took you so long to give it a try. Plus, it is so fun to do!
In this article, we will show you how you can make papier-mâché products in your own home, using simple materials that you probably already own.
So, let’s get started!
What Is Papier-Mâché?
With the use of newspaper, paste, and other components, a multitude of sculptures can be made using the renowned construction process known as papier-mâché, or paper mache.
As a result of the material's consistency and appearance, the technique is named after the French word for 'chewed paper'.
Throughout the creation of papier-mâché, substances are layered onto a plain surface while being dampened.
As the material sets, the surface layer solidifies and serves as a binding material thanks to the solution used to saturate it.
Afterwards, paint and decorations can be applied to the exterior.
For its accessibility and usefulness, this craft skill, which is centuries old, is highly regarded.
In essence, you only need recycled paper and a basic paste to make sturdy products like gift boxes, centerpieces, and much more.
How To Make Papier-Mâché
Now that you know what papier-mâché is for, it is time to find out how you can make your own structures at home.
The process is incredibly easily, providing that you already have all the materials and tools you require.
If you don’t have them already, go out and grab them so that you can start crafting!
- Papier-mâché paste.
- Recycled paper/newspaper.
- A structure to apply the papier-mâché onto.
Once you have gathered all your materials and tools, you can begin creating your structure.
Step 1: Make Your Papier-Mâché Paste
The first step is to create the papier-mâché paste. There are many different types of pastes you can make, but we are going to start by making the simplest form.
All you need is some flour and water.
Grab the bowl, and add 1 part flour and 2 parts water. Use the whisk, and stir the two ingredients together until it has become a completely smooth paste.
If the mixture is too watery, add some more flour. If the paste is too thick, add some more water.
Once you have reached the desired consistency, you can use the paste right away.
Step 2: Tear Up The Newspaper
Next, you will need to tear up the newspaper into small, even(ish) strips. Ideally, these strips should be 1-2 inches wide.
The length will depend on how large your structure is.
You may think about cutting it up with a pair of scissors, but trust us, you don’t want to do that.
By tearing the newspaper with your hands, you will create rugged sides which will attach easier to the structure.
Once you have ripped up enough strips, place them to the side, or put them in a container or a bowl to keep them safe.
You don’t want them getting wet before applying them to the paste, as the paper will become mushy and unusable.
Step 3: Apply The Paste To The Newspaper Strips
Now that you have your paste and your newspaper strips ready, it is time to combine them to create papier-mâché.
Pick up one strip of paper, and dunk it into the paste. Make sure that the strip is fully saturated in the paste, but not too heavily that the paper breaks.
You just want to make sure that the paper is not dry.
Remember to only use one strip at a time. Don’t attempt to apply several at once, as this will create more of a mess.
Step 4: Apply The Newspaper Strips To Your Structure
Once you have covered your first newspaper strip with papier-mâché paste, you can apply it onto your structure.
Press the strip onto the structure, and, using your fingers, smooth it down so that there are no creases or ridges. The strip should be completely flat on your structure.
Then, repeat the process with the second strip of newspaper. Then, repeat with the third, and the fourth, and so on.
Continue repeating until you have completely covered the structure with the first layer of papier-mâché.
The strips do not have to be perfectly placed; you can layer them horizontally, vertically, or any way you need to, to ensure that the structure has been completely covered.
Note: If you have paste left over from the first layer, cover the bowl/container with cling film and place it in the fridge.
Step 5: Dry And Repeat
When you have completely covered the structure with paste-covered newspaper strips, it will be time to let it dry.
This will, likely, take around 24 hours to completely dry up and harden.
Once the structure has dried, you will need to repeat the first four steps to build up a second layer.
If you had paste leftover from the first layer, take it out of the fridge, and begin building up your second layer with more strips of newspaper.
Once the second layer has dried, start the third layer.
Then, the fourth. Continue adding as many layers as you need, until the structure is sturdy enough to finish.
When the final layer has dried, your papier-mâché product will be complete!
You can now grab some paints, glitter, or whatever else you want to decorate your finished product.
Papier-mâché is a really handy craft form that can be used to create so many different items.
The materials needed to create it are fairly easy to obtain, and are inexpensive to buy. In fact, you probably already have all the materials in your home.
The biggest issue when using papier-mâché for crafts is the time required to finish a product.
You will need to wait up to 24 hours between each layer, which means it will likely take around 3-4 days to fully complete your project.
However, the end result will 100% be worth it. This is a fun craft form for children and adults alike, and it couldn’t be easier to practice.
We hope you found this article helpful.