Papier-mâché is a French term meaning "chewed up paper." It is also a term used to describe a crafting material made up of paper pulp or strips and paste. Often called paper mache in the United States, it is a versatile material that can be used by children or adults to create simple or complex items.
To create a paper mache object, you can either cover a form with strips or fill a form with pulp. Once the paper mache dries, it can be removed and painted or decorated.
This art form has been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians created paper mache masks, while Persians created bowls and trays and Europeans used decorative paper mache in place of painted wood or plaster.
While it is certainly possible to purchase paper mache paste, many people prefer to make their own. By making your own paste, you can control the quantity, quality, and effect you create. You can also have a lot of fun with your kids as you experiment with different recipes for making glop.
Recipes for Paper Mache Paste
Try these recipes, or experiment with a variety of materials to create your own paste. Consider the no-cook recipe if you're working with young children, as they can get hands-on in the process. If you're working with older, craftier, children, you may want to try the resin paper option as it will allow your children to create a permanent piece of artwork that they can keep for a long time.
- No-Cook Paste Recipe: This simple recipe is made entirely with ingredients and tools you already have in your kitchen cupboard. Flour, water, a bowl, and a whisk are all you need.
- Cooked Paste Recipe: This paste recipe is very similar to the no-cook but it is supposed to be a little stronger and is usually a little smoother. Of course, it takes a little more time to cook—and your little ones will have to wait for the paste to cool.
- Resin Paper Mache Paste Recipe: You will have to go shopping to buy resin powder to make this paste. It will give your finished paper mache project a hard finish and will also make your finished projects more durable.
If you prefer to experiment, try working with:
- Liquid starch (undiluted).
- Wallpaper paste. Follow the directions from the manufacturer to mix this paste.
- White glue mixed with a bit of water. Mix using about 1 part water with 2 to 3 parts glue. You can use this mixture for a small project.
Paper Mache Pulp Recipes
For small items, intricate details, and even some sculpting, try using one of these paper mache pulp recipes. These are more like a thin clay and should be used as a final layer simply by spreading in on your project. These are not used as glue, but in place of it:
You can also collect your dryer lint and similarly use it to make paper mache pulp. With a little experimentation, you will find your favorite recipe in no time.