Make Paper Mache

by sheilamarie

Wondering how to paper mache? You can make paper mache with a few ingredients you have at home. Then you can paper mache a wide variety of crafts.

If you love crafts, you'll love paper mache! Easy and fun, this craft can be made into a wide variety of creative items, both useful and quirky.

Paper mache projects are great to do with kids.

Scroll down for some great projects, ideas, and recipes that you can share with children or even make for yourself.

Intro photo by Pixabay

How to Make Paper Mache

Easy Craft for Making Lots of Different Projects

Paper mache is one of those crafts that uses something we all have -- waste paper -- and makes it into a special creation. With paper mache, you can make ornaments, puppets, 3D school projects, contour maps, etc., etc., etc.

You are not limited very much when you make paper mache projects. Your imagination? Let it go wild. In fact one of my favorite things to make with this substance is wild animals. If you make a moldable paper mache, you can create a little animal and, after it's dry, paint it with colors like a realistic animal or bright like an animal whose colors express your imaginary dream animal.

Who says there's no such thing as a blue horse? My son once had an imaginary friend who was a horse named Pasty. What color was he, you ask? Why blue, of course!

Have You Ever Made Anything with Paper Mache?

What Treasures Have You Cooked Up?
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Yes! This is what I made:
sandyspider on 05/03/2012

I use to make many paper mache things as a child. So has my daughter. The last one I made was a piggy bank. The last one my daughter made was a mask.

katiem2 on 05/02/2012

Yes, my artsy daughters and I have made so many birthday party pinatas this is a great project.

Paper Mache Masks

Limited Only by Your Imagination
Animal Masks
Animal Masks

Great Starters: Choose Your Base Object

This Video Will Give You a Place to Start

Balloons Make Great Bases for Paper Mache

This Video Gives You Step by Step Directions on How to Do It

These Directions Are General for All Paper Mache Projects

The Videos and Books Give You More Specifics

Depending on what you are planning to make, choose your base. The base can be an ordinary box or a ceramic bowl or a balloon or any other item you want to recreate. If you want to make a sculpture of some kind, you can even use chicken wire or some other malleable material to make an armature and lay strips of paper mache on that.

Once you have decided on what to use for a base, making the item is quite simple.

Here are the basic ingredients you need:

base item 

paper mache paste: mix flour and water 1:1 or to give a gluey consistency

newspaper, torn in strips

vegetable oil spray

water based craft paint to cover the newspaper

whatever else you need to decorate your final project: glitter glue, sequins, buttons, fancy papers or fabrics, etc.

Ripping the paper in strips is something fun that kids can enjoy doing. You want the final strips to be fairly even and maybe not too long so they are easier to work with and will lie flat against the base.

It's important to gather all necessary ingredients together before you begin -- that is, the newspaper strips, the paste, the base, and the oil spray. This is because once you get going, things will get messy, including your hands, and you don't want to have to keep running off to wash your hands in order to rip more newspaper, for instance.

The decorations and paint, however, you won't need until the next day because your project will need to dry for about 24 hours before you can decorate it. You can wait to gather those items.

Cover the item you want to use as your base, or mold, with vegetable oil spray. This is to keep the paper mache from sticking to the mold and maybe ripping when you try to remove the mold. If you don't have any oil spray on hand, you can substitute something else. You could substitute liquid oil or margarine, though I think the spray is easier and less messy. I have heard of some people using vaseline instead. Again, that can be the messy way to go. Any of these things will work however, as the goal is to be able to remove the mold once the paper mache has dried.

Then you simply dip the paper strips into the paste and lay them on the base. Be sure to smooth each piece so you don't end up with air bubbles and a rough surface. After you have laid down one layer, add another. If you are careful and place only one layer at a time, you will have a more even final project.

If you find you are using too much paste and it's beginning to ooze, place a strip on top without putting it into the paste. It will absorb the excess.

Again, how many layers you need depends upon what you are making and how sturdy it needs to be. The more layers you put on, the sturdier the item will be but the thicker it will be, too. You need to balance sturdiness with aesthetics and think about the object's use.

When you have put on as many layers as you feel you need, put the object aside in a safe place and let it dry for 24 hours. 

Then you can decorate it the way you want. Most people start with painting it to cover the newspaper look. Then add whatever else you want. For boxes and bowls, some people like to cover the surface with modge podge, as it gives it a certain sheen.


Paper Mache : Mod Podge

Mod Podge Makes a Fine Last Coat for Your Paper Mache Creation
Mod Podge CS11245 8-Ounce Glue, Hard ...
$8.99  $7.26
Plaid Mod Podge Matte, 32-Ounce
Only $9.12
Paper Mache 3-Box Set: French Corner ...
Only $16.97

How to Make a Paper Mache Mask

Watch This Video and Learn How It's Done

Need Stuff for Decorating Your Mask?

Or a Ready-Made Form?

Here are some sequins to add to your mask. Fancy it up!


3 Assorted Sizes Rhinestones Sequins, 5mm 7mm & 8mm






Plastic Facial Form Mask - 5 x 7.5 x 2.5 Inches


If you'd prefer to use a form, here's an inexpensive one. You just need to spray it with oil and start covering with newspaper dipped in paste.

What are you most likely to make with paper mache?

How to Make a Pinata

Great Idea for a Birthday Party!

Thanks for Reading About Paper Mache

Ready to Try It?

I hope you are ready now to tackle making paper mache crafts yourself or with your kids. These videos have shown you that it's not as hard as it may at first seem to make great projects and crafts using paper mache.

You do need a little patience, but paper mache is a hands-on activity that can motivate kids to make all kinds of items, both useful and fanciful.

Have fun creating together!

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Updated: 06/01/2015, sheilamarie
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BrendaReeves on 05/05/2012

Great article. As a teacher, I made many paper mache projects with students. I'll have to do this one with my grandchildren.

sandyspider on 05/03/2012

Nice information about paper mache.

sheilamarie on 05/02/2012

@kinworm: What a great idea! Trees and mushrooms from paper mache look great! I'd love to see yours -- another wizzle idea?
@katiem2: Pinatas are one of the things that are fun to make with paper mache. I've just added a video tutorial above with instructions. It sounds as if you've had a lot of fun with your kids and paper mache!

katiem2 on 05/02/2012

Great advice, I've attempted many paper mache pinatas before I got it right. Oh I wish I had found this tutorial sooner. But I'm here now and still learned a great many helpful tips solving the difficulties I've experienced with paper mache projects. This is a fun way to create birthday party pinata, the kids love getting their hands all gooey and create their own work of art. My daughter makes mask, awesome keepsakes. I only wish I knew of a nice way to frame and mount them so they are better preserved and safe from damage.

Marie on 05/02/2012

I do love paper mache, Sheila. It's a brilliant paper craft and very inexpensive too. One of my fave things is to construct 'trees' and 'mushrooms' from paper - you can then paint over them and use for displays.

sheilamarie on 05/01/2012

You're right, Samsara. It's so easy and you don't need a lot of expensive materials to make something pretty nice. An old box and ripped up newspaper and a little flour -- not too hard to get a hold of. Kids love to make gifts out of junk.

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