How To: Make papier-mâché

Make papier-mâché

In elementary school, we all experienced the wonders of papier mâché, that wonderfully malleable mixture of paper and glue (or maybe paper, flour, and water). Once it hardens, it's a homemade work of art. And homemade papier mâché is art on the cheap, allowing your imagination to soar without breaking your budget.

You Will Need
* White flour
* Water
* Newsprint
* Skeletal structure
* Cooking oil
* Paints
* Paintbrush
* White glue (optional)
* Powdered wallpaper glue (optional)

Step 1: Make paste
Make papier-mache paste by mixing equal parts flour and water in a bowl, stirring the mixture with a spoon until it is smooth and soupy.

Substitute white glue for water for big projects, such as a volcano or large masks or figures.

Step 2: Tear newsprint
Tear newsprint into long, thin strips for round papier-mache project forms and wider strips for other shapes.

Step 3: Make form
Use inflated balloons, cardboard boxes, wire mesh, or any combination of rigid materials to make a skeleton or frame for your project.

Step 4: Oil the form
Lightly oil the skeleton so you can easily remove it when the papier-mache dries.

Step 5: Dip strips into paste
Dip your newsprint strips into the paste, making sure each side gets thoroughly covered.

Step 6: Lay strips
Lay strips on the skeleton, overlapping them and smoothing them out with your fingers. Continue adding strips until the form is covered with at least three layers.

Use powdered wallpaper glue if you want to preserve your papier-mache project for many years.

Step 7: Allow to dry
Allow the project to dry completely, adding more layers if necessary. Carefully remove the skeleton after final layers have had time to dry.

Step 8: Paint
Paint your project using any type of paint you like and get ready to hear some oohhs and ahhs when you show off your original paper mache dolls, animals, and other creations.

Papier-mache models of the human body were used for study by medical students in the 1800s.

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