Paper mache projects have been along for quite a while, offering little ones and adults alike a creative method of expressing one’s creativity and inspiration through a basic, simple process made from the simplest of crafting materials available. But have you ever wondered what is Papier-mâché and how to make it?
What is paper mache?
Paper mache consists of a simple composition of paper pulp or cut out pieces bound with a glue adhesive, starch found around in any kitchen or the classical wallpaper paste you can encounter in craft shops.
This composite substance dates back to 200 B.C China.
The Chinese under the ruling of the Han dynasty appeared to first use papier-mâché not long after they learned how to make paper. They employed the technique to make items such as warrior helmets, mirror cases, snuff boxes, or ceremonial masks.
Although today materials have evolved and the simple, modest glue and paper combination might seem outdated, paper mache remains a clever method of educating the young and provoking adults alike.
The simplest of materials can express the purest of art, where form, shape, color and texture merge into unique creations that can withstand the passing of time.
How to make paper mache crafts?
As all successful DIY projects do, paper mache projects require a minimum of preparation and a certain process to be followed. Here are the basic materials you will need to purchase before starting your paper mache project:
- pieces of paper, cut or ripped
- emulsion paint
STEP 1: Start with the basic paper strip
Depending on the size of your future creation, you will require certain pieces of paper to have for molding into shape.
You can use old newspapers for a retro feel or watercolor paper for more texture, it is all up to you and your artistic style.
STEP 2: Prepare your adhesive of choice
Here you can work with one of the following three options:
- Flour and water mix is at anyone’s disposal. Simply mix one part flour with one part water as you certainly did in kindergarten projects and stir well until a homogeneous paste has been obtained. Simple, right?
- Glue or PVA can be found in craft shops. Use two parts glue and one part water to obtain a fluid adhesive for your paper mache projects. Up the glue parts in the mixture if the project requires a stronger bond.
- Wallpaper paste is our third choice of paper mache adhesive and the strongest of them. Wallpaper does last for years on our walls with this mixture without peeling out, so we consider it pretty strong and appropriate for this category of DIY projects.
STEP 3: Prepare your working base and start molding
Paper mache is easier to create if a solid base is being utilized. Balloons or plastic owls are a great option, especially if you are DIY paper mache beginner. You can advance from here, creating your own bases for complex projects. Add multiple layers of paper pieces soaked in your chosen adhesive and let them dry thoroughly for a solid shape. In the end, when your project has the desired form simply use watercolor to add more details or a layer of lacquer for a glossy finish.
The world of paper mache is a vast one, limited only by your imagination and creativity. Now that we have learnt the basics of how to make paper mache, let’s dive in our chosen collection of paper mache projects meant to inspire and delight your senses.
Paper mache lamps
The paper mache technique is quite suitable to create pendant lights, as balloons or bowls can be used to shape the base. Use your hands to mold the edges into irregular lines for organic looking designs. You can then perforate the form to let the light peek through and diffuse into the atmosphere.
Paper mache figurines
In a world driven by consumerism, buying products dedicated to little ones has become a weekly routine. But why not replace the plastic bought everyday toys with lovely, handmade figurines born from your hands and the hands of your little one.
Transform the process of papier mache into a hobby you will both cherish and appreciate over the passing years.
Paper mache decor
Apart from paper mache projects involving your little ones, this technique can be put to good use in forming incredibly beautiful interior decor items, that will add a touch of uniqueness to your home.