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How to Make Paper Mache

Easy paper mache recipe using flour and water

Learn how to make paper mache with our simple step by step photo and video tutorials! This paper mache recipe is SO EASY to make, using only 2 pantry ingredients.

Make super strong and durable paper mache, and create fun (and inexpensive!) decorations like paper mache bowls, paper mache pumpkins, or even a paper mache pinata! It’s a really fun kids craft, and a great art activity for school or summer camp.

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How to Make Paper Mache

Use creativity and this easy paper mache recipe to create a beautiful work of art! Paper mache is a fun craft for both kids and adults.

Author: Debbie Chapman

Check Out The Video Tutorial:

Instructions:

Step 1: Find what you need

  • Gather your supplies.

Step 2: Rip strips of newspaper & cover a bowl

  • Rip strips of newspaper into pieces to about 1 inch wide and between 4 to 6 inches long.Make sure you rip with the grain of the newspaper — it’ll result in more even strips.
  • Cover the bottom of a bowl with plastic wrap, tucking the edges of plastic inside the rim.You can also tape the plastic wrap inside the bowl to keep it in place.

Step 3: Mix the paper mache recipe

Step 4: Add a layer of paper mache to the bowl

Step 5: Add more layers of paper mache

  • Add a second layer of paper mache to the bowl. Allow to dry again.Then repeat for a third layer, again allowing it to dry.

Step 6: Trim the edge of the bowl

Step 7: Paint the paper mache bowl

Helpful Tips:

  1. Make sure the paper mache is completely dry before adding another layer, or else your paper mache bowl might get moldy.
  2. You can cover the paper mache glue and store it in the fridge for 1 – 2 days. After that, dispose of the mixture and make a new batch.

Easy step by step instructions for how to make paper mache

Is paper mache better with glue or flour?

We like using flour to make our paper mache mixture. It’s a classic method that works well, and it’s less expensive than using glue to make paper mache paste. Plus flour is natural and biodegradable.

Glue creates a strong paper mache recipe, but it’s also a lot more messy and sticky to work with. The clean-up with glue is also a bit more difficult.

What materials do I need for paper mache?

You only need 2 simple ingredients — flour and water — to make the paper mache paste. You’ll also need newspaper (or another type of paper) to form your paper mache object.

Other than the main ingredients, you’ll need a mixing bowl and a whisk to make the glue. And then some kind of form to make your paper mache object. We used a bowl here, but you can also use a balloon, water bottles, cardboard, etc.

Colourful paper mache bowls on a wood background

How to make paper mache without newspaper?

Newspaper is the most commonly used paper for paper mache, but a lot of newspapers are only online these days. We used newsprint flyers that were delivered to our house, but if you don’t have newsprint, there are other options.

Some alternative types of paper are: paper towel, construction paper, lined school paper, tissue paper, or even blue shop towels.

How many layers for strong paper mache?

We generally recommend using 3 to 4 layers of paper mache. This will give you a strong and durable object without requiring a whole week of dry time.

The exact number of layers will depend on how thick your paper is. Thinner paper, like tissue paper, will require more layers than newspaper.

3 sizes of paper mache bowls painted red, yellow, and blue inside

What type of paint is best for covering paper mache?

You’ll get the best coverage on the newsprint if you use a primer or even thick white wall paint. Cheap dollar store paint tends to need a lot of coats to get good coverage.

You can find primer at the craft or hardware store. You can also use a good quality multi-surface acrylic paint from the craft store. The better quality the paint, the fewer coats you’ll need to cover the newsprint.

We used leftover white wall paint to paint our bowls white. And then regular acrylic paint from the craft store to paint the colours and designs.

What types of things can I make with paper mache?

The possibilities of what you can make with paper mache are almost endless! The bowls we made are super cute, but you can also make:

  • Pinata
  • Paper mache volcano
  • Pumpkin
  • Masks
  • Birds or other animals
  • Solar system planets
  • Hot air balloon

And more!

Easy paper mache recipe

Learn how to make paper mache items that will last for years to come! Making paper mache does take quite a bit of drying time, but it’s a really simple and fun process. Plus it’s easy enough for kids to make themselves!

The best recipe for paper mache

Here’s even more fun craft ideas:

Paper Mache Pinata

Paper mache balloon pinata

How to Make a Bouncy Ball

Bouncy ball DIY

How to Make Clay Mushrooms

Air dry clay mushrooms

Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!