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How to Paper Mâché

August 8, 2008


This is a video on how to take off the excess paper mâché mixture from the newspaper when it is dipped into the mixture. Taking off the excess mixture will allow each layer of the paper mâché to dry more quickly.

1 1⁄2 cup flour
1 cup water
white tissue paper (optional)
structure to cover
permanent marker

Cover the area you’ll be working in with newspapers to make clean up easier. Cut or rip the newspaper into strips. You’ll want them to be about 5″ by 1″. They don’t have to be exact, just not too big because it makes it harder for small hands to work with the strips when they are covered in the paper mâché mixture.

To make up the paper mâché mixture, you’ll want a container that is easy to reach into and to clean up afterwards. You can use flour and water or liquid starch or fabric softener, all three do a great job.

If you use liquid starch or fabric softener, just pour it in a bowl and you’re ready to start.

Otherwise, mix the flour with the water. If you make it too runny, it will be harder for your child to work with and if it is really thick, it takes longer to dry and may become moldy. If you mix too much, you can cover it and put it in the fridge to use another day.

You’ll use the strips of newspaper that you dip in the paper mâché mixture to cover the structure. Dip the paper in the mixture then pull the strip through two fingers to take off the excess. Several layers of paper mâché are recommended to make it strong enough to hold the shape of the structure. Allow each layer to dry before adding another layer.

For the last layer, apply white tissue paper with paper mâché mixture. It gives a great base for painting and the newspaper print doesn’t show through. An alternative to the tissue paper is to just add another layer of paint. If you wish, you can use different color tissue paper to cover the structure instead of painting it. The effect is great. When you are using the tissue paper, don’t dip it in the paper mâché because it is too thin and it falls apart. Just place the tissue paper on the structure and dab the paper mâché mixture on it with your fingers so it adheres to the structure.

When it is completely dry, have your child paint the object anyway he would like, adding details with a permanent marker.

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