The term papier mâché
(pronounced póp-ee-ay mash-áy) comes from the French
phrase meaning "chewed paper." You can use
papier mâché to make piñatas, masks, jewelry, and lots
of other crafts. Papier mâché is made from newspapers
and paste. Projects are easy to make, but can take several
days to complete, so be sure to allow enough time.
Use these instructions
to make your own papier mâché:
Alert! This activity can be
messy. Always cover your work area, including the
floor, with newspapers before beginning. Wear old clothes.
And check with a parent or other adult before using
The basic method for making papier mâché
objects is layering. The layering method involves pasting
layers of paper pieces over a basic shape to make such
objects as containers and masks.
What you'll need:
- large bowl
- plastic cup
- white household glue
- objects to use as a mold (suggestions:
paper or plastic bowl, balloon, shoe box, toilet paper
and paper towel rolls, plastic eggs, paper cups, foam
balls, empty plastic bottles, etc.)
1. First, decide what object you would
like to make, and find or build a mold that you can
use as a base. If the shape is to be removed from the
papier mâché after drying, cover it with petroleum jelly
to make it easier to remove.
2. Now, dilute two parts of white household
glue with one part water in a plastic cup.
3. Tear several sheets of newspaper into
small pieces. Put them in a bowl and moisten them with
4. Now cover your mold with pieces of
damp paper, overlapping them as you go. Using a big
paint brush, brush the layer with your diluted glue.
5. Continue building layer upon layer
until the object is of desired thickness. You can "sculpt"
your object by making the layers thicker in some places
to form the desired shape. If you intend to remove the
object from the mold, be sure not to close up the opening,
or you will not be able to remove the mold.
6. Set your object on a cookie sheet
lined with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Allow object
to dry naturally away from direct heat.
7. Once your object is completely dry,
you may remove it from the mold if desired. Now decorate
your object using acrylic paints, glitter, tissue paper,
ribbon, yarn, or any other material. Have fun!