Handmade Paper & Papier-Mâché


Paper Mache Tiger

Max L Paper Tiger at MoIFA GALA

Handmade Paper Recipe

To create your own beautiful paper, use this set of detailed instructions from Paper Slurry. Alternately, if you're short on time or working with younger kids, paper-mâché is another great option.


Papier-Mâché Recipe

Using common ingredients most likely already in your kitchen, paper- mâché is a fun, creative (albeit a little messy) activity for kids of all ages. Make 3-dimensional projects by combining paper with a completely safe glue-like mixture and letting it dry into a hardened shell, then decorate. Use anything from a balloon to a bowl (you can even use your face!) to give paper-mâché its form.

Start by gathering these materials:

  • Newspaper, recycled paper, or paper towel
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Glue
  • Salt
  • An object to cover- a bowl, balloon, bottle, aluminum foil formed into a shape, for example
  • Painting supplies
  • Decorative embellishments like glitter, streamers, pompoms, etc.

Then follow these directions:

  • Tear or cut newspaper into strips. Hint: using recycled paper or paper towel for the outermost layer of strips makes painting easier.
  • Make the paper mâché paste using one of the following methods:
    • Mix ½ cup glue to ½ cup water.
    • Cook 1-part flour to 5 parts water then boil 3 minutes and cool.
    • Add 1-part flour to 1-part water then stir until smooth.
  • Allow to dry (this can take up to a few days).
  • Paint and decorate.

Use these helpful tips:

  • If you are using an object (such as a bowl) to create a certain shape, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the side on which you’ll be applying the strips. This makes it easier to remove from the dry paper-mâché mold. Balloons make the easiest mold, cover with paper strips and glue mixture, once dry, just give it a pop.
  • Dip your strips of paper into the mixture, lightly “squeegee” off the excess by running your fingers down the strip before applying to your form. Use your fingers or a paintbrush to smooth it down so that there aren’t any air pockets or gaps. Consider applying at least three layers in a cross-hatch fashion for added strength.

This recipe compliments of the Mystic Museum of Art can be found in its entirety at https://www.mysticmuseumofart.org/2020/08/paper-mache-art/. You can also find a wealth of paper-mâché recipes and information at UltimatePaperMache.com.