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Creative Paper Mache Ideas For A Family That Loves To Make Things

Nurture your creative side with these fun and easy paper mache projects that you and your family will love.

Maria Bailey · about 1 month ago

  • art

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Whether you call it papier-mâché (pa-pyey-mah-shey) or paper mache (pey-per-muh-shey), we can all agree on one thing: It’s a lot of fun!

What’s better than sinking your hands into a bowl full of sticky mess and creating, well, anything? From beautiful masks to decorative bowls, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

To get you started, we’ve listed some of our favorite paper mache ideas that are great for little fingers and grown-ups, too. These wonderful art projects will keep you and your family entertained for hours.

nemke / Getty Images

Materials And Tools Needed:

  • Paper or newspaper

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup of water

  • Salt (optional)

  • Paint

  • Balloons

  • Aluminum foil

  • Elastic bands

  • Glue

  • A mixing bowl

  • A regular bowl

  • A paint brush

  • A pair of scissors

  • A pair of scissors

andreusK / Getty Images

Prepare Your Ingredients

Before launching into your project, it’s best to prepare your paper mache ingredients first. It makes the process a whole lot easier and the creative part a whole lot more fun. Luckily, it’s super simple and quick to do.

Adhesive Paste

Combine one cup of all-purpose flour and one cup of water in a large bowl and mix well to get rid of any pesky lumps. You want the mixture to be a thin glue-like consistency. Tip: If you live in a hot climate, add some salt to your paste to avoid mold.

Newspaper Or Paper Strips

Now is a great time to utilize any scrap pieces of paper you may have that would otherwise be destined for the trash! Tear your paper of choice into strips of any size. The more variety, the better!

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Ready, Set, Paper Mache!

Now that you have all of your materials and tools at the ready, it’s time to choose from the following paper mache projects! Can’t pick just one? Try your hands at a couple of creations, or save the materials and continue the fun another day. The paste can be stored covered in the fridge, which means no time is wasted on prep and more time can be spent on creating the second time around.

Paper Mache Bowls

Adrian Ramirez / EyeEm / Getty Images

Who doesn’t love decorative paper mache bowls? They look great and they’re perfect for storing little trinkets that don’t have a home. Better yet, they’re incredibly fun and easy to make. This is a great option if you’re looking for a quick project to do with the fam.

Here’s how:

  1. 1.

    Gather your materials: You’ll need the paper strips and adhesive paste you prepared earlier, a bowl in the size you want to make, aluminum foil, and cooking oil spray.

  2. 2.

    Wrap the outside of a bowl in aluminum foil to prepare the surface of your mold. Spray the outside of the foil-covered bowl with cooking oil to stop your paper mache creation from sticking once it has dried.

  3. 3.

    Dip one of the paper strips into the adhesive mixture and wipe off any excess, so the strip is not dripping wet. Apply the coated strip onto the outside of the foil-covered bowl. Repeat this step, crisscrossing the strips horizontally and vertically until the bowl is completely covered at least three times. Make sure to smooth out any wrinkles in the paper as you go along.

  4. 4.

    Allow the bowl to dry for 24 hours.

  5. 5.

    Once dry, remove your piece from the aluminum-covered bowl and clean up any imperfections along the rim with a pair of scissors.

  6. 6.

    Now you can add a wonderful pop of color to your piece. Paint the entire bowl in a couple of coats and allow it to dry before adding finer details in a different color. Perhaps paint a beautiful floral design, or illustrate your most beloved character from your favorite movie or TV show. Allow your imagination to run free as you add the finishing touches to your piece!

Paper Mache Masks

Kypros / Getty Images

Looking to take your dress-up game to another level? Paper mache masks can transform your entire look. They take no time to make, they’re affordable, and you will create unforgettable memories while making them together.

Here’s how:

  1. 1.

    Gather your materials: For this project, you’ll need a balloon, an elastic band, and the paper strips and adhesive paste you prepared earlier.

  2. 2.

    Blow up a balloon — this will serve as the mold for your mask. No need to worry about the mask sticking. The balloon will tear away very easily from your creation once popped.

  3. 3.

    One by one, dip your paper strips into the adhesive paste, wipe away any excess, and apply to only one side of your balloon. Repeat this process, pasting the coated paper in different directions while smoothing out any wrinkles. Continue doing this until half of your balloon is completely covered at least three times.

  4. 4.

    Set aside your mask and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.

  5. 5.

    Once dry, pop the balloon and remove it from your mask. The mask should have formed an oval shape as it molded around the balloon. With a pair of scissors, clean up the edges of your mask.

  6. 6.

    Place your mask upwards, with the narrowest part at the bottom where the chin should be. Carefully cut out holes for the eyes in any shape you desire: They could be circular, triangular, square, oval, or a different shape for each!

  7. 7.

    Now you can design the mask of your dreams! Perhaps take inspiration from the mask worn by your favorite superhero, or base the design on your pet cat, dog, or favorite animal. Use different colored acrylic paints, sequins, feathers, glitter, or even flowers to bring your ideas to life.

  8. 8.

    Finally, pierce a hole on each side of your mask and attach a rubber band so you can secure it to your face. Now your masterpiece is ready to wear!

Paper Mache Animals

NatalieShuttleworth / Getty Images

If you’re looking to add a little cute-factor to your project, it doesn’t get any cuter than paper mache animals! Using this method, you can create almost any animal you wish (as long as they’re roughly the size and shape of a balloon) — whether it’s a penguin, rabbit, or owl.

Here’s how:

  1. 1.

    Gather your materials: You will need a balloon, construction paper, glue, paper strips, and adhesive paste.

  2. 2.

    Blow up a balloon to prepare your paper mache surface. The balloon will form the body of your adorable paper mache animal.

  3. 3.

    Place a strip of paper into the adhesive paste, wipe off any excess, and place it on the balloon. Do this step repeatedly, placing the strips vertically and horizontally, until the entire balloon is completely covered three times over.

  4. 4.

    Allow your piece to dry for at least 24 hours.

  5. 5.

    Pop the balloon inside your piece with a pin or a needle, and prop the "body" upright— placing the widest part at the bottom. Cut out feet that would be appropriate for the animal of your choice and glue them to the base.

  6. 6.

    Now it’s time to paint your animal’s distinctive features! Paper mache is a perfect canvas for you to create whatever animal your heart desires. If it’s a penguin: Paint a yellow beak and a black body, but don’t forget the aquatic bird’s trademark white belly! If it's a bunny: Use any natural hair-colored paint for the body before painting big eyes and long lashes.

  7. 7.

    To add the finishing details to your piece: Make ears, wings, flippers, or any other features from a piece of construction paper, and attach with glue to the body of your new friend!