Artists have been creating papier mache artworks for as long as man has been making paper. Papier-mâché, which means ‘chewed-up paper’, is an art form even young children can enjoy. If you’ve never done so, here’s how to make papier mache from recycled newspaper.
There are two basic components to papier mache: paper and paste. You may also be able to add textiles if needed, but if you have paper and some type of paste you have everything you need to begin the creative process. You can find several mixtures for papier mache paste either in library books or by searching on the internet. The following are three of the most popular and easiest recipes.
* Flour and Water – Most people think of cooking recipes when they hear about combining flour and water. The fact is these two ingredients, when mixed together in the right proportions, make excellent paper mache paste. Stir together three parts water with one part flour. You want the paste to be a thin consistency. Add more flour if the mixture is too loose or more water if it is too thick.
* Wallpaper Paste and Water – If you’ve ever wallpapered a room, you know how sticky the paste is. Wallpaper paste can be found at hardware or wallpaper stores. Use the same proportions, three to one, as with the flour and water recipe. Stir the ingredients well, being sure to incorporate all of it prior to using it.
* Glue and Water – Do you have children who love to do crafts? Chances are you have white school glue around the house. Mix two parts of the glue to one part of warm water. Do not use tacky craft glue for papier mache as it is too thick. Stir the glue and water mixture until it reaches the correct consistency.
Now, let’s consider the paper. You may think you need a special type of paper to do papier mache. Nothing could be further from the truth. Use leftover newspapers! Recycle the newspapers you have around the house. It is the perfect strength and texture for paper mache. The best size paper for most paper mache projects is about one inch wide; the length can vary from between six to eight inches.
You’ll also need some type of a base or form on which to create your artwork. Balloons work great for piñatas but if you’re itching to make something more substantial, you may want to try something else. Some artists will use chicken wire to sculpt their basic shape prior to adding the paper mache. Go ahead and try different objects to find the best shape and base for your project.
Creativity and time are really the only other things you need until the shape is complete. Add one layer of paper mache at a time and allow each layer to dry before adding the next one. To determine how many layers of paper you’ll need, think about the form and how you want the final project to look. Allow the completed artwork to dry thoroughly for several days before you paint it.
It really isn’t difficult to learn how to make papier mache from recycled newspaper. It is one of the easiest (although also one of the messiest) methods to create a three-dimensional piece of art. Once you learn how to use these simple items to make your first project, you may find yourself deciding to learn how to do an even bigger and better project next