How to Make Paper Mache Model Cars

Updated February 21, 2017

Paper mache is a craft that involves using paper, sometimes reinforced with other materials, as a construction medium. Paper mache is most often glued together using a very wet adhesive like watered-down paste or even paper glue. Paper mache can be used to build a number of different artistic designs, including everything from carnival masks to model cars.

Make a wire frame for your cars. The easiest way to make the wire frame is to bend each wire starting with the bottom of the chassis and securing it in place with thinner, malleable metal wire. Start with the vertical framing and then do the horizontal guide wires. Remember to leave space for the wheel well.

Test the frame to ensure it is sturdy. Do this by applying pressure to it at points around the structure and try to move it out of place. Rewire any sections that appear to be loose.

Prepare your paper in the paste solution, stirring it in the mixture for a few seconds until it is completely saturated.

Pull the paper from the solution carefully, dragging it across the lip of the bowl so as too remove some of the excess paste. It's all right if there is some left over, but having heavy amounts will make the model unnecessarily heavy and it will take far longer to dry and set.

Place a strip of paper mache along the top of the model and along its center line, bumper to bumper. Use this as your primary point for placing successive sheets of paper mache. The paper will warp a bit because of the wire structure beneath, but successive layers will cover this deformity.

Place successive pieces over the first, working outward from the center line until the entire model has been covered once. Remember to work out bubbles as you go in order to keep the model's shape accurate.

Start back at the center line once you've completed your first pass, and do so until the paper mache has built up to a durable thickness (usually between 5 and 10 sheets).

Give the paper mache plenty of time to dry before you start to manipulate it in any way. Overnight is usually plenty of time. Bear in mind that even though the surface may appear dry, some elements of the core may still be moist.


While it's important to have the paper get very saturated during the construction process, it's also important to keep it from becoming so soft it falls apart as you are applying it. Only wet it enough for it to become limp and completely wet, but take it out of the paste mixture before it starts to lose its structure.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Water
  • Flour (traditionally used as a binder)
  • Glue (Elmers is good for paper mache)
  • Steel or heavy wire (for creating wire frame models of your model cars)
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