Papier-mache is a messy, but non-toxic craft project. Making and working with papier-mache is very hands-on and can be a good bonding experience for a parent and child. Work with your child to make a papier-mache animal. You can even have your papier-mache critter resemble your real-life pet such as a guinea pig.
Mix water and flour in a large bowl. Use 2 parts water for every 1 part flour.
Add a tiny bit of glue to your mixture.
Stir your bowl of ingredients until there are no lumps and you have achieved a pastelike consistency.
Blow up your balloon to be the desired size of your model guinea pig.
Cut a cup out of the egg carton. Cut this in half and tape to the top of your balloon with the cup part facing forward. These will be the ears of the guinea pig.
Make four ovals out of cardboard and tape them to the bottom of the balloon. These make suitable guinea pig feet.
Rip pieces of newspaper into long strips. Ripping is quicker than cutting and also makes for a better crafting material. Papier-mache is about layering, not neatness.
Soak newspaper pieces in your gluelike mixture and apply to the balloon and cardboard one by one in layers. Three layers will be enough for a sturdy foundation.
Let your project dry overnight. Do not start the decorating process until the newspaper is completely dry.
Paint your papier-mache so that it begins to look like a guinea pig. Start with a base colour. Once that layer dries, add layers over it to represent different coloured spots in the guinea pig's fur.
Glue on small, black buttons to make the guinea pig's eyes. Alternatively, use a black marker or black paint to make the eyes.
Using a smaller paintbrush, draw a mouth and other details on your guinea pig.
Allow your new papier-mache guinea pig to dry completely.
Cutting a hole in the top of a finished papier-mache critter is a great way to make a homemade pinata for a child's birthday party. Papier-mache can make a big mess. Lay down dust sheets, newspaper or an old sheet in your work area. In warm weather, you can even do the project in the back porch or on a picnic table.
After you papier-mache your guinea pig, do not start the painting process too soon. Handling a wet papier-mache balloon can cause the balloon to collapse before the hard mould is set. Make your papier-mache paste mix fresh when you are ready to do the project. It does not last long in a refrigerator.