Paper mache is a useful technique for making artwork. It allows you to make whatever type of shape or figure you can imagine. It is also a fairly inexpensive project, but it does require some time and preparation. It is a great way to create quality-looking props for student productions, to construct replicas for school projects and a imaginative way to express yourself. Making a paper mache ball is one of the simplest projects to complete.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- ¼ cup of white glue
- 1½ cups of water
- 1 cup of flour
- Large plastic container
- Measuring cup
- Strips of paper or newspaper
- Large plastic salad bowl
Mix the glue, flour and water together in a large plastic container.
Tear your paper into strips. The width of the strips is up to you, 1 to 2 inches is the usual size.
Dip the paper strips in the glue mixture one at a time. You want the strips to be wet but not so flimsy that they rip when you handle them. Pinch each strip gently between your fingers and pull the strip through to remove excess paste.
Lay each strip on the inside of the bowl, letting them overlap as you like.
Allow the previous layer to dry before adding another layer of paper. Four layers are usually the sturdiest and allow you to decorate and utilise the structure when it is done.
Allow the paper to dry completely before gently shaking it loose of the bowl.
Repeat Steps 1 through 7 to create the other half of the ball.
Once both halves of the ball are dry hold the two halves together at the seams and apply wet strips around the ball to secure the two sides together.
Tips and warnings
- Allow at least seven days to complete the project. Each layer will need to dry thoroughly before the next application to be sure your artwork does not mould.
- There are several methods to making paper mache paste. Wallpaper paste can be used for your projects. It is made specifically for gluing paper so you will be happy with the results.
- Flour and warm water also makes a good paper mache mixture. Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ cup of flour until you achieve a creamy texture.
- Trying a couple of different mixtures will help you to decide which you prefer. Start with a couple of smaller projects to test the effectiveness of your recipe.
- Cover your ball with a couple of layers of water-based polyurethane finish to enhance the quality of the ball. It will also make it stronger than an unfinished ball.
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