How to Make a Paper Mache Man

Written by josephn
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How to Make a Paper Mache Man
Paper mache can be great fun. (masque en papier maché image by jean Claude braun from

Paper mache is a great material for modelling; it's inexpensive and easy to use, which makes it especially appropriate for use by kids, though there's no reason why adults shouldn't join in, too. A paper mache man can be used as a pinata, as a decoration for Christmas or Halloween if appropriately painted or simply for fun. Whatever the reason, it's a great way to pass the time with the kids on a rainy day, and it may inspire an interest in art.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wallpaper paste
  • Newspaper
  • 1 large balloon
  • 1 smaller balloon
  • 4 cardboard toilet tissue tubes
  • White emulsion paint

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  1. 1

    Prepare your wallpaper paste in a bowl, adding water until it is the consistency of thick soup.

  2. 2

    Tear your newspaper into strips approximately 1 inch wide by 4 inches long.

  3. 3

    Blow up your larger balloon and apply strips of paper until the entire thing is covered, dipping each strip in the paste beforehand. Apply two or three layers, but no more, as the paper mache takes a long time to dry.

  4. 4

    Blow up your smaller balloon and cover that also, remembering to leave no gaps between the strips.

  5. 5

    Do the same thing with your four cardboard tubes, building up layers that seal off the open ends.

  6. 6

    Leave your balloons and tubes to dry somewhere warm for a minimum of two hours. If you wish your paper mache sculpture to be tough, repeat the process, adding more layers and drying again.

  7. 7

    Burst the balloons by sticking a bin through the paper mache shell.

  8. 8

    Using more paper strips dipped in paste, secure your small balloon to the top of your large balloon and your tubes to the sides and bottom as arms and legs. Dry again, preferably overnight.

  9. 9

    Paint with white emulsion paint and allow to dry.

  10. 10

    Decorate the man in whatever fashion you wish. If he is to be used as a pinata, cut a three-sided trapdoor in the back with a craft knife and insert sweets or other treats.

Tips and warnings

  • If working with children, don't let them put the wallpaper paste in their mouths.

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