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How to make papier-mache boats

Updated April 17, 2017

Papier-mache is a great material for kids and adults to use for artistic experimentation. It's inexpensive, with easily found materials, makes a fun mess and allows for significant alterations to the project at all stages. Because of this, you can use papier-mache to make almost any object, real or imagined. Try your hand at making a small papier-mache boat; you may surprise yourself by experimenting with making a life-size one the next time.

Add flour to water in the mixing bowl, using about one part of flour to two parts of water. The mixture should look like yoghurt. Add the salt to prevent mould. Stir until smooth.

Cut or tear the newspaper into 5-cm (2-inch) wide strips. You can tear the length shorter later as needed.

Bend the chicken wire until you form a boat shape. Use the wire cutters to trim as needed.

Lay the chicken wire boat frame with the open side face down. Dip a strip of newspaper into the papier- mache mixture, and lay the strip on the boat, moulding it to the frame. Continue dipping and layering until you have covered the frame.

Let the first layer dry thoroughly, at least 24 hours. Continue with another layer of papier-mache strips. Let the second layer dry thoroughly.

Carefully remove the boat from the frame. Use very sharp scissors to trim the edges neatly. Paint as desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Water
  • 55 ml (3 tablespoons) of salt
  • Large spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Newspaper
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Sharp scissors
  • Paint (optional)
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About the Author

Alicia Roque began writing nonfiction professionally in early 2010, with her articles appearing on various websites. She also writes children's plays, some of which have been performed by local troupes. Roque received her Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications from Rhode Island College, graduating magna cum laude with a minor in history.