How to Make Papier Mache Figures

Updated April 17, 2017

Create cute papier mache figures using nothing more than a small plastic bottle and a styrofoam ball for a frame. Papier mache is an environmentally friendly craft, as it involves recycling old newspaper, and by also recycling plastic bottles in your project, these little figures will be "green." Use differently shaped bottles and pick a decorating theme for your figures. You can also give them as gifts or swap with friends who also make them.

Wash the bottles thoroughly and let them dry.

Press a styrofoam ball down onto the top of a bottle while twisting the bottle into the foam.

Mix equal parts of water and craft glue.

Rip up old newspapers into small strips, cover them with the water and glue mix, and start placing them on the bottle and ball to build up a figure's shape. Carefully lay the strips over the bottle neck and onto the ball, securing the head is in place when the papier mache dries. Continue building up the papier mache until it is three or four layers thick, and you have created the desired shape. Let it dry overnight.

Paint a costume and face on the figure using craft paint. Let it dry, then varnish it with a final coat of clear craft glue.


Rather than decorate the finished figure with paint, create an unusual finish by covering it with scraps of coloured paper ripped from a magazine.

Things You'll Need

  • Travel-sized plastic bottles
  • 1/2-inch to 1-inch diameter styrofoam balls
  • Scrap newspaper
  • Clear-drying craft glue
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Brush
  • Craft paint
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About the Author

Mary Stewart has been a news and features journalist since 2000. Her work has appeared in U.K. national newspapers and magazines, including "The Times (of London)," "The Sunday Telegraph," "The Mail on Sunday" and "The Guardian". She has a B.A. in journalism from Napier University.