Crafting with paper mache pulp is an activity many children find enjoyable and rewarding. It is an eco-friendly craft which supports recycling by reusing old newspapers. Paper mache pulp is cheap and easy to make and is a versatile craft material. It can be moulded to almost any shape to make bowls, vases, masks, pinatas, jewellery and sculptures. Once painted and preserved, paper mache treasures will last for many years.
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Paper Mache Pulp
There are many ways to make paper mache pulp, but all are based on the same principle of mixing some form of paper with some form of glue. Keep in mind that it is not an exact science and there is no wrong or right method; experiment to find which method works best for you. Place shredded junk mail, torn pieces of newspaper, kitchen towels or toilet paper into a bowl and soak with warm water. Put the wet paper into a blender or food processor and blend to a pulp. Drain in a colander and squeeze out the excess water with your hands. Mix the pulp with a small amount of white glue or wallpaper paste. Some people add a little linseed oil, oil of cloves or salt to prevent moulding.
Use a plastic or ceramic bowl as a mould. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the inside of the mould. Cover it with a piece of cling film, smoothing it out to prevent wrinkles. Tape the loose ends of the wrap to the outside of the mould with masking tape. Line the inside of the mould with a layer of paper mache pulp about a quarter-inch thick. Smooth the pulp and make sure there are no gaps. Leave it to dry in a warm place. As it dries, remove the pulp bowl from the mould and turn it upside down to dry the bottom. Paint the bowl with tempera or acrylic craft paint, adding designs and patterns. Finish with a layer of polyurethane to protect and seal the bowl.
Take an empty, clean waxed milk or juice carton and tape it closed with masking tape. Cut a round hole in one side approximately two inches in diameter. Add a roof cut from thick cardboard. Tape the roof in position with masking tape. Apply a thin layer of pulp to all the outside surfaces of the bird house. Leave it to dry in a warm place, turning it so that all sides dry thoroughly. When it is dry apply a second layer of pulp and leave it to dry again. Paint the birdhouse with acrylic craft paints and decorate in any way you choose. Finish with four coats of exterior varnish to protect the bird house and make it weatherproof.
Lightly sand a plastic bangle and cover it carefully with paper mache pulp, smoothing the surface to cover it evenly. Leave the bangle in a warm place to dry. Paint the bangle with acrylic craft paints adding stripes and patterns. Finish with a layer of polyurethane. Make beads for a necklace by rolling small pieces of paper mache pulp into balls. Make a hole through the centre of each one with a toothpick. Leave the beads to dry then paint and finish them with polyurethane. String them on to a length of cord or leather to make a unique necklace.
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