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How to Make Paper Mache

Don't know what to do with the kids this weekend? Here's a fun and inexpensive activity you can consider--make paper mache. Since it's an arts and craft activity and there is really no way of doing it wrong, you will have loads of fun while helping your kids to be creative.

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  1. Decide on an area of the house to do make you paper mache projects. Since it is going to be messy, the kitchen table, covered with newspaper, may be your best bet.

  2. Create your preliminary designs. Help the children with theirs. What would they like to make--animals, shapes or a piñata?

  3. Use the household materials you gathered to build your mold. Be creative and visualize how pots, soda cans, balloons or toilet roll cores can be used to create your object.

  4. Use sticky tape to put together the items to make your basic shape.

  5. Tear the newspaper and computer paper into one inch strips.

  6. Tear both long and short strips.

  7. Set aside in a pile separated by length and color.

  8. Add 1 cup of flour to 5 cups water in a saucepan.

  9. Bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Stir the mixture consistently to remove any lumps that may form.

  10. Turn off heat and let cool. Pour into a large mixing bowl. You should have a smooth paste with consistency like starch.

  11. Dip in the newspaper strips in the paste one at a time. Make sure it is well coated but squeeze off any access paste so it does not drip.

  12. Place the coated newspaper on your mold. Smooth out any wrinkles.

  13. Continue the process until your mold is entirely covered.

  14. Place up to four layers of newspaper on the mold and set it aside.

  15. Allow it to dry completely.

  16. Repeat the steps above until you have the desired thickness on your paper mache project. This process may take up to a couple of days.

  17. Use a sharp box cutter or scissors to carefully make a straight cut down the middle of your paper mache.

  18. Separate slowly the two sections from the mold.

  19. Join back the two sections (now with the mold removed) using strips of white paper and paste. Repeat until the separation lines are not evident. Allow to dry.

  20. Paint your paper mache project with water color or acrylic paint after the surface has completely dried.

  21. Tip

    Rather than make your own, purchase liquid starch which is relatively inexpensive. Adding a couple tablespoons of salt to your paper mache paste will help stop it from molding.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Flour
  • Measuring Cup
  • Newspaper and white printer paper
  • Paints and brushes
  • Saucepan

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