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How to Make Paper Mâché With Water & PVA Glue

Updated July 20, 2017

Paper Mache, or Papier-Mache, is a versatile and inexpensive craft material that can be used by artists and crafters of all ages and all skill levels. The most common recipes include water and a binding agent, like flour or PVA glue. PVA glue in the form of white glue, or school glue, is readily available to everyone and cheaper than wood glue or carpenters' glue, both of which can also be used for Paper Mache.

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  1. Determine how large your Paper Mache project will be. The larger the project, the more water and glue you will need to mix. Remember, you can always mix more paste, but it is difficult to save any leftovers.

  2. Place a large, shallow plastic bowl on a sturdy, flat surface. Placing a layer of newspapers underneath will aid in cleanup.

  3. Squirt or pour the desired amount of PVA glue into the liquid measuring cup. You will need two parts glue and one part water for the mixture.

  4. Scrape the PVA glue into the plastic bowl with the paint stirrer or wooden spoon, and repeat the step if you need a large amount of Paper Mache paste.

  5. Measure the correct amount of clean, lukewarm water into the measuring cup. Use the paint stirrer or wooden spoon to help get out any excess glue as you pour the water into the plastic bowl. Repeat the step, if necessary, to get the proper ratio of two parts PVA glue to one part water.

  6. Stir the mixture of PVA glue and water carefully until it is thoroughly mixed. You should not be able to see unmixed water around the edges of the bowl, only a white liquid.

  7. Use the PVA glue & water Paper Mache immediately. Dip paper strips into the mixture one at a time, and slide the strip between you index finger and thumb to remove excess paste and spread it evenly.

  8. Tip

    Old newspaper torn into strips is perfect for Paper Mache projects. Inflated balloons make good bases for such Paper Mache projects as bowls or masks. The balloon may be popped and removed afterward.


    Do not dry Paper Mache projects in the oven, as this may cause them to warp. Slow air-drying is best.

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Things You'll Need

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Large, shallow plastic bowl
  • Newspapers
  • PVA glue
  • Water
  • Paint stirrer or wooden spoon

About the Author

Nikki Van De Car

Nikki Van De Car is a knitting and motherhood blogger for the website What To Knit When You're Expecting. Her collection of knitting patterns, "What To Knit When You're Expecting," is available from Running Press.

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