Paper Mache

This is a technique of creating three-dimensional or relief forms by molding paper and strengthening with or paper soaked in glue or paste.  When the form dries, it hardens and can be painted.

step 1

Start with whole pieces of newspaper and use crumbling, folding, crinkling, and twisting techniques to create a sculpture to be paper machéd.

step 2

Use masking tape to bind separate pieces together, to reinforce a piece for stability, or to help form a desired shape.

Once you have finished your form you can now mix the paper maché paste. 

step 3

Fill a bowl with water according to how much glue you will need to mix for paper strips.

step 4

Mix paper maché glue by pouring adhesive paste into water while stirring quickly.  Try to make a smooth mixture, avoid lumps of glue.

An alternate method is to mix white glue with water: 2 parts glue to 1 part water.

step 5

Sift through water to make sure mixture is smooth.  Squeeze out lumps with fingers.  Mixture should have consistency of cake batter (not too thick, or thin).

step 6

If students are working in groups, separate mixture out into separate bowls. 

step 7

Next, model for students how to apply paper maché glue to strips of paper.  Dip strip in glue mixture and squeeze off excess liquid by pulling strip between two fingers.

step 8

Apply strip to the paper sculpture.  Smooth out strip onto sculpture. Laying strips in a cris-cross pattern is recommended.  If using a balloon or ball as the base, leave a small opening (un-paper-machéd area) at the bottom of the base.

step 9

Repeat strip dipping and application until entire base is covered. Allow paper maché form to dry for at least 24 hours.


Once form is dry it can be painted. If using a removable mold (a beach ball or balloon) remove carefully by deflating first, then extracting it from the small opening.

Art Making

Wall paper paste or Glue
Bucket(s) for paper maché mix
Strips of newspaper
Water resistant base object