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Paper Maché Is Eco-Friendly

Go green, be eco-friendly and make a paper maché craft project. Paper Maché is a great way to use items we have that may otherwise be thrown away. It's one small way we can help protect our environment.

There are several different recipes for making paper (papier) maché using either glue, wallpaper paste, flour, cornstarch, or liquid starch.

The cooked flour and water recipe takes only about 10 minutes to prepare however it will take about an hour to cool down before you can start using it. With a little thought and prepartion you can do this well in advance while you are preparing the molds and newspaper strips.

This flour and water recipe is non-toxic and odorless.

Choose Your Project Design

When you choose a project for paper mache you will need a base object for a mold, so to begin you will need to decide what your project will be.

For a mold shape you can use empty milk containers or cereal boxes that you can reconstruct into your own shapes; use the cardboard rolls from the center of paper towels or toilet paper; or balloons.

Prepare your 'mold' designs in advance so they are ready when you begin your project. You can make keepsake boxes, vases, masks, animals, and whatever else you can think of.

In honor of Earth Day our class made a globe. Here are the detailed instructions.
paper mache globe

Work Area Preparations

Paper maché projects need a fair amount of table space and it can be a bit messy. Cover the table with a vinyl table cover from the dollar store. It's an easy way to clean up.

Prepare the Newspaper Strips

To have all your materials ready for your project you will need to tear up newspapers and white computer paper.
  • •Tear newspaper and computer paper into strips 1 to 2 inches wide. Keep each size separated by size and color.
  • TIP:
    For the last layer it is recommended to use plain white computer paper. This will almost act as a 'primer' and you will use less paint. The white paper will accomodate poster paint which is more child friendly.

Recipes Vary for Paper Maché

Paper Maché recipes vary. You can use white glue and water. Wallpaper paste is another way to create paper mache however it may be a little expensive and it can have a strong odor.

Liquid starch also works, however I have to say I could not find liquid starch in any of the stores in my city. I used the cooked flour and water recipe and found it to work just fine and I was able to save it for the next day to continue my project.

The cooked flour recipe is 5 parts water to 1 part flour and 1-2 tablespoons of salt which prevents mold.

Instructions:

  • 1 part flour to 5 parts water

  • Begin by adding 4 cups of water to a large pot over medium to high heat to boil and add 1-2 tablespoons of salt.

  • While waiting for water to boil mix 1 cup flour with 1 cup of water and mix well to blend stirring until smooth.

  • Add to the boiling water and stir well making sure there are no lumps. You can use a hand mixer to do this process.

  • Set aside and pour into a bowl to let cool.

To begin making your paper maché mold you will need to:
  1. Dip one newspaper strip at a time in the flour mixture. Be sure it is well coated and run the strip between your thumb and fore-finger to remove excess paste.

  2. Add the wet newspaper strip to your mold and smooth out the wrinkles with your hand.

  3. Continue this process until mold is covered.

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

  5. Allow it to dry completely. This can take 24-48 hours - depending on the temperature and humidity.

When the molds have dried you can add another layer of paper then set aside again to dry.

Repeat this proces until you achieve the thickness you want for your mold. Keep in mind this can take several days before the molds dry completely.



Make A Paper Maché Globe

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