Paper mache is the art of making objects out of paper or paper pulp. Throughout history it was used a low cost alternative to plaster and wood in architecture. Its origins are European, where it found many uses. It was used to make furniture, storage boxes, trays, and structural objects to name a few.
I have learned over time that there are several different recipes that you can use to make the paste. I thought it would be nice to have all of the different recipes that I have used and have been told about all in one place for a change. Aside from basic paste recipes that can be made easily at home, there are some great resources online that provide more extensive information, if you are looking to make lasting creations out of paper mache. One such resource that I have found is www.ultimatepapermache.com, which goes into depth about recipes, and great things to add to your paste, to make them last longer.
Paper Mache is fairly easy to use children of all ages enjoy the feel of the paste. Most of what you need you can find in your pantry and around the house. I like to do this as a fun activity with my children to give them a creative outlet. My daughters are in the age range of 9 and 10 years of age but from the age of five and up I have been able to introduce them to many artistic activities, that they have and continue to enjoy.
Water and Flour
This is the most commonly used recipe for paper mache. You can take one part water to one part flour. In a medium to large mixing bowl, mix the paste with your hands until the mixture is smooth. The consistency should be thick and not too watery.
Glue and Water
When using glue and water any glue will work. There are quite a variety of glues that can be used. Just to name a few, there is elmers glue for paper crafts, wood glue, tacky glue, sobo glue. In a medium to large mixing bowl add 3/4 glue to 1/4 water. Mix with a spoon until the paste is smooth. The mix should not be too watery. A fast drip may indicate that too much water was used if so add more glue a little at a time until the paste is thicker.
Starch and Water
Much like flour, starch works really well as a paper mache paste. Like the flour recipe listed above add one part starch and one part water to a medium to large mixing bowl. Mix with your hands until the mixture is smooth. If your mixture is too thick add more water, if it is too thin add more starch.
When working with the paste be sure to have enough for the project you plan to work on. You may need a variety of bowl sizes. A wisk can also be used for mixing your paste, but if you plan to work with children they will want to get involved. My children always want to help with mixing, cleaning, and setting up.
Finally, the paste recipes aren’t meant to last too long, so consider storing any leftover paste in a resealable container. If you have planned a more ambitious project that may last more than a couple of days you may consider making a new batch after about three days of storing your flour and starch pastes.