Paper mache is a cheap art and sculptural medium that uses torn pieces of paper glued together with paste made from flour and water. That sounds pretty simple, and it is. But the final artwork doesn’t have to be simple – in fact, it can be just as complicated and creative as you want it to be.
The best thing about paper mache is that it’s cheap. You can create to your heart’s content, without spending all your money at the art store. The only expensive things you’ll need are paints, and one set of good acrylic paints can last a long time.
Another good thing is that you can do almost anything you want with paper mache. You can create silly little piggy banks, or you can get much more sophisticated and create a sculpture or textured painting fine enough for an art gallery. Most people start with the fun, silly stuff, and work their way up.
Oh yeah – the third best thing about paper mache is that it gives you an opportunity to make a wonderful mess. Just make sure you clean the mess up yourself, before any of the slopped-over paste dries onto the table or the bowl. And definitely don’t leave the mess for somebody else in the family to clean up. If you do, it could be the last time you get to make anything out of paper mache.
Each project that I’ll be adding to this site will have three main phases:
- The basic shape is created. Most of the sculptures I make are first formed out of wadded-up newspapers and masking tape.
- Strips of torn newspaper are carefully glued to the form in several layers, using a paste made from flour and water. For smaller projects, two layers of paper are usually enough.
- The sculpture is sanded smooth and then painted.
Feel free to copy any of the projects on this site, or use the ideas and process instructions as a starting place for your own ideas.