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.
There are also an amazing number of ways to create the paper mache itself –
- You can use torn paper strips and paste made with uncooked flour and water.
- You can use cooked paper mache paste, which dries clear
- You can use Elmer’s Art Paste, which doesn’t contain any flour at all, so it will never mold and won’t cause problems with people who have a gluten allergy.
- You can use wood glue with your paper strips, because it dries faster and creates a stronger mask or sculpture. It’s what I use for all my Lion King mask patterns.
- You can soak the paper and turn it into pulp, and then add flour and water to hold it together. I don’t use this myself, but you can find a lot of tutorials for projects using this traditional “mashed paper” at papiermache.com
- You can use the paper in my paper mache clay recipe, which is much easier to use than traditional paper mache.
- Or you can use the paper in my Silky-Smooth air dry clay recipe, to create a smooth, thin layer over your armature.
Any of these methods should last a very long time, as long as you dry the sculpture quickly and seal it with acrylic paint and varnish. Worried about mold on your paper mache? Click here.
You can make almost anything you want with paper mache. You can create silly little piggy banks, or you can make a much more sophisticated sculpture or mask that’s fine enough for an art gallery. Most people start with the fun, silly stuff, and work their way up. 🙂
This website has over 1,200 posts, so be sure to use the Search Bar at the top to find the project you want to start with. Or click on the Blog/Art Library for full tutorials by Jonni and her readers, and visit the Daily Sculptors page to see paper mache projects that have been shared by our fellow artists.
Now go make something – and have fun!