Make a Waterproof Paper Mache Mushroom for the Garden

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waterproofing paper macheToday’s guest post is by Linda Bunnell, who made this life-like paper mache mushroom. She shows us how she made it and the product she used to make her mushroom weatherproof so it could stay outside.

I haven’t seen anyone using this product before, and I haven’t tested it myself, but it certainly opens up some exciting opportunities for experiments.

Thanks, Linda, for sharing this article with us!

How I Made My Waterproof Paper Mache Mushroom

©2017 Linda Bunnell

Here are the steps by which I made my mushroom.


Supplies for paper mache mushroom
Some of the items I used to create my paper mache mushroom

I used:

  • 9 1/2″ plastic plate I bought at a thrift store, (you could also use a plastic bowl of the size you choose)
  • water bottle , (you could substitute a Pringles can ,etc)
  • plaster
  • plaster cloth
  • masking tape
  • newspapers
  • paper pulp
  • Rust-Oleum LeakSeal
  • Acrylic paint

Step 1:

Mix water & plaster & fill the bottle 1/3 – 1/2 full. Set aside to dry.

Step 2:

Wad up newspaper & tape to your plate until you get the desired shape of your mushroom cap , be sure to make a roll over the edge of the plate for the bottom edge of your cap.

Creating the cap for paper mache mushroom.
Creating the cap for paper mache mushroom.

Step 3:

Next cut a piece of cardboard to fit the inside of cap ( note black lines in photo). Find the center of your cardboard & cut a X to fit the plastic bottle & insert it cap first & tape & hot glue securely.

designing a paper mache mushroom
Cut cardboard as shown.

Step 4:

Cut strips of plaster cloth & wrap the bottle

recycled materials in paper mache sculpture
Attaching plastic bottle to cardboard and cap of mushroom.


armature for paper mache mushroom
Wrap stem with plaster cloth.

Step 5:

Cover your mushroom & stem with paper mache (strips or pulp). Let dry completely. This may take a while. Don’t forget to make your gills under the cap. [Note from Jonni – you could also use paper mache clay, or find a recipe for paper pulp here.]

Add paper mache strips of paper pulp to mushroom.
Add paper mache strips of paper pulp to mushroom.

Step 6 (optional):

At this point you can coat your mushroom with a thin coat of Patch if you like a very smooth look. Let dry.

Use patching plaster to smooth surface.

Step 7:

After drying, spray with water sealer & let dry. You may coat it 2-3 times letting dry completely each time & making sure you get in all the cracks and crevices.

Waterproofing paper mache with several coats of Rust-Oleum LeakSeal.
Waterproofing paper mache with several coats of Rust-Oleum LeakSeal.

Step 8:

Now you are ready for painting. Use acrylic paint, a variation of near the same color , dark , medium & light. I chose Asphaltum brown, Raw Sienna & Buttermilk. I also used Antiquing gel & blending gel.

After painting spray a couple coats of a clear sealer.

The completed paper mache mushroom, after sealing and painting.
The completed paper mache mushroom, after sealing and painting.

Hope you have enjoyed this post. Please let me know how you did. Would love to hear from you.

Thanks , Linda 🙂

Make a Waterproof Paper Mache Mushroom for the GardenPS: I’m happy to say that my mushroom has been outside since I made it last year. It has gone through Fl summers & winters & is still in great shape. Still looks like I just made it.

14 thoughts on “Make a Waterproof Paper Mache Mushroom for the Garden”

  1. Not sure my comment question came through. I noticed that the sealant went on before painting. Do you use it AFTER painting? If not, what other protection can be used to keep the paint in tact, colorful, etc.?

  2. I’ve been a massive fan and self taught myself using your tips and video’s adjusting the recipe for clay for indoors and outdoors. thanks for your help .

  3. I will give the water proofing a try. Displaying art pieces outdoors has always been our challenge.I like articles that promote the medium we know and love. I have tried some of the other products featured here like Magic- Sculpt a fabulous product but larger work can be pricey due to the product cost . And they can get physically heavy even with aluminum foil armatures . I always seem to go back to paper mache because I can make large pieces that can hang on a wall or even an exterior door for Halloween.Hopefully I won’t need to bring the paper mache sculpture indoors every time it looks like rain is coming.

  4. I will be trying this! People have been asking me to make more “waterproof” sculptures. It will be interesting to see how the rubber sealer works!
    Also, I would try to fill the water bottle with sand or small rocks. You wouldn’t have to wait for it to dry then and would still have a weighted base.

  5. Nice! What final clear spray was used over the paint?

    I heard of a product called Pond Armor that some people use to seal plywood aquariums. If it can work to make an aquarium that holds water in it might work well to seal water out of a paper mache project. But it is expensive.

  6. This seems very worth trying. It would be nice to hear updates on how this holds out over the course of the winter, and how well it lasts over the next couple of year. Would be lovely to make things that could look good for 4-5 years at least!

    • I agree with Sandra, it would be good to know how long it lasts, be sure to update us with your results. Where do you live? Do you think this would work for humid environments? How about the cold? So many variables!
      Thanks for your well thought out tutorial as well.

      • On the product information, it says it is not recommended in extreme cold or heat. That probably excludes my Wisconsin winters? However, I did make a papercrete mushroom that has stood the test of 3 winters outside… So, possibly a cement slurry to coat the sculpture?

        • That might be a good idea. It sounds similar to the way I made my gnome. I live in Minnesota, and he still looks just fine. I know some people have problems with the Flexseal, but I didn’t know why it would work for some people and not others. You may have solved the mystery for us! 🙂


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