Practical Paper Mache – a Reader-Supported Project

Practical Paper Mache e-Book
Practical Paper Mache e-Book, by the Readers of UltimatePaperMache.com


Click here to download the Practical Paper Mache e-Book and save it to your computer.

All of the ideas in this free e-book were submitted by our readers, who have graciously given permission to include their photos and descriptions of their own unique (and useful) paper mache creations.

A big thanks to everyone who submitted their ideas for this project – this was really fun. I’ve never worked on such a large collaborative project before, but now I have the bug. What shall we do next?

If you would like to comment on any of the projects in the e-Book and let the artists know how much you like their work, you can find each individual item shown in it’s own online page by following the links below. I know they would all love to hear from you.


Paper Mache Napkin HolderPaper Mache Napkin Holder/Rings aka Bill Collector – With Moon and Stars Motif Submitted by Sharon Moreno
Paper Mache Christmas BallsPaper Mache Christmas Ornaments – Both Whimsical and Elegant Designs
Submitted by Sharon Moreno
Child-Sized Paper Mache BoatPaper Mache Toy Boat – Several Happy Children Fit Inside Submitted by Deyana Viktorsson


Paper Mache Antrler ChandelierPaper Mache Antler Chandelier – A Truly Unique Lighting Fixture Submitted by Aylin Urgun
Paper Mache OrganizerPaper Mache Organizer – A Wall Unit That’s Perfect for a Studio or Craft Room Submitted by Karin Eichelkraut
Paper Mache Roman BoxPaper Mache Roman Box – Decorated With a Potato Stamp in Blue and White
Submitted by Monica Franco
Paper Mache Side TableSmall Paper Mache Side Table – With a Checker-Board Design
Submitted be Payal Pandey
Paper Mache Tortoise PlanterTortoise Planter – Turn a Slightly Damaged Bowl into a Unique Place for Your Plants
Submitted by Payal Pandey
Paper Mache Pin CushionPaper Mache Pin Cushion – A Collectible Item Made from Found Objects
Submitted by June Slack
Paper Mache Card HolderPaper Mache Business Card Holder – an Elegant Way to Display Your Cards
Submitted by June Slack
Paper Mache Hat StandPaper Mache Hat Stand – Custom-Made for Less Than $3
Submitted by June Slack
Paper Mache Waste BasketPaper Mache Waste Basket – Recycled Basket with an Owl Motif
Submitted by June Slack
Paper Mache Junk DrawerPaper Mache Desktop JunkDrawer – A Great Way to End the Clutter
Submitted by Tani Hughes
Paper Mache Waste Paper BasketPaper Mache Waste Paper Basket – Made With Cardboard and Easy Construction Paper Cutout Design
Submitted by Jonni Good
Paper Mache Wall ShelvesPaper Mache Wall ShelvesTurn Cardboard into Strong and Useful Storage Space
Submitted by Tani Hughes
Paper Mache Magazine RackPaper Mache Magazine Rack – With Blue Indian Motif
Submitted by Payal Pandey
Paper Mache Shoe Storage UnitPaper Mache Shoe Storage Rack – A Wall-Hung Storage Unit
Submitted by Tani Hughes
Paper Mache CD ShelvesPaper Mache CD Storage Shelves – Practical Shelves Using Recycled Cardboard
Submitted by Tani Hughes
Practical Paper Mache - a Reader-Supported ProjectPaper Mache Doll Furniture – A unique set of patio furniture for dolls.
Submitted by Christine Majul
Practical Paper Mache - a Reader-Supported ProjectPaper Mache Egg Cup A whimsical egg cup, made from paper mache and then covered with three coats of varnish.
Submitted by Chris Josephs
Practical Paper Mache - a Reader-Supported ProjectPaper Mache Fantasy Animal – This unique critter is also a vase for flowers.
Submitted by Jelina
Paper Mache Photo Prop EggPaper Mache Photo Prop Egg – A perfect setting for those Easter photos.
Submitted by Teri Niemeyer
Paper Mache Angel ChairPaper Mache Angel Chair – People love sitting in the chair and having photo’s taken!
Submitted by Matthew McCoy
Paper Mache Bird BowlBird Bowl (Kevin from the movie Up) – Have you ever seen such a happy fellow? And he’s practical, too.
Submitted by Monica Franco
Paper Mache Food Saver ShelfPaper Mache Food Saver Shelf – A custom-made shelf that works perfectly and cost about 37¢.
Submitted by Beth Lyons
Paper Mache Hot Glue Gun Holster Paper Mache Hot Glue Gun Holster – Just the thing for keeping the heat and glue off the table while you’re working.
Submitted by Beth Lyons


74 thoughts on “Practical Paper Mache – a Reader-Supported Project”

  1. Jonni, you did such a nice job on the PRACTICAL PAPER MACHE e-book!
    I have no doubt how popular this is going be. And, FREE, be prepared to be stampeded. 😀

    I didn’t read any flubs, anywhere. Everyone’s work is showcased outstandingly. You have everything in it…recipes, tips, beautiful photos, instructions, materials…again, you did a wonderful job with this.

    • Gosh – thanks, Sharon. It’s really OUR ebook, though . You and all the folks who submitted items for this project really did a fantastic job. Isn’t collaboration fun?

      • It was fun.

        It was fun to challenge my mind to think of something practical that I could use.

        It was fun so see so many of we PMers get involved and contribute our own unique practical pieces we can and will use.

        And it IS fun to see our efforts so nicely presented!

  2. Hello everyone! I wasnt sure where to post this so i thought here was as good as anywhere. I was goofing around on the web the other day and came acrost the website: http://www.kingrahamstudios.com. this lady is an AMAZING artist! her current homepage picture is a paper mache tree troll. i highly reccomend everyone go check out her work just to see how extremely large and detailed paper mache can get! have fun!

          • It astouds me to see her work. I hope to practice and practice untill i can get that good! i wonder if contacting her is possible, and if it is, would she share her weatherproofing secrets?

            • Here is the email she sent me:
              Thank your for your compliments. I had intended that the sequence of pictures on Kimgrahamstudios.com to be as informative as possible. It is wonderful if people can take the ideas and run with them. The photograph when you see the tree troll outside is a bit of a cheat. This sculpture cannot go outside unless it is a bright, sunny, dry day. He cannot even be left outside overnight because the dew would soften him disasterously. Here is an excerpt from another email describing the process….

              What I would like to know is how you made it? I saw the pictures and the making of the frame (wood / carton) is quite clear, but then: the paper maché. What kind of glue did you use for it?

              Wall paper paste. You can get it in 5 gallon buckets at the local hardware stores.

              And the paper, is it special paper or just newspaper or something similar?

              There were two types of paper. Brown construction paper is used by contractors to protect floors from paint and debris. Any hardware store here carries it. The other is toilet paper. This gave the really believable wood texture on the surface. Take a small handfull, dip it in the glue, rip it slightly, re-dip and apply.

              Do you apply the glue at once on the paper or does it really have to be soaked?

              Neither had to be soaked. We just dipped the construction paper in quickly, removed the excess glue off and applied it.

              What techniques could be of use as well?

              Honestly, one of the very best is this: Sculpt your basic form with aluminum foil glued together with hot glue. Mix ordinary white glue (or ordinary house paint) with fine sawdust to a paste. With a palette knife, apply the paste to the aluminum. This makes a very strong, wood like surface that is simply perfect for sculptures under 4 feet tall. It receives detail beautifully.If you want to go much larger, say bigger than 4 feet, add polypropylene fiber to the mix. This is also called stealth fiber in the concrete industry and is used to vastly increase the strength of that material. It is really cheap, not toxic and reduces the tendency of cracking as it dries.
              Also if you use the house paint and apply three coats of spar varnish, this will last for years out doors with bright colors. We call it K-board. The reason K-board works is because you have individually wrapped each particle of wood in a water resistant material, paint. It removes the problem that paper and wood have of being sponges to water and therefore likely to rot.

              For going larger, metal lath (expanded metal) for a underlying structure is really good. This is the lightweight stuff that is used for concrete. You can bend it with your hands easily.

              I intend to try a lot with styrofoam/polyurethane/polystyrene stuff. Do you have suggestions for that as well?

              Avoid them. They are toxic and filthy to work with. Carved foam gets everywhere. The white bead stuff is impossible to clean out of a studio and the polystyrene is itchy and difficult to get off your skin. I really do not like them

              Can you put papermache outside?

              No, it is unprotected wood and will absorb moisture from the outside weather and from the inside from condensation. The water will deteriorate the paper mache pretty quickly even using wood sealants meant for boats.

              Please send me pictures of this and any other work you have done. The best part of sharing information and experience is seeing what others are doing in the field.

  3. Hi Joni,
    Like all the ideas, especially the wall shelves and the doll furniture. So useful and creative.

    The antler chandellier..now that is really unique. How did you make it? Did you just adjust and extend an existing light fixture? Are you leaving it white? Is it one center light? What kind of final finish did you use?

    Thanks for such an interesting site.

  4. Hi Jonni,
    Love all these great ideas!

    I have a question…would a Christmas ornament be considered practical? I made some for my Etsy shop last Christmas and I think I still have a few pictures in my computer. I used your paper mache recipe for a few (my first batch that I mentioned to your a month or so ago that didn’t quite turn out).

    Is there a way to revise that napkin holder I submitted here? I didn’t give instructions for it and I thought that might be helpful for your e-book project.

    Also, I have a couple of questions about your post on setting up a website with GoDaddy. I’m not sure where to post that.


    • Hi Sharon. If you would like to revise or add to your page about those beautiful napkin rings, please just send an email with your additions or changes, and I’ll be happy to change it any way you want. I know a lot of people will be downloading the ebook, so anything that would help them recreate your project would be wonderful.

      I think it’s perfectly legitimate to call Christmas ornaments “practical.” Maybe we could split hairs if we want to get technical, but why would we want to do that? This is supposed to be a fun project.

      I’m not quite sure what you need to know about GoDaddy. How about putting your question about the website over on my build a website blog, and then anyone who has the same question will be able to see it.

  5. Elmers glue…. i’ll have to experament with that one and the marine varnish. for now, though, my bedroom is getting pretty cramped… i was also thinking about trying polyeuerethane (that’s probbably spelled way wrong..). i’ll let you guys know how it turns out. We will find a way to make this work!! 🙂 good luck!

  6. Hi Jonni, I have been following your site and have made a few paper mache and paper clay animals. What I really would like to know is how everyone is doing with making the items for outside display – I live in Colorado and our weather changes constantly. I just read about using Elmer’s white glue as a gesso to make it waterproof – is that better than the waterproof varnish or is it used along with the varnish – I am at a loss as to what to do except leave my little creatures inside. Thanks to all of you for your comments and enthusiasm.

    • I haven’t heard that Elmer’s will work to make a piece weatherproof. Some people have had good results using marine varnish, although my own experiment failed because the UV light in our strong sunlight destroyed the plastic. As soon as my baby rhino is finished (which may take quite a while – he’s a very big baby) I’ll experiment with a fairly expensive plastic product that is supposed to have UV inhibitors and it’s supposed to make fabric sculptures waterproof. Since it wasn’t made for paper, I think some experimentation is needed to know if it will work.

      In the meantime, I suggest that anyone who really wants their sculptures to go outside should consider sculpting with concrete, instead.

      • Thanks for your comment -so I guess I’ll forget the outside for now. You have a great site and you saved me a lot of unnecessary worry over my little sculptures. I’ll try something really simple to see how it holds up with just the marine varnish. Thanks again to all the wonderful info. Betty

    • Love the shelves, Paco. How much weight do you think they’ll hold? (The lettering on the shelves must start some interesting conversations… 😉 )

      • Thanks Jonni!

        Actually, everybody in the office giggled when they saw itlll 😉

        I wouldn’t put anything heavy over them. In fact, I am planning to use them just for small paper mache trinkets. (The photos are actually mounted on cardboard.) If you’re intrigued about how I did the support in the back, I’ll gladly take a close-up shot.

        Cheers from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico,


  7. These are all SO great, so creative, so useful, and SO inspiring! I have my idea still only in my head, still too busy to get to it, but these all really get me excited to smash it into my schedule somehow.
    Keep ’em coming!! 😀

  8. I just came back from a very wet week, vacationing in Portland, OR where I grew up. I have to say I AM SO EXCITED about this project! Totally thrilled with all the positive comments and compliments!!!

    *Jonnie, have you considered ordering by cost, or level of difficulty with a short chapter for newbies like you said, at the beginning. I can create better supply lists, step-by-step type of guide, and also figure out my ratios to come up with the equivalent of ‘Recipes’ for what I use on my projects if any of that would be helpful. Just shoot me an email.

    • Yes, I’ll definitely send you that email – right after I get back from the hardware store. Spring projects seem to be taking up so much of my time, and there’s been such a wonderful response to this project, that I’m having a hard time keeping up. Any assistance will be more than welcome. Maybe we can figure out how to split up the work. And if anyone else wants to take charge of the writing for a chapter or two, volunteers are more than welcome.

      By the way, I tried using your waterproofing gesso formula, using Sheetrock joint compound and Elmer’s Wood glue. As soon as the glue was mixed into the joint compound, the mixture turned into a solid mass. Has this ever happened to you?

      I switched back to the Elmer’s glue all for the gesso, and it worked just fine – I suspect that the product formulas aren’t always the same from one area of the country to another, so it’s not always easy to come up with recipes that work for everyone. Today I’ll pick up another brand of carpenter’s glue from the hardware store and try again.

  9. The projects are so inspiring to me! I especially love that cute little turtle planter, the pincushion and the owl wastebasket, but all the projects make my brain whirl with ideas. Good job everyone – wish I had time to make something to submit!

  10. Dear Jonni, thanx 4 sharing your work with us It inspires me to start thinking of trying my hand at it.Keep sharing and inspiring Bye

  11. attachments size is too large – unfortunatelly that’s the problem – I tried several times. It is “practical” – the kids play in it, but af cours on dry land:)
    I did some more things. If this forum didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be doing paper mache – very inspiring to read. Lots of action too, many different questions, lots of info….thank you

    • Dang – we’d love to see it. I think it’s great to make things kids can play with without spending big bucks at Wal-Mart. Can you edit your photos to be smaller? Most digital cameras come with software that lets you crop them or save them in a small size for emails – that would be perfect for the web. If not, contact me and I’ll try to see how we can make it work.

      • Dear Jonni, thank you for being so helpful ! I got this time the message – Attachment file type not allowed” . I’ ve compress them by “rar”- ing them. What about if I put them on facebook for you – it is so easy and without problems? I will try the “comtact me” now.

        • Facebook would work just fine – just go ahead and use the submission form and add a link to your facebook page in the message area. By the way, has anyone else had problems getting attachments to attach to the submission form? And Deyana, were your photos saved as .jpg or jpeg’s? (I’m way behind on the technology – I have no idea what “rar”-ing means. Sigh – I just can’t keep up…)

          • I just send an email to you with some photos, I have to stop for today. I might be confusing with my English: the “rar” is when you drop a menu – it comes resize and email, resize and….one of them is this option which contents the “rar” and resizes without to email /as I don’t have an email, but hotmail – I can’t use this combined optioin/. I am very behide in the computer technology – otehrwise, I should have managed already to upload the photos.
            Good night from Thailand, hope we are togheter tomorrow again.

  12. Dear Jonny,

    how to upload few photos of the boat I made? Couldn’t find out. It was so nice to see all the photos on this page.


  14. I know it’s a little early to be worrying about it, but I could use some suggestions about how to organize the eBook for this project that will be produced in early June. We’re getting so many wonderful submissions. One big question – do you think I should start writing a chapter on basic paper mache techniques, to make it easier for newbies to reproduce some of these projects? Anything else come to mind that might be needed? This is a group project, so all ideas are welcome, as always.

  15. LOVE the drawer idea! My mind instantly went to the priority boxes I put in the recycle (since I already have saved more than I can really give space to!) I’m goint to do this one, for sure.

  16. Love the lightweight storage units on the wall. I have a room full of yarn that needs improved storage…those will be perfect!
    I have tried using wood glue for paper mache with the blue paper towels for texture and strechiness, but found that the towels absorbed so much glue that the objects wouldn’t dry. The outside dried and became water tight before the inside layers could dry. Had to cut the animals apart to let them dry from the inside too. Then, once completed, they were very brittle and broke easily.
    Might be useful for pinatas.
    Now if I want something to be waterproof, I might put a top layer of wood glue but use glue all or flour for the inside layers.
    Nice idea to use wood glue to waterproof forms though…and gives me something to do with the gallon container I still have of it!


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