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Video:How to Paper Mache

with Zoya Popova

Learn about the ingredients and supplies you'll need to make paper mache, and how to create a fun paper mache project yourself.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Paper Mache

Hi,I'm Zoya Popova for About.com, and today I'm going to show you how to paper mache.

Tips for Paper Mache

Now, before beginning any paper mache project, there are a few things you should remember. First off, paper mache is messy, so try to work outside, cover your work surface with a couple of newspapers, and wear practical clothing that you won't mind getting covered in glue and paint. It is also a great idea to keep handy a bowl full of water and a couple of wash cloths, because your hands will literally be covered in gluey paper mache paste.

Supplies Needed to Paper Mache

Now that you know what you're in for, let's take a look at the things that you'll need. The first key ingredient in paper mache is newspaper. Prepare your newspaper by tearing into strips that are no more than 2 inches wide and 4 to 6 inches long.

Apart from the newspaper, you will also need tissue paper to create a smooth finishing layer for your project. The glue that will bind your paper strips together is called paper mache paste. Prepare your paste by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1-1/2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of salt and a ¼ of a cup of school glue. This easy, no-cook recipe is economical and kid-friendly. The third main component for a paper mache project is the base. A wide variety of objects, including cardboard boxes, metal and ceramic bowls, glass bottles, plastic containers, and of course balloons will all provide great shapes for your paper mache project to be molded from.

How to Paper Mache a Plastic Flower Pot

To show you to paper mache step-by-step, we have chosen this plastic flower pot for our base. It is very fitting shape to make kid-sized hat, let's say, a Leprechaun hat for St. Patrick's day. So let's get to it.

Cover your base with tin foil to ensure easy removal later. Spray the foil with no-stick cooking spray. Dip a newspaper strip in the paste, place it over the base, and smooth out. Make sure you really soak the strips in the paste, and remove the excess using the rim of your bowl or your fingers. Do not place the newspaper strips side by side; instead, layer and criss-cross them to create a solid grid.

When working around the bends, such as the bottom of our flower pot, use smaller sized strips of newspaper. Once all of your object is covered with newspaper, leave it to dry for at least 24 hours. If it's not thoroughly dry, your shape will tear or collapse when you try to remove the base from within it. To create complex paper mache projects, like a hat, you will have to combine different bases. In our case, we will be combining the flowerpot shape with a circle cardboard shape to make the rim.

Add a Circle Cardboard Shape to Make the Hat

Use masking tape to bring the bases together and cover the whole structure with a second layer of paper mache. Add a finishing layer of tissue paper directly on top of the wet newspaper. The tissue paper will create a smooth finish.When the hat is covered in paper mache inside and out, once again leave it to dry for about 24 hours.

Decorate Your Project

Once dry, cover with green waterbase paint, add decorative elements such as this old purse buckle secured onto a black ribbon, and there you have it: a wonderful, handmade Leprechaun hat. By applying the same simple steps to other bases and base combinations, you will be able to create paper mache designs whose variety is only limited by your imagination. For more tips on how to paper mache, please visit us at About.com, and thank you for watching!
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