- Arts and Design
Paper Mache Recipes, Masks & Projects | Paper Sculpture Ideas
Papier Mache Tutorial Roundup
Paper mache is one of the most versatile crafts around because almost any shape is possible - if you can imagine it, you can create it! It's also a fun activity for kids to join in with.
You can be as creative as you want with your projects, from building large sculptures and Halloween decorations, to making fancy dress masks, pretty bowls, props and life-size animals. You can also make us of your artistic skills by painting or adding an interesting surface effect to your creations.
I hope this page inspires you to have a go at papier mache!
Kid's Starter Project
Top-Rated Paper Mache Books
Books are excellent purchases when learning a craft because they provide you with all the information in one place. Here is a selection of the best:
This detailed book is full of color photographs which accompany a range of step-by-step tutorials for impressive animal sculptures. It also provides a special recipe for paper clay which is quick, cheap and mess-free.
If you're keen to challenge yourself and make a spectacular project, then a dragon building guide is right up your street! And you don't need anything fancy either....this dragon is made from various commonplace items like wire hangers and old bedsheets.
This book provides lots of expert instruction and walks you through the making of a monster, including how to make specific parts like the claws, the eyeballs and the scales.
Very good source of project ideas, especially for beginners, with clear instructions for making decorative objects like dolls and adorable animals, and DIY jewelry like bangles and beads.
The Basics Of Papier Mache
THERE ARE 2 METHODS YOU CAN USE:
- The strip or laminating method is where paper is torn into strips and these strips are dipped in the paste and layered onto the surface you would like to cover. Newspaper is often used with this method.
- The pulp method is where a moldable mix is made from paper pulp and glue, and this clay material is built up over the surface you are covering. 3D details and shapes can be made with the pulp/clay - it doesn't have to be added in an even layer like the paper in the strip method does. Things like sawdust and sand can be added to the clay to create an interesting surface effect.
Often, the strip method is used first to make a smooth layer, then the pulp method is used to add the details and texture over the top.
Paper mache is an inexpensive craft and the most common paste is made from just glue and water - so it's really easy too. There are also LOADS of other recipes in existence which call for different ingredients, different proportions of materials and different ways of making the mix. When I first started paper mache the sheer volume of different recipes confused me, but it really doesn't matter which one you pick, because they all work!
There isn't much accuracy involved so the recipe possibilities are almost infinite. It's all open to experimentation and people have their own favourite way of doing things. Just pick a simple recipe to begin with and then maybe experiment with your own mixes or try other people's ideas. You'll find some recipes result in different qualities of surface finish, so just keep trying different ones until you find your favourite. Just don't stress about it like I did!
Some people boil their paper mache and some don't, some people like flour and water mixes and some don't. The most important thing to note is that if you stick with the common ingredients like glue, water and flour, it's difficult to go wrong. Note: If you do use a flour recipe, add some salt to try and prevent mold growing on it.
The 'form' i.e. the shape you would like to cover in paper mache, can be created with all sorts of materials including newspaper and tape, used plastic bottles and tins, cereal boxes, cardboard, tin foil, balloons, foam and chicken wire mesh. If you just need a mold i.e. something used to get the right shape but will be removed undamaged later - such as a bowl - then just cover the surface with a protective layer of plastic wrap or foil first.
To make your papier mache durable, remember to seal it with varnish or urethene sealant.
Below you will find recipes for different types of paste and pulp/clay to try out, plus some really impressive projects. If you don't want to make your own mix, you can also buy it. I hope you have fun :-)
Paper Mache Bowl
Paper Mache Recipes
- Paper Mache Pastes & Clay
Plus advice on what paper to use.
- How to Paper Mache
3 options written simply, including the glue and water proportions.
- Paper Mache Pulp
Straighforward recipe for pulp which you use for small shapes.
- Advanced Pulp Recipes
These recipes contain more ingredients for a better finish.
- Beginner's Lesson
A walkthrough of how to paper mache, great for beginners.
- Air-Dry Paperclay
This stronger modelling material dries quickly and can be used in thinner sections.
Big Head Masks
Impressive DIY Projects
- Ultimate Tutorials
Lots of how-tos for creating more advanced sculptures and animals.
- Faux Wood Containers
Create a realistic wood effect with paper mache pulp.
- Party Lights
Fairy light baubles made using water balloons.
- Big Letter DIY
I love the style and dramatic colours of this wall art.
- Papier Mache Cacti
Fun ornaments with spikes made of toothpicks!
- Photo Frame
Pretty ethnic style frame painted with metallic paints.
- Reading Book Bowls
Pretty bowls made using newspaper and book pages.
- Halloween Decorations
Information about tools and materials, plus some spooky how-tos.
- Ice Cream Pinata
Ice cream cone shaped pinata for parties.
Paper Mache Beads
Click here to see how to make these beads yourself.
Things for Kids to Make
- Papier Mache Globe
Use a balloon to sculpt a globe shape.
- Cheat's Papier Mache
Quick method with fabric scraps as the outer layer.
- Paint a Bowl
Simple project which is fun to paint.
- Giant Pencils
I'm sure kids would have a lot of fun making these out of mailing tubes.
- DIY Planets
Building a set of planets using different balloon sizes.
- Painted Birds
Great looking whimsical birds with little wire feet.
- Paper Mache Puppets
A 3-part tutorial on making your own creative puppets.
- Halloween Puppets
Fun cat and pumpkin hand puppets.
- Patchwork Turtle
Cute little tortoise with a decorated shell.
- Vellum Paper Igloo
A fun prop for Winter themed play.
More Children's Activities
- Paper Maracas
Using paper mache to make your own musical instruments.
- Clothespin Dolls
How to build up mini dolls on a base of a wooden peg.
- Rabbit Puppet
I'm sure kids would get a lot of fun out of this large puppet.
- Piggy Bank
Cute pig made from tissue paper, egg cartons and balloons.
- Sun Hat
A range of hat designs are possible, and would be fab for dress-up.
- Erupting Volcano
Part craft, part science experiment.
Easy to make and fun to create different dinosaur types.
- Plastic Bottle Dinosaur
Recycle used bottles to make this cute diplodocus.
- Another Piggy Bank
This time fashioned out of a 2-liter pop bottle.
- Space Pods
Fairy- and moon-themed hanging baubles.
Fun Paper Mache Tutorials
- Pretty Teacups
Creative and artistic cups constructed from cardboard.
- Patterned Paper Doll
Cute doll covered with sewing pattern paper.
- Santo Figure
How to sculpt a doll shape out of foam pieces.
- Cardboard Giraffe Frame
How to make an animal frame which you can then paper mache over.
- Paper Mache Table
Construct a corrugated cardboard table for under $20.
- Pumpkin Tutorial & More
Detailed photo step-by-step, plus more in the sidebar.
- Chicken Wire Frame
Photos showing the creation of a ghostly wire mesh frame.
- Horror Head Mask
Awesome Halloween mask made with a base of corrugated cardboard.
- How To Make A Cloud
Brilliant and surreal clouds made from balloons, paper, and stuffing.
- Carrot Pencils
Fun chunky pencils made to look like carrots.
Large Handmade Sculptures
- Christmas Ornaments
Cover old ornaments with paper mache and then paint them in any design.
- Pull-Along Toys
Download free templates for making different animals.
- Sailing Boat
A beautiful paper mache boat - one of my favourite projects.
- Easter Egg Wreath
Pastel coloured egg shapes arranged on a wreath form.
- Figure Sculpture
Arty sculpture with a wire armature as the base.
- Paper Mache Instructables
An inspiring list of quirky ideas and things to make.
- Hot Air Balloons
A Martha Stewart craft which would make lovely kid's room decorations.
- Easter Nest
Easy bowl made from shredded paper.
- Paper Mache Birds
Cute and life-like animals with wire legs.
- Happy Camper Pinata
A very fun camper van design idea.
- Wall-Mounted Animal Heads
Fun and novel wall ornament in the shape of a unicorn head.
Click here for a tutorial showing you how to make these cute Halloween pumpkins out of paper mache clay.
More Things to Make
- Reclaimed Vase
How to transform a used plastic bottle into a painted vase.
- Paper Mache Statue
Build an awesome sculpture with a plastic bottle armature.
- List of Tutorials
Including a Tiki mask and an abominable snowman.
- A Camel
Photos to show how the base of a camel was made.
- Spartan Body Armor
Fantastic homemade fancy dress costume.
- Lightweight Paperclay Armor
Cardboard arm armor which looks so impressive when painted.
- Butterfly Wings
Very pretty wings which you could use to make wall art.
- Wall Art Figures
Cute idea for creating little characters for your walls - great for kid's rooms.
- DIY Coral
Elegant sculpture made using a wire armature.
Paper Mache in Progress
- Fairytale Mushrooms
Giant toadstools to turn your garden into a wonderland.
- Bird Mobile
Lovely whimsical mobile with paper mache bird ornaments.
- Venetian Masks
How to make your own Mardi Gras masquerade masks.
- Newspaper Taxidermy
The perfect designer addition to your wall.
- Christmas Ornaments
Perfect mini canvas to show off your artistic side.
- Mosaic Masquerade Masks
Using the pieces from a smashed Christmas decoration to add the glamor.
- Paper Clay Barnacles
Creative little bowls made by moulding paper clay around balloons.
- Polkadot Gold Bowls
Shallow bowls with a dotty gold leaf interior.
Paper Mache With Book Pages
More of The Best Paper Mache Products
The following products include a bag of ready-to-mix paper mache clay, a pack of paper clay, and hard coat Mod Podge glue for giving a protective coating to your project.
Inspiration & Creative Examples
- Sculpture Examples
A few impressive creations made with a cardboard frame inside.
- Flickr Gallery
A collection of paper mache projects uploaded by Flickr users.
- Emotional Snowballs
Neat idea for Christmas ornaments made with Styrofoam balls.
- Halloween Soulcatcher Prop
Awesome prop building skills on display here.
- Huge Scary Scarecrows
Super tall Halloween props which remind me of Dementors!