Paper mache is a medium used for arts and crafts made out of recycled paper and some glue to bind the paper with. The paper pulp is molded dried and painted. The word paper mache comes from the French word Papier-mache which means chewed up paper. Paper mache is used to make ornaments, decorations, figurines and things of that nature. It is both an economic and eco-friendly crafting hobby. Any paper from newspapers to old gift wrap can be used to make a paper mache.
When larger crafting projects are done, the paper mache is usually attached to some molded structure underneath it to give and keep its shape with. People use a wide variety of things as their underneath structures for their paper mache projects.
Inflated balloons, styrofoam, toilet paper, and paper towel core rolls, wire, bent in a particular shape, and even cans and containers are used as the inner structure model for a paper mache project. Balloons and styrofoam are ideal because they are light in weight depending on what you are trying to make. With paper mache, there are few rules you can be as creative as the medium allows for. There are many variations on how to make the paper mache, but they all have one ingredient in common which is the recycled paper.
Paper mache can be very messy, so you want to work in an area that is protected from the paper mache. Laying a drop cloth is very important when you work with paper mache. If not plastic coverings with newspaper on top can also serve to protect your surrounding area.
Before you begin to put the paper mache on the structure you intend to use; it is recommended that you make a model or pattern first so you can know what you are going to do. Once you have your basic model or structure, ready you can then proceed to prepare the paper mache.
To make paper mache, it involves using strips of paper and a type of glue that you make to dip the paper strips in that cover the structure or model you have premade. You cover the structure until it is completely covered in the paper mache.
Once that is done, you then leave it there to dry. Some people then go over the first layer again creating several more layers of paper mache on the structure to dry. When the paper mache is thoroughly dried, you can then paint it with water-based or acrylic paint to finish the project. Paper mache is easy to do and with practice, you can make beautiful crafts from paper mache.