A Beginner’s Guide to Papier Mache

Papier Mache is a really fun craft to learn and do.  Here you will find out everything you need to know about how to create papier mache objects!


Papier Mache always reminds me of my school days when art lessons would involve quite a bit of papier mache!

I very vividly remember once creating a papier mache ball – we pasted the special mixture over a regular balloon and then once it was dry we popped the balloon – and lo and behold we had a papier mache ball!

It was a great craft to do at school – it was somewhat messy (kids love that!), you didn’t feel like you were actually doing ‘school work’, and you could create some amazing things!

Papier Mache is a really really fun craft to try and do.  You can really use your hands and imagination to create some amazing things with paper and a gluey mixture! You don’t need to be a kid to appreciate the fun creativity of papier mache.

What is Papier Mache?

Papier mache, (pronounced “pap-ee-ay mash-ay,”) is a crafting technique involving paper and a paste-like mixture to create a wide variety of objects.

The name itself comes from the French words “papier” meaning paper and “mache” meaning mashed or mashed-up.  That is exactly what papier mache is all about – mashing up paper to form unique creations! 

Where Did Papier Mache Originate?

The origins of papier mache can actually be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt and Persia.

These ancient civilizations this method to create masks and coffins. However, it was during the Renaissance period in Europe that papier mache started to flourish and gain popularity.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, papier mache became a fashionable and affordable alternative to expensive woodwork and decorative items.

Papier mache was extensively used to create ornate furniture, intricate boxes, and even musical instruments.

The technique then spread to other parts of the world, with each culture adding its own unique touch and designs to the craft.

How Do You Make Papier Mache?

Making your own papier mache is incredibly easy and fun! Here is a simple step-by-step guide to start your own:

1. Gather your materials:
You will need torn or shredded newspaper, a paste mixture, a bowl, and a mold (if desired).

2. Prepare the paste:
There are various paste recipes that you can use, but a basic one involves mixing equal parts of flour and water until the mixture is a smooth consistency. You can also add some salt to the mixture to prevent the growth of mold.

3. Dip and layer:
Dip the newspaper strips into the paste mixture, making sure that each piece is thoroughly coated. Then start layering the strips onto your chosen mold or shape. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired thickness and shape.

4. Let it dry:
Allow your creation to dry completely. This may take a few hours or even a couple of days, depending on the size and thickness of your project.

5. Decorate and finish:
Once your papier mache is fully dry, you can paint, varnish, or decorate it as you wish. Get creative and let your imagination run wild!

Crafts to Create with Papier Mache

Papier Mache is a really versatile crafting technique that can create so many different objects and designs.

You can create practical items, decorative pieces, and also fun pieces such as party supplies with Papier Mache.

Here are a few ideas of Papier Mache crafts that you may want to create:

You can create your own pinatas for birthday parties and other fun gatherings.  Making a pinata is also really fun and rewarding. You can choose your own shapes and colors for your creations, and fill it with whatever you want to!

Decorative Bowls
You can make some amazing decorative or functional bowls with Papier Mache.  To make a bowl you will need a mold, either a balloon or a bowl. 

To this mold you add strips of newspaper that are dipped in the special paste.  You will layer the strips over the mold and then let it dry. Once the bowl is dry you need to gently remove the mold and then paint the bowl in the colors you choose.

Papier Mache can be used to create some amazing masks for holidays such as Halloween. You can even create an amazing mask for a masquerade party. 

To make a mask you will shape a mask base over a face mold or your own face. Once this base is dry you can paint it and decorate it as you want.

Papier Mache can also be used to create some amazing sculptures. This requires a bit more creativity and more work and time, but it is well worth it.

You can create abstract shape sculptures, animals, and all kinds of things! To make a papier mache sculpture you will need to start with a wire armature in the shape that you desire.

You then cove the armature with the papier mache mixture to build up the form. Once the form is dry you can color, paint and embellish it.


Papier Mache is also a really great craft project to do because you can just experiment and try all kinds of different shapes and objects!


Papier Mache is a really fun craft to learn and do.  Here you will find out everything you need to know about how to create papier mache!

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