Paper Mache Techniques

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Paper mache is AWESOME! It is such a wonderful and tactile art material to use with kids and one of my favouriet paper crafts ever. Make your own homemade papier mache paste, add some newspaper… and your imagination is the limit.

There are different ways to work with paper mache! Here are some of the most popular techniques for creating papier mache projects with kids that we have had a go at here on Red Ted Art.

Collage showing different paper mache technique for kids

Paper mache balloons

toddler making balloon paper mache

The balloon is probably the most popular way to make something with paper mache. I think everyone has a memory of “layering newspaper strips” across a balloon. Whether you were covering the WHOLE balloon (to make pinatas, piggy banks or giant eggs) or just half the balloon (to make papier mache bowls), this is a fun way to work with papier mache and kids! This was a great technique for making our simple Solar System with my preschooler.

We also used the ballon technique for:

Paper mache pulp

using paper mache pulp to make paper mache bowls

Making paper mache pulp is fun. It turns into a kind of “putty” or clay.. and can be used to shape anything you want really. Papier mache pulp works best if “pressed into bowls” or other moulds. We loved making some Summer Fruits Papier Mache Bowls this way.

We have a great video on how to make papier mache pulp here – we used shredded paper in this video, but you can also use shredded newspapers:

We used this paper pulp technique for:

Paper mache cardboard frames

Cardboard frames to make paper mache projects

You can use cardboard to build basic frames – using masking tape or ordinary tape to connect parts together and then carefully layer it with newspaper strips. This basically was the technique we used when making our Cardboard Pirate Ship. Which has lasted us years of play!

Combination approach to Paper Mache

Making paper mache projects

I wasn’t really sure what to call this technique.. as we kind of made it up as we went along. It is very similar to the cardboard frame technique: fashioning a type of “base frame” from other materials. In this case, where we made a Papier Mache Erupting Volcano we fashioned base frame from a Water Bottle (needed to hold the “eruption”), scrunched up newspaper and masking tape. But you can make base frames out of cardboard too, or use styrofoam shapes (though they are bad fro the environment… so maybe avoid those!). Similarly, we have used egg shells covered in papier mache to make DIY maracas. So this technique is about seeing what you have in your recycling box!

We used this layering papier mache technique for

Paper mache and chicken wire

preschooler painting papier mache sculpture of sheep

The most advance methos is probably using chicken wire! This is definitely more labour intensive, but you can sculpt some amazing shapes and large structures this way. Our friends made a “Shaun the Sheep Sculpture” in this way! This is a super fun way to sculpt if you have more time!

Fabric Mache and other materials

Demonstration of fabric mache bowls

You can also “papier mache” fabric – though I would not necessarily use the homemade papier mache paste but a PVA / glue based papier mache paste or indeed other materials. Like in our Fabric Mache Bowls!

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of different Papier Mache Techniques and that you feel inspired to have a go!

Check out more of our Newpaper Craft Ideas here:

Collage of newspaper crafts