R . M . H



Various Papier Mache'  Projects



Papier Mache' Vase


Session One (One Hour)

  1. Pass out wallpaper paste/glue in small paper cups, the brushes, 18" sheets of freezer paper( the project should be worked and stored on this paper), and sections of newspapers.

  2. Inflate balloon, a little smaller than the maximum size.

  3. Center cup and tape to the top of the balloon. Position well before taping.  Do not remove tape once on balloon, as this damages the balloon surface and will result in the deflating of the balloon.  This may result in a burst or a slow deflation over-night. If the balloon deflates, insert another balloon into the remaining void and inflate. (One of the nicest vases was made with the cup taped bottom.  Try to encourage independent thinking.)

  4. Crumple a sheet of newspaper, smooth it back out and then roll into a thin tube.

  5. Tape the tube at one end and twist to make a coil or snake. Tape at the middle and other end, so that the twisting is secured.

  6. Now take the snake/coil and form a circle that will become the base. Compare to the bottom of balloon for size. Carefully tape to the bottom, never remove the tape once on the balloon.

  1. Tear newspaper into strips (about 1" x 3")

  2. Cover the project with wallpaper paste glue. 

  3. Apply strips of newspaper, starting around the bottom base and working upward. Then moving from the cup downward.  Apply strips in alternating directions, being sure to apply glue before putting another strip down. Glue, strip, glue, cross strip.

  1. There are several way to apply the glue and strips of paper.

    1. Brush on glue, apply strip, brush glue over strip. Glue. Strip. Glue.  Cross-Strip.  Emphasize that two pieces of paper cannot be stuck together without a layer of glue.  Crossing or weaving applications work best.  If one piece is laid vertical, then the next piece is laid horizontal.  Working from tips (ends) toward the center is best. (The neatest method)

    2. Smear the glue on with the hands and then applying the strips. (The best for shaping fun forms, but dries slowly and is very messy.)

    3. Dip the strips in the glue and squeeze off excess glue by pulling strips between gently closed fingers.  (Most pliable paper, reflects the form underneath. Medium messy.)

  2. Encourage students to make as many layers as possible. (Using plain newsprint instead of newspaper is a way of keeping track of layers)

  3. Textures can be added by soaking strips and balls of paper in the glue, sticking to the vase, and working with fingers or tools  to final desired shape.

  4. Carefully brush on a layer of gesso, using soft brushes.  Depending on the gesso, thin to brushable consistency but leave thick enough to cover the newspaper.  If blank newsprint is used a thinner gesso may be used.  Let dry for several days.

Session 2 (with clean-up 1 hour)

  1. This is the fun session, break out the acrylic paints and let them at it.  It can be fun to suggest themes (pets, summer activities, Greek urns).

  2. A hair dryer on a low setting can speed the drying of the paint, if students need to take work home that day.






Papier Mache' Mask


This mask was gessoed and painted with acrylic paints.


Supply List:

  • Wallpaper Paste (Dry wheat paste is the traditional medium; however, many instructors are using the pre-mixed liquid.  It's more expensive, but convenient for smaller groups.)

  • Utility Brushes (1" bristle, house painting brush is excellent)

  • Masking tape (inexpensive variety works fine)

  • Newspaper 

  • Aluminum Foil

  • Paint (Gesso and Acrylic Paints are preferred. You can use tempera, but it has a tendency to flake.)

  • Optional: Various Bric-A-Brac

  • Optional: Acrylic Medium (Gloss or Matt) or Acrylic Poly-urethane










Halloween Fun

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rmhershberger.com    Last Modified: 09/11/2008 13:59:21