My kids LOVE paper mache (Or papier mache in true french style). It’s a really easy and really versatile activity. You can make so much stuff with paper mache from easy blobs to really complicated and intricate things. It’s squelchy and squishy and a really tactile experience. So much fun and really easy. It’s a great activity for all ages.
A paper mache project takes a few days to complete as you have to allow it to dry before you can paint it. Drying time will depend on your climate. Here in Spain, most things dry in a day or two. In a colder climate you’ll need a bit longer (or a radiator).
Things you’ll need for paper mache
- Old newspaper
- Wall Paper Paste (It’s really cheap if you go to a hard ware store. In the UK, we bought ours from Wicks.) You can use a different type of glue if you like, but you need a large quantity of it.
- A big bowl to mix things.
- Protective aprons and table cloth (we use daddy’s old shirts and a large piece of cardboard box that the table came in.)
How to make Paper Mache
- Mix up some wall paper paste according to the packet. I just add some water and see how we go.
- Rip up the newspaper and add. You can either add the newspaper into the paste and make a large mass of yack (you’ll need to squeeze it out to use it otherwise it’ll never dry). Or you can dunk a bit of paper into the paste before you use it. It depends on what you’re doing. Both ways are fine.
Once you have your paper mache, you can start to make whatever you like. We love to make helmets and other things by using a balloon. Or you can squelch it together to form balls to make statues, or finger puppets or angry birds.
Let your kids use their imagination and creativity. It’s so easy that they can make simple things themselves.
Allow it to dry and then get painting. This is a great activity for all the family. Often my parents join in on a rainy day when we have paper mache blobs to make!
Paper mache, messy-ish play.
Paper mache is slightly messy. It’s a bit like paint really in that if you keep it neat and tidy it’s fine but when kids get involved, it seems to get everywhere! But it’s easy to clean up too.
If you’ve never tried it, give it a go. If you have, what is your best project?