Excellent anti-stress, the creation of decorative objects from papier-mâché is an activity that seduces both toddlers and adults. With a little practice and a lot of imagination, it is possible to create real works of art just with papier-mâché which, once dry, takes on the appearance of terracotta or ceramic. But before hoping to exhibit at the Louvre Museum, let’s see how to make your papier mâché and then make your first piece.
Materials Needed to Make Paper Mache
200 years ago, papier-mâché was used to create small furniture and countless lovely objects. Some dolls were also created this way. That is to say that it is interesting to know how to use it but above all how to prepare it.
Pour make paper macheyou just need to have on hand:
- Strips of paper whose width does not exceed 25 mm,
- Some water,
- A wooden stick,
- A brush,
- A container,
- An object/support to be covered with papier-mâché.
Depending on the object you want to achieve, you opt for a glue more or less strong. There are three possible solutions, namely:
- A homemade glue prepared from flour and water which has the advantage of not containing no toxic products. It can therefore be manipulated by children. This kind of glue is also very economical.
- From white glue mixed with water: there are 2 measures of glue for 1 measure of water if the glue is of moderate strength, or half/half if it is a strong glue.
- From powder glue (colle wallpaper) and water: the proportion to respect is 2/3 of glue for 1/3 of water. This is the solution to choose if you want to create objects paper mache resistant in the time.
Making papier-mâché yourself is a great way to recycler old papers and outdated newspapers.
How to make papier mache
We start by gathering all the necessary equipment listed above, and we make sure to have a sufficiently spacious work plan. It can be a large board placed on trestles for example. In any case, we do not clutter up a space that we use on a daily basis because the papier-mâché objects must dry for a certain time.
So here’s how to do it.
- Prepare the glue of your choice,
- Coat the object/support with oil to facilitate demolding (which will only occur later),
- Dip the strips of old paper and newspapers in the still lukewarm glue, or else first place the strips on the object and then soak them in glue using a brush. Whichever gluing method is chosen, the strips must be laid by criss-crossing them.
- Do not smooth the strips of paper too much if you want to obtain a raised or crumpled appearance.
- Repeat the operation until the support is completely covered with several layers of paper strips. The work will be stronger if this thickness is at least 4 mm.
- Allow to dry completely before unmolding. The duration of drying must be fromat least 72 hoursor even more because if there is any moisture left in the strips, the mold removal may go wrong and numerous touch-ups will be required.
- After unmolding, cut off any pieces of paper strips that stick out from the edge.
- Reinforce the edges for more solidity by gluing small strips of paper, which also helps to hide any defects. But in this case mark a new drying time of at least 3 days.
- Decorate the papier-mâché object, starting with a thick white acrylic undercoat to hide the various impressions of the old papers.
- Then apply the desired color, decorate with hand-painted patterns, beads, etc.
- Finally, let this creation dry for 3 to 4 weeks.
The DIY is trendy and it is not tomorrow that the enthusiasm of young and old for home-made is likely to wither. We can’t imagine all the wonders that can be created with nothing but flour or wallpaper paste, water and old newspapers destined to be thrown away. After making a few basic objects, everyone will be able to embolden themselves to create material effects, why not? Fine-tuning your creation with different finishing techniques can yield a truly stunning end result.