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Frequently asked questions

In this section are some of the most fequently asked questions when starting with papier mache. Problems you may encounter when dealing with papier mache can often be remedied very simply and hopefully this section will answer some of those questions.

  • How long will my papier mache take to dry?

    The answer varies according to how many layers you have used if it is layered, or how thick it is if you use pulp. Also the temperature and humidity of the room it is left to dry in.

  • Is there anything I can do to speed up the drying process?

    You can help it along by leaving it somewhere warm (not hot) and in a place where the air can get to it. If it is a dry day, it can be left outside in a breeze. If indoors, an electric fan would be useful.

  • I covered a balloon with papier mache and the balloon shrunk before it was dry. Why?

    This would have been caused by one of two reasons; firstly, the balloon may not have been knotted tightly enough. Secondly, the balloon may have been left in a cooler place to dry than where it was covered. The air inside the balloon expands and contracts, therefore it must be kept at a constant temperature during the drying process.

  • My covered balloon burst it's seams before the papier mache dried. Why?

    The air inside the balloon got too hot and expanded so that it split the papier mache. Once covered, the balloon must be kept at the same temperature.

  • My finished work was very bobbly.

    You probably didn't smooth down the paper enough and trapped air between the layers.

  • My papier mache bowl distorted.

    A certain amount of distortion is expected, and indeed adds to the appeal of papier mache. If your finished work is very badly misshapen though, your glue may have been too watery or it was left to dry in a hot place.