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paper mache box

#1 2003-05-13 19:28:27


paper mache box

hello to all...

i am new to the board and to the world of paper maching..so excuse any and all of my newbie questions.

i would like to create paper mache boxes that have lids, like the types that they sell in craft stores ready-to-paint.

i was just wondering..how do i start? do i have to use card board strips? just brown napkins? how do i make it sturdy? searching the web i saw directions on how to create a box..but it involved boiling card board strips, drying, dipping it in some type of oil, then drying it in the oven...and that isn't even the end of the directions..this just happens to sounds like a lot to me. i don't remember it being that difficult in 3rd grade.:-)

so..can anyone give me a general idea of what to use. and what do i use as a mold? frame mat?

as you can see..i'm lost.

any help..even a simple point of a finger in any direction could helpme out. i'd like to start a business of decorating boxes filled with cookies..and i just want to cut my cost as much as possible. would be it easier to just buy the boxes for 2.99, is the box making arena just too involved?

ok..i'm rambling.

thank you in advance.


#2 2003-05-14 12:39:39

From: Tennessee, USA
Registered: 2002-09-16
Posts: 49

Re: paper mache box

Welcome Shewrites!

Wishing you great luck on your new adventure! Now. . .on to the boxes. I've made some lidded boxes using stiff cardboard for the base. It's very time consuming as you must let each layer of mache dry before applying another (to avoid warp), then fitting the box together and maching over the joints. You could, however, do several boxes at one time. Consider also the fact that you must paint and treat.

My suggestion is that you may, in the long run, be happier with purchasing boxes.

Any other artist out there with a different perspective? Help for Shewrites?




#3 2003-05-17 12:16:05

david finch
From: hertford u.k
Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 10

Re: paper mache box

Hi Shewrites, probably your best bet is recycling old boxes such as shoe boxes (Childrens sizes are great), cigar boxes,  sturdy food packaging boxes. Reinforce with about four layers of glue and newspaper or use decorative papers and handmade  papers. Be careful not to put too many layers where the lid fits over the box.
Good Luck David Finch "Papers over the cracks"



#4 2003-05-19 16:53:34

From: Rising Sun Indiana
Registered: 2002-11-22
Posts: 22

Re: paper mache box

I agree with the others...recycling boxes or using cardboard with a few layers of papier mache over it seems like a much better way to go.
I often just cut out pieces of cardboard and fit them together, covering it over with layers of papier mache strips when i want flat forms. Making the boxes from scratch will most likely come out lumpy and misshapen.

If you want to sell boxes, it seems a better use of your time to
focus on painting the box and making it look beautiful! buyers don't care how many hours it took you to make the actual box, just what it looks like in the end. good luck!



#5 2003-05-19 20:31:33


Re: paper mache box

i've taken all that has brrn said into consideration and decided to "try out" paper maching over an already made box. if afterwards i sweat more blood and tears than my little gifts are worth..then i'll pay for already made ones. :-)

thank you once again. i'll be sure to tell my artsy-fartsy(ha!) friends if they ever need friendly expert advice in this are..this site is the one to come to.

i'll keep you guys updated on my stress/progress.


#6 2003-06-23 02:21:14

From: Enterprise, Alabama
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 67

Re: paper mache box


Boxes are soooo much fun to make.  Let your imagination tell you how to make your box.  Try one really original cookie box from scratch and sell it for a special price.  It can be in the shape of a cookie or a cookie jar, etc.  Get the picture?  It doesn't have to be square or rectangular.  It can be whimsical and ornamental.  You can enjoy painting it with variations on a theme simply by changing the colors or adding a few chocolate chips.

If it has to be square, simply use a bit of masking tape and light weight cardboard which is recycled from shirts, folders or gift boxes.  Sometimes, I completely free-hand the box and lid and others, with a pre-made box. 

If you get a chance, please glance at my mache page by following the link from my home page (http://www.rozani.com) to see my Pleasant Crescent and my Relic.  Those were made using two different methods.  The moon box was totally made from scratch, while the book box was an enhanced shirt box with lots of modifications.   Granted, those are large boxes, but you can work small.  It's fun to put texture and swirls on boxes.

If you choose conventional box shapes, here's what I suggest.  Instead of purchasing mache boxes retail, buy them wholesale in bulk.  Go on line and contact a supplier.  You will save and they have so many styles to choo smile se from.  Most wholesalers only require your tax number and they'll be glad to send you a catalog or let you view it on line.

They can even be cookie pouches made of mache and you can tie them off with ribbons.  Just dip, fold and let them dry in place.  Just a thought.

Have fun!




#7 2005-02-26 09:43:27

Denise Sheppard
From: uk
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 2

Re: paper mache box


I am new to this craft and am amazed that like me you are wanting to make boxes, I have been trying to figure it out, if buying pre-made ones or re-cycling would be the best option, I'm still at the "should I stage" I want to make a box which has compartments and think that maybe I'm being a bit ambitisous . Please let me know if you manage it (made from scratch)  big_smile 

I ahve to really make up my mind and go for it I think, nothing I have seen really covers my basic idea, so might have to keep looking.
Good luck with your project.



#8 2005-08-16 14:50:05

From: Michigan, USA
Registered: 2005-08-15
Posts: 50

Re: paper mache box

I am making boxes too, and have found that maching over the premade paper mache boxes (or using shoe boxes, etc) is the easiest to do.  Also, don't buy retail --- go wholesale.  I found a great wholesaler in California www.pedlars.com and click on the wholesale icon.  They do require a sales tax license to purchase wholesale.  I can get a 7-1/2" x 7-1/2" x4" (h) square box with lid for like $0.80 cents (give or take a few).

I started to make a box from scratch last night, and it is very time consuming.  When all is done, I'm afraid it won't be as sturdy as the boxes I've paper mached in the past.

Good luck!



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