Layered papier mache
Paste the strips of paper both sides with a paintbrush.
Place your strips one at a time over the object to be covered and smooth down to remove air bubbles. Cover with two to three layers at a time. Donï¿½t put too many on at once or it will take too long to dry.
When it is completely dry, you can gradually build up as many layers as you require until you have the required thickness.
To add features such as rims, handles or decoration, stick pieces of cardboard onto the model with masking tape. Cover the whole object in more papier mache.
- Example painted bowl
You can then paint it using any paints you like. For a simple project using the layering method, see my tutorial "Bowled Over"
Pulped papier mache
This method will make a mixture of clay-like papier mache to sculpt with.
To make a pulp, soak some torn up newspaper in water overnight. Drain, and then boil in some clean water for about 30 minutes, until the fibres start to break up. Sieve the pulp and throw away the water. Beat or whisk the pulp to break up the fibres. Mix the adhesive into the pulp until it forms a clay-like consistency.
Paper mache sculpture
All kinds of throw away materials can be used to sculpt with papier mache:
Cardboard boxes - Sides can be cut out to make flat panels.
Wire netting - this can be cut and bent into all sorts of shapes and then covered with papier mache. Watch the sharp edges!
Bamboo canes - these can be cut to length and used to hold a sculpture rigid.
Have a look around and you will be surprised just how many things you can find to use.
Painting papier mache
Virtually any paint can be used to paint your papier mache artwork. The most popular paint is water based acrylic. It is easy and clean to use, not too expensive and comes in a large variety of colours. It is also quick drying.
Poster paints can be used but you have to be careful not to use a water based varnish on them or the colours will smudge.
You can use up old gloss or enamel paints that you have lying around. The important thing to remember is that whatever paint you use, you must seal your work first. A household emulsion paint is ideal. A couple of coats should do it.
I hope you feel inspired to try your hand at papier mache. It really is great fun!