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How to paper mache

Paper mache projects are easy and fun, and you probably already have most of the supplies at home. You can create numerous projects with paper mache including piñatas, masks, globes, animals and even jewelry. Here’s how to get your paper mache project underway.

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What you’ll need

Flour or glue; water; newspaper; markers; paint; construction paper; and balloons or other products to create your form

Step 1: Create the form

You can make a form with balloons, paper towel rolls, newspaper, cardboard, plastic bottles, paper cups, egg cartons, pie plates or anything else that can provide a base for your creation. Use masking tape to hold your form together.

Step 2: Tear newspaper strips

Tear newspaper strips before you begin pasting. Torn strips of paper work better than cleanly cut strips. Try tearing them at least two to three inches wide and three to five inches long, depending upon the size of your project.

Step 3: Make the paste

There are many ways to make paper mache paste but these two are the easiest. To make flour paste, mix one part flour with two parts water. To make a glue paste, mix one part water with two to three parts white glue. If you are working with very young children, the flour paste is safest because it is edible.

Step 4: Start pasting

Dip one strip of newspaper at a time into the paste. Run the strip between two fingers over the paste bowl to remove excess paste. Place the strip on the form and smooth it down. Continue laying strips over the entire form, overlapping and laying them in different directions. Once you’ve covered the form, let the project dry completely before adding another layer — up to 24 hours. Apply at least two or three layers of paper mache for a solid finish. If you used flour paste, cover the extra and place it in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Step 5: Paint, color or decorate

Once the project is dry, you can decorate it. Enjoy getting creative with your kids using paper rolls, construction paper, markers, paint, pipe cleaners and anything else you have around the house.

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