These are the papermache birds that the kids painted in the latest kids art class. (Somebody's bluebird in the back was heavily influenced by Karen Michel. ;) )I premade them before class from papermache pulp made from newspaper endrolls. Our class is only an hour and a half and I wanted them to be able to be able to paint in this class. After painting the birds, they received a Gladware tub of wet papermache to mold with and take home. This way they got the best of both in one day! I also sent home a printed sheet about paper mache.
There are two basic methods of paper mache. The first is dipping strips of paper in glue/liquid paste and laying them across a form. This is how piñatas are made. The second is to make a paper mache pulp. This is the method we’re using.
Tear the newspaper into small pieces and put them in a large bowl or bucket. Add enough hot water to completely cover the newspaper. Let soak overnight or for several hours.
After your newspaper has soaked, it's time to really start smushing it up. Tear it up, squash it, squeeze it. Try to get as many lumps out as possible. If necessary, add a bit more water and let it soak a little more. You want to consistency of oatmeal.
Once you have it as smooth as possible, add a few tablespoons of salt to help retard mold. Mix it again with your hands. Once mixed thoroughly, squeeze out any excess water and add a few tablespoons of glue. Now you are ready to use your paper mache pulp.
Store your pulp in an air tight ziploc or tub in the refrigerator for several days to a week.
I also like to finish my projects with a thin layer of tissue paper and white glue on the outside for a smoother appearance.
To dry your project leave in a warm dry area for several days or until it feels light and is not moist at all. You can also bake it at about 300 for an hour or so depending on the thickness. Be sure to watch it carefully. I keep a toaster oven in my art room just for clay and paper mache projects. Works beautifully for this!
You can buy also buy dry paper mache pulp at a craft store. I try to emphasize recycling in crafting as much as possible, however, so I suggest the following sources:
- Recycling your newspapers. The only drawback to this is the ink makes it a bit sludgy.
- End rolls from the newspaper office – The local news office charges $2-3 for these and they also make excellent drawing paper.
- Some shipping companies pack with sheets of thin paper that is just like newsprint paper.
Next week we're doing ATCs. They're already pumped about them! :)