Instructables

Make paper mache pulp

You can make just about anything out of paper mache. The paper mache pulp is what gives all those fantastic projects their detail and dimention. We all know how to make something out of simple paper mache (glue and water and some strips of newspaper). You make you're general form out of that stuff (as enjoyable as that stuff still is) but where do you go from there? Where are all the details and the protrusions that define a face or an animal or a halloween monster or WHATEVER!? It's basically modeling clay for paper mache. And it's the cheapest and easiest thing to make in the world!
 
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Step 1: Prepare your materials

Before you begin make sure that you have all of the following things:

1. a strainer spoon
2. a closed spoon (which isn't shown below)
3. one pot that is good for boiling and that you might not mind being a little gross, although this project isn't particularly messy.... but just in case (you never know).
4. LOTS and LOTS of Elmer's white glue. It doesn't necessarily have to be Elmer's, any white PVA glue will do. Just make sure that you don't come short of it.
5. And of course toilet paper!

Believe it or not with this project I have actually experimented with about 3 different types/brands of toilet paper and haven't come up with MUCH of difference. But after you read through this knock yourself out and see what you can come up with.
anaqvi21 year ago
hi doldrum.
I've gone through some two or three paper mache recipes by now and this one is quiet simple and sounds good.
I wanted to ask that if we use newsprint for that we will get a clay that is not so white so how should we paint or color our sculptors made of paper mache. And how long does it take to dry. Using this recipe?
LadyZandra22 years ago
For large amounts, I use 5-gallon buckets with lids-- get an extra lid and use a boring-bit to make a hole in the center of the lid to pull thru the drill's paint-mixing arm! No mess!!! You can also use carpenters glue for added strength & water resistance!
pacwoods2 years ago
I have soaked hand schredded newspapers in a big bucket, let them
soak for a day or so. A handful of salt helps discourage mold while the pulp is wet. Then I used one of those paint stirrers (long metal things you attach to an electric drill) to pulpify the mess.

Then I use nylon net to strain out most of the water.

Add your water friendly adhesive of choice (white glue, flour paste or cement) and model away.

** Be careful when using the "drill mixer". A slow or variable speed drill is best. A one speed drill will sling water & pulp everywhere! Pulsing the drill helped to keep the drill from overheating. Go slow! Stop frequently. Clear the pulp from the
metal stirrer frequently. I don't need to mention you should do this outside, right?
and wear old clothes.



donnadidit2 years ago
I am wondering if I can use Gesso instead of the white glue for this step ? I don't have any white glue now and i have a boat load of gesso .. so do you think that might work instead of the white glue ?
A few tidbits from my experience: Office copy paper works well too. I used to take a two liter bottle, fill it 2/3 with hot water and stuff full of crumpled trashed copy paper (hence recycled instead of repurposed). Then I'd put the lid on and shake it up and down until it went to pulp. Good cardio & no need for those shake weights they show on tv! From there, I would pour the pulp out and into an old pair of my wife's pantyhose to drain. Same idea as yours, different approach. One year, as a matter of fact, I didn't use the glue. Instead I pressed the pulp around an inverted plastic bowl (heat resistant) about 1/2" thick and put in the oven to dry over low heat. That was about 10 years ago & I still have the paper bowl. (After it dried, I laid strips of colored tissue paper across it and painted it with water-based polyurethane finish, which acted like a glue to hold the paper on. Did that for the outside and inside of the paper mache bowl. Makes a great popcorn bowl).
Is that something that we can mold? Mold in a way like how we mold clays.

thank you :)
raniekta3 years ago
thank you so much.......i was striving hard to know about the preservative used in paper pulb.....is there any preservative used?....do let me know..
thanks a lot
nail face4 years ago
 hey instead of soaking the newspaper or toilet paper you could put the paper threw a paper shredder and throw it in a blender with some water thats what i do
Bobblob5 years ago
Very interesting Instructable, thank you! I wonder if finely cut ( maybe shredded ) newsprint or old newspaper could be used instead of toilet paper? Anyone every try that, Doldrum?
Doldrum (author)  Bobblob5 years ago
yep, newsprint will work just as well! Whenever I've used newsprint i've let the shredded pieces soak in some warm water for a long while before starting on all the above steps though... but you're right... newsprint is great too!
mrfoltz Doldrum4 years ago
I'm glad you mentioned this because I was going to ask anyone if I could use paper I shredded [like old bills, letters and personal info that could be used for identity theft] to recycle, because I have a few garbage bags full so far...
So... I think I'm going to soak the shredded paper for a day in a container, with a cap of bleach, and then blend it... And then start from there...
Great ideals!
Bobblob mrfoltz4 years ago
mrfolts,
I now have successfully used newspaper to make paper mache clay and the paper used makes a real difference. 

The tissue paper mentioned in this instructable makes a very "creamy" and smooth clay while the newspaper clay, that I mostly use is less "creamy".  You can add wall board compound to the mix  as well. 

I have even used the treated and ground up paper insulation sold in the large  DIY stores and found it makes a clay that has "sharp" little points in it because it uses all kinds of paper.   Glossy paper will soften and breakdown differently than newspaper.  

I current have a bag of collected dryer "lint" waiting to be used as the binder in another version of paper mache clay.   The adventure continues.  See some of my stuff here:  http://www.bobblob.20m.com/photo3.html
ANDY!4 years ago
I made something similar by soaking bits of paper in warm water and putting them in a blender.
deafman2144 years ago
lol by the by nice instuctable
bullykai4 years ago
Awesome info, thank you.  When should detailing start ? Just curious if you dont need the water really why boil toilet paper does this help break down the small strips to almost powder like size?
Buy U A Bev4 years ago
What is a good amount of materials (even for the regular paper mache) to make 8 of the Slipknot masks... the only one we are excluding is Craig jones. If you think it makes a difference were doing the masks from All Hope Is Gone
Doldrum (author)  Buy U A Bev4 years ago
You could start off with a cast of your face to use as a base, or you could cheat and buy one of those plastic mardi gras masks from a craft store ;) Then just keep building up the layers. I usually stick to paper bags for my bottom layers and then use softer materials like tissue for textures. For 8 masks I think if you invested in some yard bags you'd be okay :)
Depending on what you want to stick it all together with... . one bottle of white elmers should last just fine.
If you want to build up appendages you might want to have some newspaper and masking tape around...... take a look at this blog, (some things are easier explained visually) http://ultimatepapermache.com/cheap-art/paper-mache-mask
I hope that this helps! good luck!
coolguy264 years ago
Thank you If I put it on paper Will it harden the paper? What is paper mache anyway?
Doldrum (author)  coolguy264 years ago
Since the paste is moist when you are working with it would moist likely seep into the paper and harden it. Usually you apply it to some kind of armature, a shape that you want the material to form to. Paper mache is a construction material usually made up of shredded pieces of paper that is made stronger by any number of ingredients: glue, flour, combinations. Wouldn't want to pave my driveway with it, but end results can be really strong!
murielwpo5 years ago
I tried to make a comment, but was told it was 'not formatted correctly'. Have NO idea what that means.
Guardians385 years ago
lol you said by the by... = )
idance385 years ago
Thank you so much, I am definitely going to try this procedure and it seems very well thought out and thorough. x
darlenek5 years ago
I'm definitely going to give this a shot. Found your information very thorough and informative. Thank you. -darlenek
good project for kids (them molding with it)......as long as they know it is NOT mashed potatoes....he he he
Doldrum (author)  explosivemaker5 years ago
hahahaha not minutes ago my brother was standing over it with a fork and pepper. Thanks so much for the nice comment!