Picture of Paper Mache
Paper mache! Whether you're making a Halloween mask or an Instructables Robot, paper mache is the way to go. The possibilities are endless and you are only limited by your imagination. Paper mache is a simple process that has no right or wrong way, it allows you to be very creative. Through this instuctable I will cover a few different techniques used in the art of paper mache.
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Step 1: Gather Supplies...

Picture of Gather Supplies...
You should be able to find all of the necessary supplies around your house. Depending on how creative you want to get you may need to make a trip to your local craft store to decorate your creation!

First you will need to make a form. You can use almost anything for a form, but here are some suggestions:
-Cardboard (cereal boxes, or corrugated)
-Plastic bags
-Toilet paper/ paper towel tubes
-Masking tape

Next you need to paper mache your form. So what do you use?
-Brown paper towels (optional)
-Warm water
-Paper mache paste mix (in place of flour, salt, and water.)

Tools you will need:
-Mixing bowl/ milk jug
-Smaller bowl/ cereal bowl
-X-acto knife
-Paint brush

After you're all done you need to decorate you paper mache. Get creative, use paint or even glitter.

Step 2: Create a form

Picture of Create a form
You can use many different objects as forms. If making a mask, balloons work well. Bunched up paper and masking tape also works well and allows you to do more free forming. I used corrugated cardboard, toilet paper tubes, construction paper, and masking tape to make my form. I chose to make an instructables robot. I referred to the Instructables Robot -- Paper Model instructable written by =SMART= when making this design. Thanks =SMART= !

Step 3: Tear paper strips

Picture of Tear paper strips
I have found that newspaper works best. Some people like to use brown paper towels for a smoother final layer. If you have access to brown papertowels, I'd say go for it. If not, it's not a big deal... Tear your paper into strips about one inch by six inches. If your strips are too wide you might get wrinkles and not a completely smooth surface.
lostbord9995 years ago
One thing I have found to make the Paper Mache mixture is to use a bit of elmers glue. It tends to make things stick to gether a little better also makes it a bit smother. Just from my experience.
bounty10125 years ago
Lol, this is freaking sweet! but, its spelled papier mache. xD
Earthy Eric (author)  bounty10125 years ago
hey, thanks! yea, papier, paper.. tomato, tomoto, potato, pototo. it can go either way i suppose
pehan5 years ago
This is the nicest Instructable I've read all year! Hooray for you Earthy Eric!
=SMART=5 years ago
Awesome ! Its really big ! :D
wiljo945 years ago
can you put this on your face if you want to make a mask(leaving holes to breathe of course)?
Earthy Eric (author)  wiljo945 years ago
I'm not a 100% sure. It might be worth a shot. You would probably have to cover the face of whoever you plan on casting in petroleum jelly so the paper mache wouldn't stick. I'm not sure how well it would out though, paper mache takes a while to dry. Paper mache might not be the best route. If you give it a try, let me know, I'd be interested in how it comes out.
heathbar645 years ago
I read in a book about prop making, that you could lay up paper mache in a plaster mold, kinda like doing fibreglass. Has anybody tried that? I think it would work great for making prototypes and stuff.
Indeed, paper strips, if very very small, can be laid in an unsealed plaster mold, to create relatively detailed casts. The "secret" is to lay a few layers of wet toilet paper at first, until the plaster cannot be seen. Make sure you orverlap on the edges of the mold ( the mold must have 2 inches of flat sides, this prevents shrinkage and warping of the paper) This becomes both the detail layer, and the release. Then you gently paint a layer of slightly diluted white glue inside that layer, to hold it down. When dry, apply paper strips as usual. I recommend coffee filters and outdoor carpenter's glue, 6 layers minimum (I use 8 to 10). Let dry in front of a fan, at lowest setting, and in 8 hours or less you'll have something that can be set enough to remove from the mold, but still flexible (to avoid breakage).

I make puppets from this method, and thet can be violently thrown against a wall, they'll just bounce back, unharmed. As long as it's not cold temperature (any cured pva glue becomes brittle with cold, gets back to full strength at comfortable temperature)

My processes are described in my Laboratory blog.
Alas, as of now, I have not written an article about the plaster casting, though I have one in the works about making a hot glue mold, and the same casting paper mache in it. Shall complete in a few months. Too booked for now.

In the meantime, you can see my results on my portfolio (specifically for plaster casts, see the Polichinelle and Jerome 2 glove puppets.
Earthy Eric (author)  heathbar645 years ago
I've never tried it, I think I might give it a try though. If anyone tries it, post some pictures, it sounds pretty cool.
mexibilly5 years ago
Well explained, good pictures, and clever idea and i found this very helpful
PKTraceur5 years ago
Nice! I just needed the recipe, but you went quite in depth. -PKT
Earthy Eric (author)  PKTraceur5 years ago
Thanks! I hope my instructable was helpful. -Eric