Introduction: Newspaper Block

Lamination is often used to increase the strength of the base material. We often think of plywood and glulam for their strength properties. I explored the effects of lamination on newspaper--a flimsy fibrous material. I also explored the effects of voids in the laminated stack. This was a fun DIY-style project that ended with some cool discoveries.

Step 1: Supplies

Required Materials:

  1. Newspaper
  2. Glue (any kind)
  3. Bowl or other Plastic Container
  4. Flat Surface


  1. Ruler
  2. Box Cutter
  3. Hair Dryer
  4. Murphy's Oil Soap Spray
  5. Found Objects to create Voids (applicator sticks, hot glue gun sticks, acrylic paint bottles)

Step 2: Preparing to Paper Mache

  1. Rip the newspaper into strips. I used a ruler as a straightedge to rip the newspaper faster. Using the Mustang News I was able to even get 3" and 6" strips.
  2. Diluting the glue. I used a simple mix of glue and water to create the adhesive for the newspaper block. I started the mix with a ratio of 2 parts glue to 1 part water. The consistency of the mix should be similar to pancake batter. However, I modified the mix by adding more water so that it would spread easier. I also mixed regular Elmer's glue and Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky glue so that the glue would dry faster.


Spray the found objects with Murphy's Oil Soap Spray so that it will pull out easier. Just a light spritz is enough for it.3

Step 3: Start Applying Layers

  1. Run the newspaper strip through the paper mache mix. The strip was too big to fit into the bowl, so I folded it in half and
  2. Use your fingers to spread the paste across the entire newspaper strip. I use my index and middle finger to squeeze the glue from the top of the strip down. Make sure to squeeze as much glue as you can off the strip so that the block will dry faster. After you've spread glue on both sides, open the strip back up.
  3. Apply the strip, with the glue side down, on to the flat surface or existing stack. Make sure to start on one side and gradually lay the strip down. Try to have as few air bubbles as possible. Use your fingers to smooth out each surface before moving on.

Step 4: Create Voids in the Stack

I used cylindrical objects to create voids in my newspaper block ranging in different sizes from applicator sticks to glue sticks to acrylic paint bottles.

Step 5: Drying and Removing Objects

I used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. After it felt sufficiently dry, I let it cool for a few minutes and then started removing the object. Some of the sticks and bottles were really tightly stuck so I had to really tug at it.

Step 6: Cleaning Up the Edges

After all the objects are removed and the stack is fully dry, I cleaned up the edges using a metal straightedge and an Olfa box cutter. Since it was so thick it took a lot of scores to cut through the entire thing. Be patient and go slow.

Step 7: Final Product

I cut the stack even smaller so that it was 6" x 3" x 1.5". The stack shows a good variety of voids and solids. It's also surprisingly stiff. The lamination of the many layers added strength to the stack. The circular voids actually makes the newspaper stack stiffer than the completely flat lamination.