Introduction: Phone Book Paper Mache

About: At the Eureka! Factory, we love making things, and thinking about things, and learning about things, and enjoy helping empower others to a curiosity driven life, too, so we can all live and learn in meaningful…

For some strange reason, we still get telephone books delivered. I've tried to remove our address from Yellow and White Pages, and from a variety of other hard copy phone directories that were delivered to our home several times a year. But for some reason, I still get one little yellow pages style phone book directory plopped on my driveway once or twice a year.

I usually toss them into the recycle bin. After all, I can look up any number or address I want online. But this time, I flipped through it and realized the pages are this newsprint weight paper and thought, hmmm - I bet you could make some nice paper mache out of this stuff.

By golly, you can!

Step 1: Materials

You'll need:

  • Phone book
  • Mixing container
  • Glue
  • Small paint brush
  • Scissors

You will also want some items for molding your paper mache - jars, balloons, etc. The Press N Seal is for covering whatever you want to mold your paper mache over, for easy removal from the mold.

Step 2: Prepare Your Mold

In this case, I used a small jar, which I covered with Press N Seal before apply paper mache.

Step 3: Prepare Paper

Tear off a few pages from the phone book, and cut them into narrow strips, about an inch wide.

Step 4: Prepare Paper Mache Glue

There are several different recipes for paper mache glue, but this one is the simplest and worked fine for my purposes here. In a container, mix up 1 part white glue to 3 parts water and stir.

Step 5: Soak Paper

Take a few strips of your paper and soak them completely in your paper mache glue. As you pull each soaked strip out of the container, squeegee it through your fingers, to remove excess glue.

Step 6: Cover Mold

Layer strips over your mold until it's completely covered. Use the paint brush to smooth out areas as needed.

Step 7: Allow to Dry

Once you've got your mold evenly covered to your satisfaction, leave it to dry. When it's partly dry, you can loosen it from the mold slightly, for easy removal when completely dry.

Step 8: Repeat!

When your form is dry, Completely remove it from the mold, and add another layer of paper mache to it. If you're using a balloon, just keep adding layers to that. This is a good time to finish edges, by layering paper smoothly along them and pressing them down.

Step 9: Dry Completely

After a couple of layers of paper mache, your finished product is actually fairly strong. When it's completely dry, you can paint it.

Step 10: Paint

For our little paper mache cup, I overturned it on a stick and spray painted it. You can also hand paint, and detail artistically anyway you'd like.

Step 11: Use and Enjoy!

You can complete with designs, or stickers, like I did for my little pencil and pen holder. And -voila! - a nice use for phone books! No more saving up piles of newspaper for your next paper mache project. Just save those phone books, which pile up neatly and nicely contain your newsprint.

Happy crafting!

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