Paper Mache

Materials: Newspaper strips 1/4 to 1 inch wide by 5 to 6 inches long.  A thin paste of lour and water, with about 1 Tbsp salt added per 1 quart water, to preserve the mixture during drying.

A form to coat with paper mache.  This could include:

  • Cardboard cut in a special shape (like for making signs or jewelry)
  • Balloon (like for making a simple piñata)
  • Molded shape with chicken wire foundation (for a mask or complex piñata)


  • Glass jar, to be coated with colored tissue paper (instead of newspaper), for a hanging lantern or pretty dried flower vase

Activity: Dip each newspaper strip into paste and press out excess paste, by pulling strip between fingers as it is removed from the paste container.  Put wet paper strips on form, smoothing them out as they are applied.  Continue for about seven layers (or less, for the glass/tissue paper alternative), then allow to dry thoroughly.  Paint designs on the dried product (you can add Elmer’s Glue to the paint to make it more waterproof, if desired).  Spray with clear plastic spray to finish.  If making a piñata, pop the balloon and fill with treats when you’re done decorating.


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