Paper mache is a fun craft for children and adults alike, and you can make some incredible pieces using the simple paper mache technique. To keep your paper mache project together you need to use the right glue.
Using the right glue will ensure that working with your paper mache is easy, but that a strong bond is formed to create a fairly durable piece.
Which is the best glue for paper mache? The best glue for paper mache would be white glue, or hobby/craft glue. However, you can also use carpenters glue or weldbond as well. Which one you use will depend on which you have available, what you want from your finished project, and which you prefer working with.
Good ol’ “regular” white glue – just like the stuff you probably used in school – is most commonly used for paper mache and works really well. But you can always use stronger glue for your projects.
All glues are definitely not made the same, and they all serve different purposes. Some are thicker than others, and some dry faster. For paper mache, you just want a basic glue.
However, you cannot just use any glue for paper mache, so knowing the best glues will help you paper mache go successfully time and time again!
The Best Paper Mache Glue
So what are some of the best glues for paper mache?
|1.||Elmer’s Washable No-Run School Glue||White craft glue|
|2.||Elmer’s Products Carpenter's Wood Glue||Carpenter's glue|
|3.||Weldbond Multi-Purpose Adhesive Glue||Weldbond glue|
The three best types of glue for paper mache, white glue, carpenters glue, and weldbond glue, all work well, but they do have a few different properties that you should understand before deciding which one you should use for your next project.
1. White or Hobby Glue
White glue is the overall greatest glue to use when doing paper mache. It is possibly the easiest of the three types of glue to find, and you can pick it up for a considerably cheap price at a hardware or craft store.
For paper mache, you need to mix the glue with some water to dilute it down to the right consistency. White glue, or craft glue, mixes well with water. You should use around a 1:1 ratio of water and glue.
When white glue dries, it is flexible, which is perfect for paper mache projects, so it doesn’t dry stiff and then break on the first knock. It is important to note that you cannot sand down paper mache that is made with white glue, as it will just clog up the sandpaper.
As it dries hard but flexible, it will not chip or clump off, so make sure that the project is smooth, as you won’t be able to remove or sand down any clumps or bits once it has dried.
The white glue will soften when mixed in with water, so it is easy to work with when covering the paper in glue.
Elmer’s Washable No-Run School Glue
You can’t go wrong when using Elmer’s School Glue. It is safe and non-toxic and is completely washable as well. You can get your hands dirty gluing during paper mache and be sure that you can wash any mess away easily once you are done.
The glue is made to bond paper wood, cloth and pottery, so it holds paper mache together well. And you can use the glue to decorate your project once you’re done.
The two pack is enough to see you through a few projects, and will give you great results!
2. Carpenter’s Glue
Carpenter’s glue is also easy to find in craft and hardware stores and is another affordable option. You will need to use full strength glue when using it for paper mache, and you will not have to water it down.
What is great about carpenter’s glue is that it can be sanded down when dried. This means you can smooth down your project once it has been left to dry and harden, and remove any bits or clumps that may have formed.
However, carpenter’s glue is not flexible when it dries, and will more than likely crack when bent or dropped. Any chips or bits on the side can be chipped off, but it is easier to sand them down instead.
Carpenter’s glue resists water, so you will not be able to mix it in with water. It is better suited for smaller paper mache projects where you don’t have to cover too much paper into the glue, as it might become a bit tricky after a while.
Elmer’s Products Carpenter’s Wood Glue
The Carpenter’s Wood Glue from Elmer’s is great for general use, and can be used on wood and other materials, such as paper.
Once dried, the glue is paintable and stainable, allowing you to decorate your paper mache project however you want.
You only need some soap and water to cleanup when you are done, and the non-toxic formula makes this a great glue for the whole family to use for paper mache.
You will need to use full strength weldbond when doing paper mache, as it resists water and will not dilute well.
Weldbond can be used to create smaller paper mache projects and closes small gaps nicely in the finished product. You can also use the weldbond to glue objects to the paper mache once it has dried.
The weldbond glue dries fast and creates a strong bond (hence the name), so there is very little chance that your project will fall to bits. One thing to remember is that weldbond shrinks when it dries, so make provision for this when creating your project.
Weldbond Multi-Purpose Adhesive Glue
This universal adhesive bonds almost anything to anything! It will ensure your paper mache project turns out as strong as possible.
It can also be used as a primer once your project has dried, prepping the surface to be painted and decorated.
This weldbond glue is highly water-resistant, and will keep your work safe from bending or curling if exposed to water.
How To Use Paper Mache Glue
When using white glue for paper mache, you will need to make a paste with water. The right consistency should form if you use a 1:1 ratio of water and white glue.
You should mix the glue and water into a mixing bowl and mix enough of each until it is slightly less sticky, and until you can soak the paper easily in the mixture. Make sure to mix it together thoroughly.
Once your glue and water mixture is ready, you can start soaking the paper. There are a few different ways to apply the paper strips to the project once glued:
- For more solid projects, you should dip your fingers into the paste and spread the paste over the base of the mold. Then apply the first few strips onto the mold and smear more paste over the top of each strip as you place them down, overlapping them as you go.
- Another method is to place the paper directly into the glue mixture and soak the paper before applying it to the mold. You can even dip several layers of paper to soak at a time, and then separate them before placing them onto the mold.
- Be sure to squeeze the paper before placing it on the mold so that any excess glue is removed.
- You can then go ahead and place the glue strips one after the other onto the mold until it is thick enough.
If you are using glue which cannot be diluted in water, you can either choose to dip the paper directly into the glue, use your fingers to smear glue onto the paper, or paint the glue onto the pieces of paper before placing them down onto the mold to leave to dry.
Buying Bulk Glue
If you purchase the white glue, carpenter glue, or weldbond in bulk, they will be in big containers and difficult to dispense when doing your project.
To make it easier to use the glue, you should purchase some empty small dispensers from the craft store as well.
Label these with a marker and decant some of the glue into the smaller containers. This will make it easier to add some more glue to the paper mache mixture both during the molding phase and after when you are patching up any mistakes.
You can also make up some paper mache glue batches to keep for a few projects. Mix up your preferred ratio of water and glue into a latch bail jar which can close tight. Make sure to keep the jar somewhere cool and dark, and closed tight, to avoid it clumping up and drying out.
You can make a decent size amount of the glue mixture to keep over a few projects, saving you some time hauling everything out and mixing it all together over again.
Can You Make Your Own Paper Mache Glue?
You can make your own paper mache glue at home using some simple ingredients. You can mix up flour and water to a 1:1 ratio. For example, mix one cup of flour and one cup of water and mix together well until you get a thick, gluey consistency.
You might need to add in a bit more water if it is too thick, or a little more flour if it is runny. Make sure to get rid of any lumps, as these might cause bumps and lifts in the dried paper mache project.
Can I Use Wallpaper Paste For Paper Mache?
Wallpaper paste works well when used for paper mache, but you will have to dilute it down until it has a thin consistency. You will also need to add in a little bit of salt to prevent the mixture from spoiling. You can then dip the paper strips into the paste and apply them to your mold.
How Do You Strengthen Paper Mache?
The best way to strengthen paper mache is to use a stronger glue.
For fun projects, it is fine to use a flour and water mix, but for projects that need to be durable, you should use PVA glues which will double the strength of the paper mache product. You can thin the glue down slightly with some water, but not too much to take away any strength.
The Best Paper Mache Glue
The glues you can use for paper mache, white glue, carpenters glue, and weldbond, can all be found at your local crafting store, and you can usually buy them all in bulk to be able to do a wide range of paper mache projects. Be sure to know which glues you should dilute with water, and which are water-resistant.
The above three types of glue all offer up a different finished project, so know what you want from your end product before deciding on which glue to use.