Making objects with paper mache is a fun, rewarding craft that has been enjoyed by many – old and young – for ages. You can model an almost limitless number of items and express your creativity through this art form.
If you’re just getting started with paper mache or you’re planning to try your hand out at this craft, you might wonder what the best paper for paper mache is. If you don’t have enough lying around or want an extra high-quality project, you’ll want a good paper choice.
What’s the best paper for paper mache? The best paper to use in a paper mache project is soft paper that’s easy to mold. Newsprint and leftover newspaper, wrapping paper, deli paper, paper towels, and tissues are all good choices.
Of course, you can make paper mache from regular newspaper or paper towels. If you’re looking for some high-quality paper for your paper mache projects, be sure to check out the products reviewed below.
Before we take a look at some of the best paper products you can find today, let’s learn a little more about paper mache and how you can easily make paper mache at home.
What is Paper Mache?
Paper mache, or papier mache, is a composite material that usually consists of pieces of paper or pulp bound with glue, starch, wallpaper paste, or other adhesives.
Paper mache is used for modeling three-dimensional art projects. Paper mache surfaces are easy to paint, allowing you to add interesting patterns and designs to your finished work. It’s an enjoyable craft for young ones and grown-ups alike.
Paper mache sculptures have also been used – and still are – in a number of traditional and ceremonial activities in many parts of the world. Paper mache is easy to make and costs very little to prepare. Thus, it’s also used as an affordable building material for sets and props in theatres. It is used in puppetry as well.
Paper mache is also often used for making large but temporary sculptures like Carnival floats. These Carnival floats are usually very large and can accommodate several individuals. They’re commonly designed and constructed by local professional engineers, sculptors, architects, ceramists, and painters.
The primary ingredient in paper mache, of course, is paper. Paper is made from wet plant fibers that are pressed flat and dried into sheets. How ideal a certain type of paper is for making paper mache depends on its strength, moisture retention, rigidity, tensile strength, and disintegration rates.
Any type of porous paper can be used for making paper mache. Regular newsprint (such as your local paper) is most commonly used. Other types of paper that work well include paper towels, printer paper, and wrapping paper.
Paper mache is an environmentally friendly craft. It uses natural, recyclable items. It’s a versatile art activity that entire families can enjoy together. It’s also great for making decorations and personalized gifts for friends, family members, and coworkers.
How to Create Paper Mache
Paper mache can be made in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at a simple, effective way to make paper mache that can be used for any project.
Before you get started, you’ll want to clear the area you’ll be working in. As making paper mache can get a little messy, place some newspapers or other material on top of the table or surface you’re working on.
To make paper mache, you’ll need the following items:
- Paper (usually newspaper)
- Flour, white glue, or wallpaper powder
- A large bowl
- Your base structure
Paper Mache Step-By-Step
The first step is to decide what you want to make. With paper mache, you’ve got an almost limitless range of options. Once you decide what you’ll be working on, create the base structure or form for the project. You could use cardboard, a balloon, or a molded figure.
1. Prepare the paper
Next, you will need to create the paper mache mixture. First, tear the paper into long strips. These strips should be roughly one to two inches wide. Their length, however, will vary depending on the project you’re working on.
You’ll need a good quantity of these strips to enable you to go around your base structure multiple times. You should avoid using scissors to cut these strips. Torn edges work better for paper mache than cut edges.
2. Make the Paste/Glue
Once your strips are ready, you’ll need to make the paste or glue. This can be done in various ways. To make a glue mixture, add two parts white glue to about one part water and mix them together. You can alter the quantities or the ratio of the glue to water to better suit the size of your project or if you have a stronger glue.
You can also use a flour mixture for small projects. Simply mix one part flour with one part water and you’re ready to go.
Wallpaper powder (like this one) can also be used to make paste for paper mache. Two parts wallpaper powder mixed with one part water will create an ideal paste that will last for a long time.
Of course, there are other ways to make paper mache paste for your projects. You can do a bit of research until you find what works best for you. You can also purchase paper mache paste if you’re looking for a quick and easy option.
However, making the paste yourself is a lot of fun and is part of the creative process. What’s more, making your own paste allows you to control the quantity and quality of the paste, and create the desired effect.
Once you’ve chosen your paste recipe, blend the mixture using a paintbrush, mixing stick, or mixing spoon. Do this until the paste forms a smooth consistency. If your mixture turns out to be too thin, add more glue, flour, or wallpaper powder to thicken it up. If it’s too thick, add some water.
3. Lay Strips in Layers
You’re paper mache paste should now be ready. Next, dip one paper strip into the paste. Make sure that the strip is saturated. Then, remove the strip and while holding it over the bowl, squeeze out excess paste by running it lightly through your fingers.
Now, place the strip over the surface of your base structure and smooth it out with your fingers. To get a smooth surface for painting, make sure to get rid of as many creases and bumps as you can.
Continue laying the strips until the entire surface of your base structure is covered. The strips should overlap and run in different directions.
When you’re done applying one layer, let it dry completely. It may take up to 24 hours to do so. Next, apply another layer of saturated paper strips and let it dry.
Continue doing this until you get the desired look. Make sure to let each layer dry completely before applying the next. Ideally, you should have at least three layers of paper strips.
How to Create Fine Details
What, though, if you want to add small details to your project? Say, for example, you want to create a face?
Well, a quick and easy approach you could use would be to bunch up a strip into a form you want, place it on your base surface, and then lay another strip on top to smooth it out. Using this method, you can add volume and texture to your paper mache.
If you want to add a lot of fine detail, however, you’ll need to create paper mache pulp. This pulp can be used like clay to sculpt fine details and intricacies onto your project. Paper mache pulp can be prepared using various recipes.
How to Create Paper Mache Pulp
Here’s an easy way to make paper mache using newspaper, water, salt, and glue:
- First, tear the newspaper into tiny pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add hot or warm water to the bowl and let it cover the newspaper pieces completely. Leave to soak for several hours.
- Now, get your hands into the bowl and mix the paper until it looks and feels like oatmeal. Try to remove as many lumps as possible.
- Next, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and mix it thoroughly with your hands. Squeeze out any excess water, then add a few tablespoons of glue.
And, that’s it. You can now use your paper mache pulp to add details to your projects.
Once you have applied all your paper mache layers and they’re all dry, you can now paint and decorate your work. If you’re using newspaper sheets, you might want to use white-colored paper for the last layer of the paper mache, as it will be easier to paint a light, ink-free surface.
This is especially important if you want to paint or decorate your work with lighter colors. You could also apply a good paint primer or a layer of white acrylic paint before applying your decorative paint.
The Top 7 Paper Products For Paper Mache
The best way to get paper for making paper mache is to recycle old newspapers or any other paper you no longer need.
If you don’t have any of that lying around in your home, or you need lots of paper for a large paper mache project, then you’ll need to purchase some paper. Here are seven excellent paper products that you can purchase today.
|1.||Tenby Living Newsprint Packing Paper||Packing paper|
|2.||Avant Grub Deli Paper||Deli paper|
|3.||Kleenex Multifold Paper Towels||Paper towels|
|4.||Hammermill Copy Paper||Copy paper|
|5.||Tenby Living Packing Paper||Packing paper|
|6.||School Smart Newsprint Drawing Paper||Newsprint/drawing|
|7.||Kraft Newspaper Wrapping Paper||Wrapping paper|
Keep reading for more information about each of these great paper options.
1. Tenby Living Newsprint Packing Paper
This product is a good option to consider if you’re looking for high-quality paper to make paper mache. This newsprint packing paper will work nicely for paper mache projects.
The product delivers approximately 125 sheets of high quality, unprinted, newsprint paper.
The paper has a smooth finish and can be used in a wide variety of ways. Plus, it comes at an affordable price.
2. Avant Grub Deli Paper
The Avant Grub Deli Paper is another excellent option to consider when shopping for paper mache paper. This versatile deli paper product comes with 300 newsprint deli paper sheets.
The product is primarily advertised as food wrapping paper and basket liner. Nonetheless, it’ll work nicely for paper mache projects. And any leftovers will be cute enough to use in other ways.
The Avant Grub Deli paper product comes with a lifetime 100% money-back guarantee. It’s an excellent versatile product, and it offers a good amount of bang for your buck.
3. Kleenex Multifold Paper Towels
Paper towels are an excellent option for making paper mache. They have a high rate of absorbency, stretch-ability, and resistance to bursting.
If you’re looking for high-quality paper towels for your paper mache projects, the Kleenex Multifold Paper Towels are your best bet.
This Kleenex Multifold Paper Towels product contains 16 packs of paper towels. Each pack contains 150 Kleenex tri fold paper towels. Thus, you get a total of 2,400 paper towels per case.
The multifold towels are soft and really absorbent. They’re some of the best paper towels you can find today. Plus, they come in at an affordable price and will be a nice choice for your next paper mache project.
4. Hammermill Copy Paper
The Hammermill Copy Paper product is an excellent, affordable printer paper option. The product comes in three sizes: 1 ream, 10 Ream, and Pallet. Each ream of paper contains about 500 sheets.
This Hammermill Copy paper is a high quality, acid-free, printing paper that can be used for a variety of purposes including making paper mache.
The Hammermill printer paper is also sustainably sourced from American family tree farms and is a renewable resource. If you’re looking for an affordable way to get a large quantity of paper for a large paper mache project, this is a great option to consider.
5. Tenby Living Quality Packing Paper
Next up, we have another affordable option – the 10 Pounds of Quality Packing Paper product by Tenby Living.
This product offers 31″ x 21.6″ unprinted, clean newsprint paper sheets. The 10-pound bundle contains approximately 220 sheets of packing paper.
This product is great, not just for wrapping or packing items, but also for making paper strips for paper mache. The sheets are basically newspapers without print on them. This product offers a high value for what you spend.
6. School Smart Newsprint Drawing Paper
The School Smart 85250 Newsprint Drawing Paper is a nice, versatile paper product that’ll suit your paper mache needs nicely.
The paper is an off-white colored newsprint paper that’s ideal for drawing, sketching, printing, and for making paper mache as well. This product can be purchased in different sizes ranging from one pack of paper containing 500 sheets to four packs.
The School Smart 85250 newsprint drawing paper offers a lot of value for money as it comes in at an affordable price.
If you need a versatile paper option that kids can also use for other art projects such as drawing, this drawing paper from School Smart is a great multipurpose choice.
7. Kraft Newspaper Wrapping Paper
The Kraft Paper Roll is another unique product that you could purchase for your paper mache needs.
This set of newspaper themed wrapping paper sheets can be used in a wide variety of ways. They’re perfect for crafts and can certainly be used to make paper mache.
The Kraft Paper Roll product offers 12 sturdy sheets of patterned Kraft paper. Each sheet of wrapping paper measures 19.75 by 27.75 inches. The product comes in at a decent price and is a great option to consider. Like many of our options on this list, the leftovers can easily be put to good use in other projects and needs.
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