Papier Mâché, french for “chewed paper,” is an inexpensive, fun way for kids to create sculptures. This safe, easy-to-make paper mache recipe for kids uses just a few basic kitchen supplies and whips up in less than 2 minutes. Ripping paper provides sensory stimulation for kids as well as the cool, goopy textures of paper mache glue. We adore these paper mache crafts for kids.
No-Cook Paper Mache Glue Recipe:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoon salt (prevents mold)
Add 1 cup of flour to a bowl.
Mix together to remove all lumps until you reach a thick, glue-like consistency. If it’s too thick like paste, add 1/4 cup water slowly. Consistency also depends on your preference. I like it to resemble pancake batter, not too runny, but not too thick. Tip: To remove the glue odor, add a dash of cinnamon. In my experience, this is the stronger method between cook and no-cook and it’s kid-approved.
A simple paper mache recipe for adults is the starch method [please use your on discretion to determine if Sta-Flo is appropriate for you]. I prefer this method for myself, but for little hands, the flour method is best and safest. Sta-Flo is stronger than no-cook method, so it takes fewer layers to complete.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup Sta-Flo Liquid Starch
Mix 1/2 cup flour to 1 cup liquid starch in a bowl. Use a whisk to remove any lumps. Paper mache takes 24 hours+ to dry, so store any unused glue covered in the refrigerator to finish up your project the following day.
Sta-flo isn’t available in all countries, so another simple option is Elmer’s glue or flour cook method. Although the cook method isn’t as strong as all the above, it’s relatively easy to make. Wikihow has a great video tutorial on how to make paper mache paste using the cook, Elmer’s glue, and shaken bag colored method.
For the ultimate in paper mache sculpting, Ultimatepapermache.com is an excellent resource for homemade gesso and paper mache recipes using these alternative methods too.
Applying Paper Mache Glue:
Once your glue is ready, simply soak your ripped or cut strips of newspaper, brown paper, or tissue paper into your mixture, remove any access, and apply to your surface. For smaller, more detailed projects, apply glue mixture with a paintbrush. To create your cast use recycled bottles and jars, balloons, wire, cardboard, balls, and boxes. Once dried, the resulting material can be cut, sanded and/or painted. Before painting any product of paper mache, the glue must be fully dried, otherwise mold will form and the product will rot from the inside out. Salt helps prevent mold, but allowing each layer to dry is the most important part. Add 1-2 layers, let dry 24 hours, then add more is needed. The starchmethod is the strongest, best for adults, uses 2-3 layers, followed by the no-cook method, best for kids, uses 3-4 layers.
We’ll be exploring crafts using paper mache and discussing different types of paper, dry times, and application techniques for the kids to create sculptures in more detail. Our first kid project will be creating a dinosaur cave for small world play later this week.
I loved sculpting with paper mache as a kid. We’ll be exploring paper mache crafts over the next few weeks. What are some of your favorites?
More tactile fun for kids with our favorite sensory therapy tools and toys.
Please be advised, this craft requires adult supervision and is not age appropriate for everyone. Please use your own discretion. Amazon affiliate link below. 🙂
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