Paper mache is the process of molding paper strips into three-dimensional art using a paper mache paste. You can make a standard flour-and-water paper mache paste without turning on the stove. But this tutorial explains how to make a cooked paper mache paste, sometimes referred to as flour glue. It's quick and easy to make. Plus, it uses the same ingredients and only requires a little more effort than the standard uncooked paste. In return, it offers a smoother, more durable finish for paper mache projects than the uncooked paste, and it dries clearer.
Equipment / Tools
- Measuring cups
- 1 1/4 cups room-temperature water
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon salt (optional)
Boil a Cup of Water
Pour 1 cup of water into a pot on the stove, and bring it to a boil.
Add the Flour to the Remaining Water
If you wish, you can whisk a tablespoon of salt into the dry flour to inhibit mold in your paper mache paste.
Next, stir the 1/4 cup of flour into the remaining 1/4 cup of water. Briskly whisk the mixture to break up any lumps.
Add the Water-Flour Mixture to the Boiling Water
When the water boils, drizzle in the water-flour mixture, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium, and keep the mixture at a low but steady boil for two to three minutes.
Continue whisking until the mixture starts to look like heavy cream. If necessary, add more water or flour in small amounts until the paste reaches the desired consistency. But keep in mind that the paste will continue to thicken as it cools, so it should still be pourable when you pull it off the stove.
Use Your Paper Mache Paste
Your paper mache paste is ready to use as soon as it has cooled enough that you can comfortably touch it. Plan to use it soon after making it, as the paste doesn't store well.
Tips for Using Paper Mache Paste
- Make paper mache beads: First, make paper pulp by soaking newspaper strips in boiling water. After it cools, squeeze out the excess water, and add enough paper mache paste that the pulp holds its shape when you roll clumps of it into small balls. Push a toothpick through each ball. You can leave them round, stretch them into ovals, or gently flatten the sides for square beads. After you shape each bead to your liking, remove the toothpick and let the bead dry completely. Finally, paint the beads if you wish, and then string them together for a necklace, keychain, bracelet, or other craft.
- Make a paper mache bowl: Completely cover a bowl with plastic wrap to use as a mold. Turn the bowl upside down. Then, overlap strips of paper moistened with paper mache paste onto the upside-down bowl, allowing it to dry between layers. After the final layer has dried, carefully remove the paper mache bowl, and decorate it however you like. This craft can work with any size or shape of bowl. You can also use a gelatin mold, silicone cupcake liners, or a shaped cake pan for interesting contours.