Your imagination is the limit when it comes to papier-mâché. While simple papier-mâché is just glue, water, and strips of paper, it's papier-mâché pulp that adds detail and dimension to your projects, such as the protrusions that define an animal face or a witch or monster. Papier-mâché pulp is essentially modeling clay for papier-mâché, and it is incredibly cheap, easy, and quick to make.
Papier-Mâché Pulp Recipe
Use this recipe to make a papier-mâché pulp mixture using newspaper and water. It is great to use for adding fine details to your papier-mâché project and you should be able to mold it almost like clay.
- Start by tearing the newspaper into tiny pieces and putting them in a large bowl. Add just enough warm to hot water to completely cover the newspaper. Let it soak for several hours or overnight.
- Once your newspaper has soaked for several hours, get your hands into it. Play with it, mix it, and squeeze it through your fingers until it looks and feels similar to oatmeal. Try to get as many lumps out as possible. If necessary, add a bit more water and let it soak a little longer.
- Once you have a smooth texture, add a few tablespoons of salt to help secure the mold. Mix it again with your hands. Once mixed thoroughly, squeeze out any excess water and add a few tablespoons of glue. Now you are ready to use your papier-mâché pulp on your projects.
- If you don't want to wait overnight, add your newspaper to boiling water and let it boil until the newspaper falls apart. You'll have to watch this carefully and possibly add extra water if necessary. You can also try letting your newspaper and hot water mixture sit for a few hours and then put it in a blender or food processor. Don't forget to add the glue and salt once your mixture is smooth.
- Store your pulp in an airtight bag or bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for several days.
Papier-mâché means "chewed paper" in French. In ancient Egypt, coffins and death masks were often made from cartonnage, a type of paper mache, and as early as 1540, papier-mâché was used to make doll heads.
"I used your method to boil newspaper pieces in boiling water in order to make papier-mâché pulp. The method worked. However, the pot that I used was smeared in newspaper ink on the sides. I tried soap, baking soda, and vinegar and finally came upon a solution that quickly removed the ink: vegetable oil. I used the oil and a paper towel and was able to quickly remove the residue in the pot. I thought it would be helpful to include this remedy in your article for those of us who end up with dirty pots."