Your imagination is the limit when it comes to papier-mache (or paper mache). While simple papier-mache is just glue, water, and strips of paper, it is papier-mache pulp that adds detail and dimension to your projects, such as the protrusions that define an animal face or a witch or monster. Papier-mache pulp is essentially modeling clay for papier-mache, and it is incredibly cheap, easy, and quick to make.
Use this recipe to make a papier-mache pulp mixture using newspaper and water. It is great to use for adding fine details to your papier-mache project and you should be able to mold it almost like clay.
It is commonly spelled—especially in the United States—without the accents (papier-mache), although you might occasionally see it spelled with accents: papier-mâché. Even more rarely, the English spelling of paper is used, as in paper mache. Regardless of the spelling, it is pronounced the same: pay-puhr-muh-shAY.
Equipment / Tools
- Large bowl
- Large pot (optional)
- Blender or food processor (optional)
- Airtight bag or bowl
- Water (warm to hot)
Tear the newspaper into tiny pieces and put 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 the 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 out as many lumps 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-mache 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.
If you're left with newspaper ink residue in your pot after boiling, use some vegetable oil, paper towels, and a little elbow grease to rub out the stains.
Store your pulp in an airtight bag or bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for several days.