How to Make Paper Mache

Finished homemade paper mache bowl

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Discover how easy it is to create amazing paper mache works of art. Start by deciding what you want to make—the possibilities are almost limitless with paper mache. Two of the more popular items to make are a pinata and volcano. When you know what you want to make, then create the base or form for your project.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Paper mache form

Materials

  • Paper mache paste
  • Newspaper
  • Paint

Instructions

Overhead view of materials needed for paper mache

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  1. Prepare the Paste

    Decide what type of paper mache paste works best for your project, then prepare it. You have three options for paste:

    • No-Cook Paste Recipe: This simple recipe requires only flour, water, a bowl, and a whisk.
    • Cooked Paste Recipe: Although this recipe is similar to the no-cook version, the paste is a little stronger and smoother.
    • Resin Paper Mache Paste Recipe: Resin will give your finished paper mache project a hard finish, making your finished projects more durable.
    Mixing the paper mache paste

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  2. Tear the Newspaper

    Rip the newspaper into strips—do not cut it. Torn strips lay smoother on the form. The length of your strips may vary depending on the size of your project; however, you will want your strips to be about 1 to 2 inches wide.

    Ripping newspaper for paper mache

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  3. Dip the Newspaper

    Dip one piece of newspaper at a time into the paper mache paste. You want the newspaper strip to be saturated. Hold the saturated strip over the paste bowl and run it through your fingers to squeeze off any excess paste.

    Beginning to dip newspaper into the paste

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  4. Apply to the Form

    Stick the newspaper strip over your form and smooth it down with your fingers. Completely cover your form with a layer of the saturated newspaper strips. They should all be over-lapping and running in different directions. After one layer is applied, let it dry completely. This can take up to 24 hours.

    Adding the newspaper to the bowl form

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  5. Repeat the Process

    Once the first layer is dry, apply a second layer of newspaper strips and let it dry completely. Repeat this process until you get the desired look, but you should have at least three layers of newspaper strips. Again, let each layer dry completely.

    Tip

    If you want to add smaller details to your project, you can use a pulp recipe. This pulp can be used like clay.

    Repeating the process of adding newspaper to the form

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  6. Decorate the Art

    Once all of the paper mache layers are applied and dried, you are ready to paint, decorate, and proudly display your work of art.

    Decorating the paper mache bowl

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Watch Now: How to Make Paper Mache