Creating and decorating a paper mache globe is a fun and educational way to teach kids about the world's continents and oceans as they paint them. This project is easy enough for kids ages 6 and up, and younger children might appreciate it too with some more hands-on help from a caregiver. The project involves making your own paper mache paste, coating newspaper strips with the paste, and molding them around a balloon to create the globe. Once the paper mache is dry and hard, you can paint the globe however you like. The whole process will take a few days to apply multiple paper mache layers and wait for them to dry before decorating the globe.
Equipment / Tools
- Pot (not used for cooking)
- Medium-size container with airtight lid (to store the paste)
- Spoon or whisk (not used for cooking)
- 1 Round balloon (punch ball balloons work well)
- 1 Newspaper
- 4 cups Water
- 1 cup Flour
- 1/2 cup Resin glue powder
- Acrylic paint
Prepare Your Work Area and Blow Up the Balloon
Cover your work surface well, as paper mache can get pretty messy. It can be helpful to keep a bowl of water or a wet cloth nearby to clean your fingers.
Next, blow up and tie the balloon. Some people prefer to set the balloon on top of a bowl to use as a stand while working on forming the globe. If you want to do this, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, so the paper mache doesn't stick to it.
Tear Newspaper Strips
Tear your newspaper into strips that are about 1 inch wide and 4 to 6 inches long. You'll need a lot of newspaper strips for this project, so tear up several pages.
Start Your Paper Mache Paste
Now it's time to make the paper mache paste. Start by putting 3 cups of water in a pot and bringing it to a boil.
Mix the Flour and Resin Glue Powder
While waiting for the water to boil, combine 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of resin glue powder in your medium-size container. Then, add 1 cup of warm water, briskly stirring to remove any lumps.
Add the Flour Mixture to the Boiling Water
Once the pot of water is boiling, stir in the flour mixture. Boil for two to three minutes or until it is clear and smooth. Then, remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool until it is safe to work with. Transfer the paste back to the medium-size container, in which you'll eventually store it.
Add Paste to a Newspaper Strip
Dip one newspaper strip into the paper mache paste until it's completely saturated. Hold the saturated strip over the paste container. Gently run it through your fingers to squeeze off any excess paste, being careful not to tear it.
Attach the Strip to the Balloon
Stick the newspaper strip on the balloon, and smooth it down with your fingers.
Continue Covering the Balloon
Carry on with this same process of adding paste to one strip at a time and sticking the strip to the balloon. Aim to adhere the strips so they're overlapping and running in different directions. Stop when the balloon is completely covered in one layer of newspaper strips.
Let the First Layer Dry
After one layer of newspaper strips is applied, let your paper mache globe dry completely. This can take up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, store your paper mache paste in its container with the airtight lid in the refrigerator.
Apply a Second Layer
Once the first layer is dry, apply a second layer of newspaper strips the same way you did the first layer. Then, let it dry completely. Once again, store the paste in the refrigerator.
Add a Third Layer
After the second layer has dried, repeat the paper mache process one more time for a third layer. Then, wait for it to dry completely. You no longer will need any leftover paper mache paste.
Decorate Your Globe
Once the paper mache is dry, use acrylic paint to decorate your globe. You can paint the continents and oceans in green and blue to look like an actual globe or go more abstract with the colors. Add as much detail as you'd like. And if you're working with kids, share some fun facts about the countries around the world, as well as the bodies of water.