Creating and decorating a paper mache globe is a fun and educational way to teach kids about the world's countries and oceans as they paint them. This project takes a few days; it's great for kids ages six and up, although with some guidance, younger children may appreciate it too. You can modify as needed to suit different ages and devote more or less time to your creation. Learning happens when kids are having fun!
- Round balloon Note that most balloons are not perfectly round; if you can find a punching-bag balloon (the kind with a rubber band attached at the end), that works well.
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup resin glue powder
- 1 old pot
- 1 small bucket or old bowl
- 1 old spoon or whisk
- Acrylic paint
Cover your work surface well, as paper mache can get pretty messy. Keep a bowl of water or a wet cloth nearby to help keep your fingers clean. Blow up and tie the balloon. If you want to set it on top of a bowl while working on it, completely cover the bowl with plastic wrap so the paper mache does not stick to it.
Tear some newspaper into strips that are about 1-inch wide and 4- to 6-inches long. You'll need a lot of newspaper strips, so tear up more than you think.
Make the paper mache paste. Start by putting 3 cups of water in a pot and bringing it to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, combine 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of powdered glue resin together in a bucket or bowl. Stir in 1 cup of warm water, whisking to prevent any lumps from forming.
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. Remove from heat and cool until it's safe to work with.
Using one strip at a time, dip the newspaper into the paper mache paste until it's completely saturated. Hold the saturated strip over the paste bowl and gently run it through your fingers to squeeze off any excess paste, being careful not to tear it.
Stick the newspaper strip on the balloon and smooth it down with your fingers.
Completely cover the balloon with a layer of the newspaper strips. They should all be over-lapping and running in different directions.
After one layer is applied, let your paper mache globe dry completely. This can take up to 24 hours.
Once the first layer is dry, apply a second layer of newspaper strips and let it dry completely too. Repeat one more time for three layers.
When the paper mache is dry, use acrylic paint to paint your paper mache earth to look like a real globe using blue, green and even white paint. Add as much or as little detail as you like. As you paint continents, countries, and bodies of water, teach kids some fun facts or share your travel stories.