No longer just a kids’ craft media, papier mache is incredibly versatile, easy to work with, and can be made into chic, tasteful, grown-up projects. Papier mâché also makes great use of your recycle bin and is, therefore, a relatively inexpensive art supply. Once you master building basic forms from balloons, wire, and plastic bottles, the papier mâché possibilities become endless. Start with mini pinatas for a party, but don’t hesitate to graduate to subtle sculptures of succulents to accent your home. Whichever project you choose to create, be sure to stock up on newspaper and school glue for endless papier mâché fun.
01 of 09
Still Life in Papier Mâché
Capture the homey vibe of a full fruit bowl, without risking any spoiled food, with this clever use of papier mâché. Create assorted fruits and veg by utilizing balloons, cardboard, and empty containers to build bases, then decorate with colorful tissue paper and paint. Embrace the season and design your papier mâché produce around the time of year (think: pumpkins and squash for fall or berries and melon in summer).
02 of 09
Double down on the floral decor by turning papier mache cacti into simple flower vases. While this project takes a little bit of practiced papier mâché skill and painting technique, it utilizes recyclable materials (cardboard toilet paper rolls and empty plastic bottles) as the base form, so it’s a great option when you're looking for a low-cost craft.
03 of 09
Amp up any party with a personal piñata party favor for each guest. Balloons create the perfect pineapple shape, and tissue paper accents look great for a festive luau. Fill your personal pineapples with candy, mints, or small toys for a fun celebratory surprise.
04 of 09
Gold Leaf Bowls
Papier mâché goes chic with this cool, practical project, and a gold leaf finish really takes these decorative bowls from homemade to haute couture. Experiment with different patterns—try strips of masking tape to create stripes—for a cohesive (but not matchy) set of metallic bowls. Perfect to collect your keys in the foyer or as a catch-all for jewelry on your dresser, you’ll have these pretty bowls in constant use.
Gold Leaf Bowls from Kelli MurrayContinue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Giant Papier Mâché Cactus
If you have a large space to decorate, this giant cactus sculpture might be an amazing focal point. It can add interest to a cement patio or sparse front yard or would be a stunning addition to a sunny entryway.
Pro tip: Bring your giant cactus inside during any wet weather; papier mache won’t survive the rain.
06 of 09
Papier Mâché Cake Boxes
Cake boxes get miniaturized for maximum cuteness a la Damask Love with this quick project. This craft is a great option for beginners, as you can start with pre-made papier mâché containers. Just decorate to your tastes and use as alternative gift boxes, recipe cardholders, or as a place for all your fancy sprinkles.
07 of 09
Faux Taxidermy in Papier Mâché
With papier mâché, you can capture the kitsch of taxidermy without having to source (and display) a dead animal. While this craft definitely takes a more experienced papier mache sculptor, the results are absolutely worth the effort.
08 of 09
Papier Mâché Rainbow Vase
Add a pop of color to your kitchen table with this joyful rainbow vase. Keep your hues pastel for a modern take on the rainbow, or go bold with primary colors and use the vase as a paintbrush holder instead. No matter where you set this papier mâché rainbow, it’ll make a lovely addition to your decor.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Papier Mâché Succulents
Grab a stack of styrofoam and shape into various succulents for a set of trendy papier mache sculptures. The more texture, the better when it comes to these little cactus statues, so don’t spend too much time smoothing the papier mâché over. This is an especially fun project for kids, who will love bringing these cacti to life with a cute paint job.