Paper mache (from the French term papier-mâché) has been used since 200 B.C. China evolving over time to become more useful and versatile than ever. The term literally means chewed paper which references the textures resulted after mixing in bits of paper and glue. There are a lot of different uses for this unusual composite material, mostly in arts and crafts. The best thing about it is that you can do everything from scratch and you can shape the paper mache mixture into just about anything. Below you can find a few ideas that you might like to try for yourself.
This is a paper mache box that you can use to store and organize your magazines. These are actually quite easy to find in stores and they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Pick one that you think is best for your needs, then proceed to paint it and set it aside. Using stencils and paint you can then decorate the box in any way you see fit. Take some wooden letters and glue them onto the lid, upside down, then place the box inside the lid.
Maybe you’ve seen paper mache bowls before either in stores or at art shows and you thought they looked pretty. Well, you can actually make some yourself and it’s not even difficult. Find a round bowl that has a suitable size and shape and cover it in plastic wrap. Then start laying strips of paper soaked in glue until the whole surface in covered in several layers. Let it dry, then remove the bowl and add more paper mache or glue in needed. You can then trim some areas and some sections might needed to be sanded. In any case, you can be very creative when customizing each bowl. Check out celebrateanddecorate for more details.
One of the better-known uses for paper mache is for making sculptures so perhaps you’d like to try something like that yourself. You can use this tutorial from nourishandnestle as a guide. It explains how you can make a ram trophy head and as you can see the end product looks quite glamorous. The materials required for this particular project include strips of newspaper as well as whole sheets, a mixture of flour and water that acts as glue, tape, spray paint in different colors, spray adhesive, glitter and cardstock.
Paper mache letters are also great for a lot of interesting projects. You can make the letters yourself if you’re familiar with the technique or you can purchase them in order to simplify the project and save some time. Either way, once you have the letters, you can use to make a beautiful bookshelf sign like the one featured on weirdlouise. You’re going to need scrapbook paper, paint, a hot glue gun, an X-acto knife and mod podge. Paint the letters, then decorate the fronts with scrapbook paper.
Paper mache can also be used to give makeovers to certain decorations. For example, check out these faux fruits that have been covered in bits of paper. Don’t they look lovely? This is how you can make something similar: print some vintage french advertisements and cut them into strips. Then cover the surface of the fruit in mod podge and start applying strips of paper trying to preserve their integrity as much as possible. Cover the entire surface and add some finishing touches if needed. You can find a more detailed tutorial on confessionsofaplateaddict.
This colorful Christmas display featured on akailochiclife was created using paper mache cones. A bunch of cones in different sizes were painted in different colors and then left to dry. Then white dots were painted all over their surfaces. When the paint dried, the cones were ready for display. If you decide to make something similar you can have as many colorful cones as you want and have them displayed on the fireplace mantel, on a shelf or on a table. They definitely brighten up your home.
Here’s another project that involves paper mache letters. This time the letters were covered in glitter and turned into beautiful wedding decorations. If this is something you’re interested in doing for yourself, you’ll be happy to know it’s a very simple project which only requires paper mache letters, glitter. glue, spray paint and silk flowers. Of course, they can be used in a lot of other different ways, not just as wedding ornaments. For example, you could make some lovely decorations for a nursery room using a similar technique. For more details, check out countryhillcottage.
Paper mache letters can also look pretty cool on a shelf next to some books and other items. If you want them to stand out a bit more, perhaps you’ll like the idea suggested on akailochiclife. These letters were decorated using holographic vinyl and a black sharpie. They look really cool and they’re definitely eye-catching. You can also add some additional ornaments such as a bunch of faux flowers to make the letters stand out even more and be more colorful.
You can also use paper mache to craft something useful, not just purely decorative items. This rainbow vase featured on thehousethatlarsbuilt is a lovely example. It’s fun and easy to make and it can be customized in all sorts of quirky and unique ways. The supplies that you’re going to need if you want to craft your own rainbow vase/ pencil holder include some cardboard, tape, newspaper pages, flour, water, paint in different colors and a pot or some other container to place inside the rainbow once it’s all done. Wouldn’t this look beautiful on your desk?
Of course, there’s also paper mache heads which are very popular. They can get really intricate and complicated if you decide to add lots of details to their design or to make them look very realistic. The base technique however is quite simple. Check out this great tutorial on lilblueboo to find out how this whimsical unicorn head was made from start to finish, then apply the same technique to craft your very own paper mache animal head and make it extra special.
If you want to use your paper mache crafting skills to make something that not just pretty but also useful in some way, perhaps you’d like to try replicating the project featured on thehousethatlarsbuilt. These are paper mache cake stands and you don’t need to buy a single thing to make them since you most likely already have everything you need. This is a surprisingly easy project.
Don’t let the size of this giant hot air balloon intimidate you. It’s a simple project that you can definitely pull off. It does however require an actual large balloon that you can use as a mold. Inflate the balloon, then cover it with six layers of paper mache and let it dry. Then take it outside and apply two layers of white paint on the entire surface. Then the fun part begins: decorating the balloon. Check out this lovely tutorial from katescreativespace to find out the rest of the details.