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Papier-mâché (pap-yay mash-ay) or paper mâché (paper mash-ay) is an easy to make, hard material that can be used to cover various surfaces. It is often used in arts and crafts to make various sculptures, fruit bowls, puppets, dolls and much more. The surface is easy to paint, allowing you to add patterns, bright colors, and interesting designs to your finished product. This article details how to make the basic paper mâché that can be used for any project that you have in mind.
- A bowl or large container
- Flour, wallpaper powder/paste, or white glue  X Research source
- Your base structure
- Newspaper (for your project — not for clean-up duty)
- There is no wrong size your strips could be. In fact, if you want to add volume to your structure by molding the strips, you will need different sizes. So tear away freely.
- Glue mixture: Pour 2 parts white glue and one part water into a mixing bowl. These quantities can be changed to suit the size of your project. Or, if you have a stronger bonding glue, 1 part white glue and 1 part water will do the trick.  X Research source
- Flour mixture: Combine 1 part flour with 1 part water. Easy as pie! (But also liable to mold. Use caution!)  X Research source
- For super large and intense projects, you may want to substitute white glue for the water.
- If it’s too thin or thick, adjust accordingly. Add more adhesive base if it’s too thin, water if it’s too thick.
- If you’re using a balloon, consider painting it with cooking oil beforehand — that way, when it’s dry, you can slide it out easily.
- If you’d like to create a shape (a face, say), bunch the strip into the form you want, place it on your surface, and then layer another strip on top to smooth it out. This can create volume, texture, and detail quite easily.
- Put your first layer on horizontally, the second vertically, and so forth. It will help show you where you have been before and strengthen the piece.  X Research source
- Some schools of thought say to start with a white primer. If you’re using a light color on the piece, you may want to use this method (otherwise some print may stick out). Make sure not to cover to top part in order to take the balloon out.
About This Article
To make papier mâché, first add 2 cups (240 grams) of flour and 1 cup (240 milliliters) of water to a large bowl. Stir the flour and water together until a paste forms, then set the paste aside. Next, tear or cut enough 1-inch wide strips of newspaper to cover the object you’re papier mâchéing 3 times. When you’re done, dip the strips into the papier mâché paste, and press them onto your object. Continue dipping and pasting the strips until your object is completely covered. Then, let the first layer dry, which should take about 2 to 3 hours. Place a fan next to the object to help the papier mâché dry faster. Repeat the process 2 more times so you have 3 layers in total. Then, paint and decorate your papier mâché object. For other ways to papier mâché, including how to use a glue mixture or a wallpaper mixture as your base, read on!
Paper mache can be made into a variety of different types of crafts, from fine art sculptures to pinatas and kids’ crafts. There are two forms of paper mache: one uses pulped paper and one uses torn strips of paper. The pulp type of paper mache is most often used to create molded and sculpted pieces, while the strip form is used to cover existing surfaces, making hollow and flat pieces like pinatas and masks. Since paper mache crafts are inexpensive and easy to make, they are popular for kids’ crafting and school projects as well.
Pulped paper mache crafts are made by combining torn newsprint or paper, water, and flour, or glue blended to make a clay-like paste. In some cases, an armature is formed out of cardboard, aluminum foil, or wire, and then the object is covered with paper mache. Paper mache crafts made with pulp need to dry for about a week before they can be painted and then dry to a hard, durable finish. This method is used to make molded or cast pieces, dolls, sculptures, and holiday decorations. Pulp paper mache crafts are dense and heavy for their size and should not be exposed to water because they could melt.
Torn strips of thin paper or newsprint are used to make paper mache crafts that need to be hollow. This is the most commonly used paper mache technique, which combines long strips of paper with glue and water. Strips are applied to an existing surface, like a balloon, cardboard box, or other item. Paper mache crafts made with the strip method dry in a day or two, depending on the humidity level and temperature of the room they are in. Strip paper mache crafts include pinatas, holiday decorations, home decor, and masks.
Water and flour are the two main ingredients for paper mache paste. You can also add white glue to this mixture, or it can be used as a suitable substitute. Paper can also be mixed in with a paper mache paste to create a pulp. Color and mold retardants can also be added.
Flour can be mixed with water to create a very simple homemade paper mache paste. These ingredients are often just mixed together until they reach a paste-like consistency. Thick paste will usually be a little stronger than thin. The flour and water can also be cooked or boiled to create a relatively weak paste that dries clear. To make this type of paper mache paste, flour is first mixed with water, and then this mixture is stirred into boiling water and allowed to cool before being used.
Most white glues can also be used in paper mache paste. Pastes that use glue usually dry much clearer than those made with just flour and water, but the glue must be diluted before being added. Generally, one part water is mixed with two parts glue to make this type of paste. It can also be added in with a flour and water paste.
Some people also use diluted glue for a type of finishing coat on their paper mache projects. This can be used when you do not want the edges of the paper to show on the finished project. Parents who use glues as one of the ingredients for paper mache, however, should supervise their children closely since some glue may be toxic if ingested.
Different types of paper can also be used when making paper mache. Some people add paper directly to the flour and water to make a paper mache pulp, which can then be used to create a smooth surface on a finished project. Newspaper is the most common type of paper used for paper mache, but colored construction paper can also be used.
To make paper mache pulp, bits of paper are soaked in water for several hours. The mixture is then put into a blender, and flour, glue, and water are added. Colored paper mache pulp can also be made by adding some sort of pigment, such as food coloring, pigment powder, or acrylic paint.
Paper mache often has a tendency to mold. To prevent this, salt, cinnamon, or clove oil might be added, since these ingredients reportedly help prevent mold from growing on the finished product.
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If you are wanting to know how to make paper mache, there are many basic recipes that you can easily find online.
One thing to remember if you are mixing this up yourself is how humid your climate is. If you live where there is high humidity, you might want to use less water when you are making your paste.
I also like to add a little cinnamon to my mixture. It just smells a lot nicer when you are working with the glue. andee February 27, 2012
@LisaLou – That is a great idea using the liquid starch. Another thing I have found that is very economical is using Elmer’s art paste as my glue for paper mache.
I think I have tried just about every paper mache recipe there is, and I have found this paste to be the cheapest thing that will give good results too.
I can buy this in a box for around $4 and it will make up to a gallon of glue. Depending on how many kids you have working on a project, this can last for a long time.
Another tip I learned when working with paper mache, is to use a clear layer such as copy paper for your last layer. This makes it a lot easier to paint over than a layer of newspaper.
If you do use newspaper for all of your layers, it is easier if you use a white primer paint before you begin painting your different colors on your dried paper mache. LisaLou February 26, 2012
I have made several batches of my own paper mache mixture. I have used the glue and water method, and also the cooked method with flour and water.
All of them work well, and I have found it to be more a matter of personal preference than anything.
Another thing I found that works well is a liquid starch. I bought a big jug of this at the grocery store, and this is great because it is already mixed up, and will last a long time.
It has a consistency close to the cooked method, and dries smooth and clear. Once I started using this, I find it is easier to have it on hand all the time and I don’t have to worry about cooking or mixing anymore.
Mix one part flour with one part of water (eg, 1 cup flour and 1 cup water, or 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water) until you get a thick glue-like consistency. Add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Mix well with a spoon to get rid of all the lumps.
What glue do you use for papier mache?
One of the most common, and easiest, ways to create paper mache is to use glue and water as the paste. A few different types of glue will work, but most people use wood glue or white Glue-All. Using glue is very similar to using flour, but it creates a stronger structure that is less likely to rot.
Can I mix PVA glue with water?
To use in sand and cement, a mixture of 2 parts PVA to 1 part water is general. Tip the PVA in the water and mix as normal. PVA dries to a colourless finish and will not react with any other surface preparation or finish.
How much do you dilute PVA?
Dilute 1 part PVA with 4 parts water and mix well. Apply using a brush, working material well into crevices and gaps. Allow the coat to dry before continuing.
Should I PVA before wallpapering?
By priming your walls with either an acrylic, alkyd, or PVA primer, depending on the surface type, will ensure your wallpaper adheres properly to the surface without damaging the wall. Primer creates a barrier between the wall and the paper so that the adhesive doesn’t overly bond with the wall material.
Can you mix glue and water?
Mixing glue and water results in thinned glue, which has many applications, such as a sealant or for papier-mâché. Water will also recover Elmer’s glue that has thickened over time.
Can I use clear glue for fake water?
How to Make Fake Water with Glue – Using Blue Elmers Glue for Water in Dioramas. If realistic water is too much or you want something simpler for a smaller diorama, then you can also use blue glue. Besides, you’ll probably want to get clear school glue as well.
What are the six general types of adhesives?
Different Types of Glues:
- White Craft Glue: This is the most common craft glue for porous lightweight materials such as paper, cardboard, cloth, and kids’ crafts.
- Yellow Wood Glue:
- Super Glue (also known as cyanoacrylate adhesives):
- Hot glue:
- Spray adhesives:
- Fabric adhesives:
What can I use if I don’t have Mod Podge?
If you just can’t find Mod Podge where you live, look for PVA glue. It’s about the closest you can get. Frequently craft and art stores have PVA glue, but you may have to call around.
Can I use Mod Podge instead of gesso?
Can I Use Mod Podge Instead of Gesso? No, you cannot use mod podge in place of gesso – at least not for sealing and priming surfaces meant to be painted. Although mod podge and gesso are both adhesives and somewhat related, they are far different from each other in makeup and function.
Does homemade Mod Podge really work?
Homemade Mod Podge is usually made using watered-down glue, so it lacks some of the properties that store-bought Mod Podge has. Store-bought Mod Podge can be used as both an adhesive and sealant, making it durable. The homemade version is less-adhesive, and lacks varnish or sealer.
Is Homemade Mod Podge waterproof?
You can make it waterproof by adding varnish to it. However, if you really want something waterproof, hardcore, then I would say you need to use varnish. Not mod podge at all. (Remember Mod Podge isn’t waterproof unless you select the waterproof option too.)
Is PVA the same as Modge podge?
Modge Podge is a type of PVA glue similar to Elmers but with a higher moisture content, its thinner. Its also works better with inkjet prints rather than Elmer’s glue that’s been thinned with water. If you want to try the a water thinned PVA glue do a test first.
What is the difference between PVA glue and clear glue?
There is no really a better one, they just work differently when making slime. White Glue is Water-Based, while Clear Glue is Solvent-Based. Just make sure you are using a type of glue that contains PVA!
Is wood glue and PVA the same?
Polyvinyl acetate is a component of a widely used glue type, commonly referred to as wood glue, white glue, carpenter’s glue, school glue, Elmer’s glue (in the US), or PVA glue.
Is clear glue stronger than white glue?
As far as I know, there is no difference in the effectiveness of the two types of glue.
What does PVA glue not stick to?
Carpenter’s Glue or PVA Glue PVAs provide a strong bond on porous surfaces but do not adhere well to nonporous materials such as metal or plastics.
You don’t have to wait for your child’s science fair to make an erupting paper-mache volcano. Making one at home out of paper-mache is fun for the whole family. Paper-mache is a technique you use to create shapes out of shredded paper—typically newspaper—and glue. Paper-mache glue, also called paste, is a basic mixture of flour and water. The glue is used as a wash over the layers of paper to hold it in place as it hardens into a specific shape. While there are two types of paper-mache glue—cooked and no-cook—this project works best with no-cook glue.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Small paper cup
- Small funnel
- Stirring utensil
- Cardboard or a round cardboard cake tray measuring about 2 feet in diameter
- Small paper cup or small water bottle
- Masking tape
- Paper-mache paste
- Various colors of acrylic paint
- 1 Tablespoon Warm water
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Red food coloring
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Baking soda
- White distilled vinegar
Make the Base
Make a base for the bottle or cup by crumpling a mound of newspaper into the approximate size of a hamburger on a bun. Tape it down on the center of the cardboard or cake tray. Using masking tape, secure the bottle or cup upright in the center of the mound you just created.
Form the Volcano
Start to build the form of the volcano by wrapping crumpled newspaper around the sides of the bottle or cup, making it as wide as you want at the bottom. Mold and shape it into a cone so the volcano is narrower at the top of your bottle or cup than it is at the base.
Wrap Volcano in Masking Tape
Wrap the newspaper in masking tape, so the outside is smooth from the masking tape. This also secures the newspaper to the base.
Don't cover the opening of the bottle or cup at the top of the form with masking tape—you'll need it to be open for the eruption.
Form the Exterior of the Volcano
Tear more newspaper into strips about 1 to 2 inches wide. Saturate one strip of the newspaper by dipping it into the paste. You can also hold the strip of paper in your hand and brush the paste onto the paper using your other hand and a paintbrush. Stick the newspaper strip over the volcano by using your fingers to massage and smooth each strip onto the form. Repeat this process until the form and base are covered with newspaper strips. The strips should overlap and run in different directions.
Let the Volcano Dry
After applying one layer of paper strips, wait 24 hours for the paste to dry. If you wish, you can apply another layer of paper strips until you achieve the volcano shape you like, but every layer of paper strips and glue needs to dry for 24 hours.
Paint the Volcano
When the newspaper and glue are completely dry, then it's time to paint the volcano with as much detail, texture, and color as you'd like. Use brown or gray for the rocks, green for vegetation, and red streaks to simulate the lava that will flow from the top. Add little trees or dinosaurs at the bottom of your volcano to replicate a prehistoric scene.
Make the Lava
Measure 1 tablespoon of warm water and pour it into the volcano crater (the top of the bottle or cup). Add three to four drops of dishwashing detergent into the bottle or cup. Add the baking soda and stir with a narrow utensil or stick. Pour the white vinegar into a separate paper cup until it's one-third full, then add a few drops of red food coloring.
Make an Explosion
Quickly pour the vinegar into the volcano crater, step back, and watch the volcano's bubbly and blazing red explosion begin.
Paper Mache is an awesome medium to work with, it is easy to use, quite cheap and all around just perfect for Kids but also great for adults to use. You can easily create simple or complex forms, paint them and use them for a lot of different things, like costumes, for art or other projects. But before you start, there are some things, that you should consider. One such thing is what kind of mixture to use for Paper mache, glue-based or flour-based? In this article, I will tell you everything, that you need to know so that you can make an educated decision.
So is glue or flour better for Paper Mache? The short answer is, glue is better. It creates a better adhesive than flour and glue-based Paper Mache is also very unlikely to rot or mold, unlike flour-based Paper Mache. The Glue also drys clear and creates a better base for painting your Paper Mache project later on.
What Kind of Glue is Best for Paper Mache?
Pretty much any white glue is good for Paper Mache. The only important thing is, that it is easily diluted with water and if you want to do Paper Mache with Kids then you should use non-toxic glue.
I normally use either wallpaper paste or Wood glue but Mod Podge would be a good alternative as well.
Make sure, that if you are using wood glue, that this wood glue is regular wood glue and not extra fast drying one or a water-resistant one. Special fast drying wood glue or water-resistant glue may have some additives, that can interfere with water and make it either very had to dilute it or sometimes even impossible.
So simply stick to regular wood glue and you should be fine.
If you are using wallpaper paste then make sure it is a normal one as well. There are some special pastes out there that adhere better to textured walls or are very fast drying but, as with the wood glue, these additives may make it hard to use for Paper Mache.
No matter what kind of glue you choose to use you have to dilute it with water. Generally mixing it one part glue and one part water will be enough but depending on the exact type of glue you use you may have to use more water.
A good indicator of whether you have the right amount of water is when your mixture is becoming less sticky than it originally was and it has to be quite fluent almost like water.
If you are using wallpaper paste then simply add more water, than the instructions say until you have the right consistency.
Is Using Glue any Different Compared to Using Flour for Paper Mache?
For one I personally think using glue is easier than using flour because mixing it right is easier and the glue mixture is just way stronger than any flour mixture can ever be.
To be honest, using glue is bit more expensive than using flour but it works so much better than flour and it drys a little faster as well.
Glue is mixed with water just like flour is but glue is mixed in a one to one ratio with water, unlike flour.
Other than these small differences using glue is pretty much the same as using flour but the glue mixture has a lot of advantages over a flour mixture.
The Glue mixture is faster drying, easier to use, drys transparent, doesn´t change the color of the paper, adheres better, doesn´t mold or rot and so on. It´s just all-around better in my opinion.
Why Do So Many People Use Flour for Paper Mache Even Though it´s Worse?
There are a couple of reasons. One reason is, it’s way cheaper than using glue and it is defiantly not toxic.
So a lot of schools, for example, use it in their crafts classes because they don´t have to worry about toxicity and money and it is still a lot of fun for their kids.
Flour and Water is also the traditional mixture, that is being used since centuries but mainly because they didn´t have the possibility to buy white glue like we do today.
So in a lot of traditional crafts, the flour and water mixture is still used for paper mache, even today.
And even though Paper Mache can rot or mold when you use flour instead of glue there are things you can do to ensure that none of that is happening. It all depends on how you seal the project and how you use it. And many masters do know how to properly seal their Paper Mache to avoid any molding.
But the easier way is still just simply using white glue such as wood glue or wallpaper paste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Make Paper Mache Water Resistant?
Yes, you can but it still won´t be able to stay outside for a very long time. You can use a layer of epoxy to seal your paper mache and make it water-resistant or you can apply a small layer of mod Podge or white glue to make it resistant to small amounts of water.
What Happens if Paper Mache Gets Wet?
If you didn´t seal it at all then it may get soft again. If that happens, then you have to carefully dry it while taking care not to deform it. If you have sealed it properly, then Paper Mache can take small amounts of water without any problems but if it gets soaked then you may have to say goodbye to your project.
Does Paper Mache Get Hard?
Paper Mache normally doesn´t dry hard. The consistency of paper mache is comparable to a very thick paper or cardboard. That being said there are processes, that can make Paper Mache dry hard by using epoxy for example.
Any More Questions?
Do you have any more Questions about Paper Mache? Then feel free to leave a comment down below and I will try to answer your question as soon as possible.
Looking for the perfect paper mache recipe? We’ll show you how to make paper mache using PVA glue to craft sweet little trinket pots using cookie cutters that the kids will love!
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Published: December 10, 2020 at 9:30 am
It isn’t just balloons that are good for covering in paper mache! You can cover so many different shaped objects with this fun paper mache recipe. The reason that balloons are so popular is that they can be removed with just once prick of a pin, and POP – your paper mache balloon shape is free! We’re going to show you 3 great methods you can use to release your paper mache from solid objects, so you cans see how to make paper mache fun shaped objects. We’re using cookie cutters to build up some little mini trinket pots, but you can use anything you like – just remember you’ll need to be able to slide you paper mache off it, so one side must be left open, with an opening wide enough for the object to be removed.
What is paper mache?
Paper mache (or papier–mâché to give it its proper name) literally means chewed paper. With this technique, absorbent paper, often newspaper is torn into strips and mixed with a sticky paste. The strips are shaped around an object and take on the shape of that object once the paste is dry. You can use different papers like tissue paper, but you don’t want anything with a surface finish on it, so if it looks glossy, it probably wont take up the paste too well so it wont properly mash together. Tearing the paper into strips rather than cutting it also helps to create a more absorbent edge for taking up with stitch paste and really sticking nicely.
Paper mache recipe
There are several methods you can use to make the paste for your paper mache. You can mix water with flour, you can use wallpaper paste or you can use PVA glue mixed with water. We are focusing on how to make paper mache with PVA glue in this article, but if you want to see how to make paper mache with flour, you’ll find a recipe on our sister site, BBC Good Food. Click for the flour paper mache tutorial. You might also like our Easy Salt Dough Recipe post.
What do you need to make paper mache?
- Newspaper torn into strips – 2x5cm is a good size
- PVA craft glue
- Cold water
- Paintbrush – 1cm wide is a good size
How to make paper mache
- Mix 1 part PVA craft glue with 2 parts water to make your paper mache paste.
- You don’t need to be super accurate – there is no need to measure out your ingredients, it is fine to approximate this by eye. But a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part PVA glue is a good rule of thumb.
- If you are exploring how to make paper mache with kids, it’s a good idea to use a child-friendly PVA craft glue as this will be water soluble so easily removed from clothing and hands, but we’ve used a water resistant wood PVA glue with this technique and it has still worked.
- Mix the glue and the water together until they are combined, then your paper mache paste is ready to use.
How to make paper mache
Take a look at our video tutorial to see how to paper mache and how the layers and built up as you learn how to make paper mache with PVA glue. If you prefer a photographic walkthrough showing how to make paper mache, you’ll find these under the video.
Paper mache isn’t very good at dealing with moisture.
Thankfully there are numerous ways you can waterproof it so that it will last for a long time.
Adding waterproof wood glue to the paste will protect your structure.
You can also use waterproof acrylic paint to color your paper mache.
Apply a layer of waterproof varnish after you’ve finished your statue to keep it in excellent condition.
This will help protect the brightness of the colors even when you’re leaving your paper mache outside.
3 Ways To Waterproof Your Paper Mache
Papier mâché or paper mache is an easy and extremely popular crafting technique.
In French, it means chewed paper, which is basically the main thing you need to create an incredible statue.
The paste is made of a simple and flour and water mix, and you can even add glue to create a durable paste that you can apply on a balloon or a hollow object to create a statue or structure.
When it dries, the paper hardens and becomes more durable and difficult to break. However, it doesn’t become waterproof.
If you’re leaving your paper mache statue outside or accidentally spill water on it, the water will moisten the paper and make it brittle and easy to peel.
This practice is thousands of years old but is one of the most popular ones today because you can make decorative items for your home or even sell them to start a crafting business.
Here are some methods that you can use to waterproof your mache paper:
1. Use Waterproof Glue
Paper mache is made using a pliable paste that is applied on top of a structure like a balloon, box, or even egg to create the desired shape.
There are several types of adhesive materials that you can use to stick the materials together.
Flour and water are suitable for DIY projects, but the statue won’t be that durable.
Adding waterproof glue like gorilla glue is a good idea because it holds the paper together.
It also makes the paper mache structure more resistant to the elements even if you leave it outside.
Waterproof glue also protects your paper mache creation from the mold.
Moisture from the rain or accidental water slips can cause mold that destroys the paper mache structure and can become a safety hazard if you’re leaving it inside your house.
However, this material is resistant to water and prevents it from ruining the paper mache structure.
2. Use Waterproof Colors
After your paper mache has adequately dried and hardened, you might think about applying different colors to make your creation more unique.
There are different kinds of colors that you can use with paper mache, but water-based ones are the least water-resistant.
Instead of water-based colors, use waterproof acrylic paint to coat your paper mache.
These will allow the water to slide off the outer surface of the paper mache without affecting their brightness.
As a result, even the heaviest rain won’t make your colors run or fade.
High-gloss enamel paint is excellent for paper mache, especially if you’re leaving your creation outside.
This paint is resistant to the elements and stays bright and vibrant in extreme weather conditions.
There are different varieties of opaque, transparent, and frost finish variations of enamel paint that you can use to cover your paper mache.
This paint resists moisture as well as UV rays, so it’s an excellent choice for outdoor projects.
3. Use a Waterproof Sealant
A waterproof sealant adds more protection to your paper mache.
This transparent layer makes the colors more resistant to moisture, so it will protect your creation from the elements.
After your paper mache has completely dried, you can apply a transparent layer of waterproof finish if you want to retain the original color of the paper mache.
Even if you have applied color, this finish will make your paint glossy and more water-resistant.
It’s normal to apply a new layer of sealant every year, especially if you’re leaving your paper mache outside.
Paper mache (or papier-mâché, if you prefer) can be made with many different paste recipes.
To go straight to your favorite recipe, click on one of the links below.
This is a reader-supported site. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂
The recipes listed on this page are for use with paper strips and paste. You’ll find my paper mache clay recipe on a separate page.
If you’re looking for a fast start on your next paper mache project, any of the recipes on this page will work with my new downloadable patterns for sculptures and masks.
Fast and Easy Raw Flour and Water Paste
This has been my favorite paper mache paste for years. It’s also the paste our friend Dan Reeder uses to make his wonderful dragons and monsters. However, keep reading to see when it might not be the best option for your next project.
Paper mache paste is easy to make, and it doesn’t really need a recipe. The most important tip is to use hot water (from the tap, not boiling) to make a nice smooth paste.
Ingredients for easy paper mache paste:
- Hot Water from the Tap
To make the paste, just pour some white flour in a bowl. Add hot water gradually until you have a consistency that will work well. Mix with a spoon or whisk. If you have one, an immersion blender works great).
How thick should you make your paste? You want it thin enough so it looks more like white glue than pancake batter – although thicker paste will work OK, too, if that’s the way you like it. You really can’t make it wrong.
What kind of flour will work? You’ll need to use all-purpose white flour. Whole-wheat flour makes healthier bread, but it isn’t sticky enough to make good paste.
Make up just enough for one sculpting session. This is good advice for any paste made with wheat flour. Wild yeast is attracted to flour (that’s how sourdough bread is made.)
If the paste is kept over from one session to the next, the yeast will break down the flour and make the paste less sticky (and slightly stinky). It’s best to whip up as much as you need today, throw out any paste that’s left over, and make a new batch tomorrow – or whenever you need some more. (If you need a paste that can be kept for longer periods of time, see the Elmer’s Art Paste, below.)
Be sure to clean the bowl and utensils before the paste has time to dry – it will dry very hard. That’s good for paper mache, but not so good for the person washing the dishes.
Tips: This paste is easy and strong, but it will leave a floury residue on the outside of your sculpture. If you want the last layer of paper to be seen on the finished sculpture, you’ll need one of the clear paste alternatives below.
And if you have a gluten allergy, you’ll want to use one of the gluten-free alternatives.