5 easy papier-mâché makes

Have a go at these crafts using our simple papier-mâché recipe

Written by Gabrielle Meredith-Elsworth

Maybe you’re a serial crafter. You clicked on this and thought – we’ve mixed the salt dough, moulded the homemade play clay, stretched the slime and now we need a bigger project. Papier-mâché… Bring. It. On!

Or maybe you’re a craft virgin. You clicked this post because, soon, your kids will be off school for 6 weeks and you know you’re going to need to pull out all the stops to keep everyone entertained.

Whatever the reason – below, you’ll find an easy papier-mâché recipe plus ideas that are satisfyingly simple to make. Papier-mâché takes a while to dry so it’s best to plan these makes over two days – one day for pasting, the next for painting. This makes them perfect for school holidays, weekends, and time at home with pre-schoolers. If this is your first time, start with the ice cream sundaes (scroll down to 2) – you can’t go wrong! If you’re a pro – race into making a car that moves (see 1, below).

Papier-mâché recipe

What you’ll need: an old newspaper, white paper, 1 mug of plain flour, 1 mug of warm water, plus extra tap water, a paintbrush

1. Cut strips from newspaper.
2. Mix together sifted flour and warm water in a large bowl. Add a little tap water if the mixture is too stiff. The paste should be smooth and batter-like with no lumps. Add a pinch of salt to stop the paste from going mouldy.
3. When working on the makes, lay down newspaper or a plastic mat. Dip the newspaper strips into the paste, using the side of the bowl to get rid of any excess. Stick the strips to your make and use a paintbrush to smooth down the paper. Repeat until fully covered.
4. Add more layers of newspaper strips dipped in paste to strengthen the make. If you’re going to be painting, it’s best to cover in strips of white paper for the final layer to make painting easier.

You can also watch a video on BBC Good Food.

1) Beep beep: make a moving car!

What you’ll need: papier-mâché mix (see above), strips of newspaper, 2 lightweight cardboard boxes one bigger than the other (eg cereal and snack bar box), pencil, masking tape, stronger cardboard, paper straws, paint

1. Prepare the papier-mâché mix, using the recipe above.

2. Tape the smaller box on top of the bigger one to make the shape of the car.

3. Poke holes in the bottom box with a pencil and slide two paper straws through. Using the recipe above, get your little one to cover the car  in layers of newspaper strips with the papier-mâché paste. Do the final layer with white paper strips. Leave to dry overnight.

4. Once dry, your child can have fun painting the car whatever colour they like. To make the moving wheels, cut 4 equal circles from the stronger cardboard and pierce a hole in the middle. Ask your child to thread them onto the paper straws.

2) No scream ice cream: easy craft with a cherry on top!

What you’ll need: papier-mâché mix, strips of newspaper, paper bowl (or an old bowl), foil, paint, glitter or sequins, red pompoms, glue

What to do:

1. Prepare the papier-mâché mix, using the recipe above.
2. Get your kids to crumple up some foil into balls.
3. Now they can cover the balls with strips of newspaper dipped in the papier-mâché mix. Ask them to cover them until they can’t see any more foil. Then pop them into the bowl and leave them to dry overnight.

TIP! Why not scroll down and try another idea while you’ve still got the papier-mâché mix out…

4. When the papier-mâché is dry, your child can paint the ice cream balls with whatever colours they want, the brighter the better!
5. Then get your little one to squirt brown or pink paint all over the balls to add chocolate or raspberry sauce. Then they can add sequins and/or glitter sprinkles (they should stick to the paint).
6. Finally, glue a red pompom to the top of each ball.

3) Superhero bracelets: an essential for our little heroes

What you’ll need: papier-mâché mix (see recipe above), strips of newspaper and white paper, small piece of coloured card, kitchen or loo roll, glue, paint

What to do:

1. Prepare the papier-mâché mix, using the recipe above.
2. Cut the kitchen or loo roll to make a cuff (approx 2-inches wide).
3. Using the papier-mâché recipe above, help your child cover the cuff in newspaper strips with a final layer of white paper on top. Leave to dry overnight.
4. Help your child cut out a superhero icon shape from the coloured card, which they’ll stick to their cuff later. It could be a star, lightning bolt or something else!
5. Once the cuff is dry, your child can paint their cuff superhero colours and patterns.
6. Finally, they can stick on their superhero icon with glue.

4) Easy peasy penguin!
This cute pal can double up as a money box

What you’ll need: papier-mâché mix (see recipe above), a balloon, newspaper and white paper, tape or glue, scissors, white paint, black paper, white paper, orange paper, a pin to pop the balloon, googly eyes (optional)

What to do:

1. Prepare the papier-mâché mix, using the recipe above.
2. Blow up the balloon.
3. Help your little one cover the balloon with 2 layers of papier-mâché strips using the recipe above. Use white paper strips on the final layer. If you want to make a penguin money box leave a small gap big enough to fit a coin where the balloon is tied, if not just leave a tiny hole so you can pop the balloon later. Leave to completely dry stood upright overnight.
4. Once dry, use a pin to pop the balloon.
5. Cut petal shapes from the black paper and help your child stick them to the penguin with glue. Make sure to leave a white space in the middle as this is the penguin’s tummy!
6. Cut out a diamond from the orange paper and fold in half. Ask your child to stick to the penguin for a beak.
7. Make eyes from the white and black paper and stick on to the penguin, or you could use googly eyes!
8. Cut out feet shape from the orange paper and stick to the bottom of the penguin.
9. Finally, cut out wing shapes from the black paper and get your little one to stick to either side of the penguin.

5)  Music maestro, please! Egg shakers that really rattle!

What you’ll need: papier-mâché mix (see recipe above), pva glue, balloons, newspaper strips, wrapping paper, dry grains such as rice or beans to fill the maracas, a glass, a pin to pop the balloons

What to do:

1. Prepare the papier-mâché mix, using the recipe above.
2. Blow up the balloons so they’re quite small. You’ll only be making two shakers but feel free to blow up more for your kids to play with while the the papier-mache dries!
3. Ask your kids to cover the balloons with newspaper strips dipped in the papier-mâché mix. Make sure to leave a small space where the balloon is tied. Repeat to create 4 or 5 layers. For the final layer, use strips of wrapping paper instead of newspaper.
4. Leave to dry completely (overnight). You can rest the covered balloons upright in a glass.
5. Once dry use a pin to pop the balloons. Keep the eggs standing in the jam jars/ glasses and pour the dry grains into the shakers (you left a hole where the balloons were tied).  Add just enough that they’ll make a sound when shaken. You can roll a piece of paper into a cone to use as a funnel to help get them in.
6. Seal the holes with a piece of wrapping paper and plenty of PVA glue..

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