Half way through the Spring Break, there’s no better time to finally give in to trying a bit of papier mache. Honestly – the kids loved getting their hands into the sludge and it is super easy to do, provided you have a bit of time to let these babies dry before you can finish off your project… whatever it may be. We made a bowl and I had intended for us each to make one, but in the end it was a group effort with both kids getting stuck in (quite literally!).
Now, there’s no need to get your knickers in a knot about the materials…. For this one, we head to the kitchen cupboards again. All you’re going to need is:
- Boiling water
- Coloured paper or paint… or whatever else you’re going to decorate with.
- A balloon (if you’re making a round…ish or semi-circular object)
Firstly, to make the glue, stir together about a cup of cornstarch and a cup of COLD water in a big mixing bowl. You should get a milky liquid. Then, pour in roughly 3-4 cups of boiling water. You’ll know when to stop when the mixture suddenly gloops up into a slightly opaque, smooth porridgey sludge that kind of resembles custard consistency.
Next get the kids to rip the newspaper into strips. They’ll love doing this and it gives their fine motor skills in their hands and fingers a good little work out. The younger children will be taken with the auditory stimulation from tearing the paper, so let them go wild.
To make our bowl, we blew up a large round balloon and got to the sticky business of covering the whole balloon with glue and layers of newspaper strips. To be honest, the kids could not get enough of this… and neither could I!! They just loved squelching their hands in the glue… especially since it was still quite warm.
Make sure you do at least 3-4 layers. The more you do, the longer it will take to dry, BUT the thicker, stronger and more successful your project/bowl will be.
Once you think you have enough coverage, leave it to dry in the sun for a good few hours… we forgot about ours and came back to it after a full day. Just make sure that it’s completely dry before doing anything else to it.
In order to shape our bowl, we cut the balloon shape in half and removed the plastic of the now popped balloon. Our bowl was a bit wonky so we taped an old lid to the bottom and then got on with adding our final layer of patterned paper. You could choose to paint it too. I’ve seen some gorgeous ones, used as candy bowls that have been finished off using candy wrappers…
Have fun and remember to let your kids get their hands right in the gooeyness. The sensory stimulation that they get from this is highly beneficial and can calm an over-energized child right down. Both my kids and I couldn’t get enough of this and I hope it has the same effect on you and yours.
Until next time!