Recycle Craft Idea: Making Papier Mache by Using Pattern Scraps!

Recycle Craft Idea: Making Papier Mache by Using Pattern Scraps!

Hi! I’m Jenn! I’m here on the blog today to talk to you about a fun, kid and eco-friendly project that you can do right now using items you likely already have in your home!

If you are like me and have been printing and sewing ALL the new patterns for a while, you are also probably like me and have stacks upon STACKS of paper patterns lying around! Maybe the folks you are sewing for have grown out of a size, maybe you switched to a projector or maybe you’ve just moved onto a new favorite pattern. Either way these old, unused papers can pile up and take up so much space.

Today I want to show you a fun way to repurpose some of those papers with a kid friendly, eco-friendly, papier-mâché project.

Papier mâché, or “chewed paper,” is the process of taking a wet, glue-like mixture and mixing it with bits of paper or pulp and forming it into a cool shape using a mold or structure. When I say the possibilities are endless, I mean it!

Here are some ideas of things you could make using papier mâché

  • Unique globe

  • Trinket bowl

  • Party Pinata

  • Volcano experiment

  • Sculptures

  • Puppets

  • Halloween Mask

  • And the list goes on!

These can be painted, colored, or left raw to make some really interesting decorative pieces, or something fun for the kids to play with.

Typically, newspaper is used but today we are going to try this with small strips of old patterns. Reduce, reuse, and recycle those patterns into something new and so exciting!

Let’s start!

This is a fun part to get the little ones involved in. Hand them a stack and tell them to go to town! They can rip or cut pieces to their little heart’s content. (You may want to grab a pile, too! Ripping something to little shreds can be very therapeutic, especially on a stressful day!)

We decided to make decorative bowls so here is what you need to make this same project at home:

  • Your ripped strips

  • Large bowl to make paste

  • Flour

  • Water

  • Measuring devices

  • A wisk

  • Cling wrap

  • Bowls to use as a mold

Step 1: Mix the paste!

You will want to begin with two parts water to one part flour. We started with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of flour and had enough paste for two bowls with a little leftover. Wisk these together until there are no lumps. You may need to add more flour if it is too runny (we did!) and it should end with a similar consistency to white, school glue.

Step 2: Prepared your bowls (or other mold)!

Cover the bottom of your bowl with cling wrap. This will help pop that papier mâché off when it’s dry.

Step 3: Start dippin’ and stickin’!

Dip the strips into the paste then use your fingers to scrape off the excess so the paper is wet but it’s not dripping or too thick with paste. Then stick it on the mold! Continue to add strips until the mold is covered in a couple layers of paper strips.

Step 4: Let it dry!

Now comes the wait. When the bowls are covered with a few layers of paper it’s time to let it dry. If you want a sturdier bowl or if you’re making something like a pinata you’ll want to add more. The first round needs to dry for 24 hours though first. For these bowls that are more for looks we will stick with one round.

See you in 24 hours for the next phase of the project!

We’re back! This is 24 hours later. The bowls are dry enough to remove from the mold and to remove the cling wrap. If the bowl is a little wet or sticky under the cling wrap, let it sit for awhile before the next step. This will make sure the inside of your bowl will be completely dry.

All that is left now is decoration!

You can start by trimming around the edge with scissors if you’d like. You can cut it straight around or cut a swervey edge for some added interest. You can also leave the raw edge if you like that look. Then paint! Spray paint, acrylic paint, glitter paint…whatever fits your vibe!

Let the paint dry and you’re ready to display your new art with pride!

I hope this inspires you to create your own papier mâché art for your home! Thanks for reading!

(Written by: Jenn Gowett)

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