Family Fun: Paper Mache (Papier Mâché) Masks


Sunday afternoon the question was asked, "Are we doing anything?" Rather than letting the moment pass and all the kids scurry off to their own isolating activities I said, "I'm going to make a paper mache helmet. Who wants to join me?" Most scurried off, but I started my preparations anyway knowing that I would likely entice a kiddo or two once they saw what was going on. It worked! I snagged Molly and she made a cute mouse and I made an elephant. We had no idea what we were going to make until we started. Most importantly we had a great time together.

Now if it's been a while since you did paper mâché in grade school don't worry--it's actually ridiculously simple. Here's how:

Simplest paper mâché recipe ever:

  • Mix together:
    • 2 cups white flour
    • 2 cups water
    • Newspaper: Tear into long strips.
    • Balloon: Provides the form. You could use anything in any shape for the form.
    • Dip strips into the mixture. Squeegee excess off between your index and middle fingers. Use three or more layers so it's strong enough.

Optional materials:

We used:

  • Paper plates: We used for the ears.
  • Egg carton: For cat nose and elephant tusks
  • Plastic cup: Elephant nose
  • Paper clips: Bent into brackets to support ears from flopping down. Just cover with paper mâché.

You could also use:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Cardboard
  • Craft foam
  • Crumpled up paper
  • Chicken wire

After it dries, which can take a few days, you can trim with scissors, cut eye holes, paint and decorate as you like.

Other ideas for things you can make:

  • Masks
  • War helmets
  • Piñatas
  • Castles
  • Sculptures
  • Animals
  • Creatures
  • Decorations
  • Anything you can imagine.

It's messy (which is part of the fun) and creative. Enjoy!