Family Fun: Paper Mache (Papier Mâché) Masks

20130407-171711.jpgSunday 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!