Papier-mâché projects are great for any age from tinies right up to adults. They are fun learning experience to share with a young child. They also make good group projects.

Papier-mâché is messy so summer days are perfect to enjoy this out in the garden especially during holidays when you find your house full of kids. Papier-mâché will keep them entertained and happy for hours!

The paste:

There are two main types of paste.

  • White glue. For this mix one part glue with two parts water.
  • Flour and water: about equal amounts of white flour and water. I mix with a spoon; first then finish with an Electric beater to make it nice and smooth.

I always use flour and water. It’s cheap. Doesn’t drip as much and dries very quickly. Paste made with white glue dries clear whereas flour paste can be a bit yellow but if the models are going to be painted that doesn’t matter.


There are several but, for children, I recommend sticking to these two:

  • Balloons. Here a blown up balloon is covered with several layers of small pieces of overlapping newspaper. When it’s dry the balloon can be popped leaving a hollow shape. Humpty Dumpty was made using this method.

  • the rolled paper method. Here several sheets of newspaper are rolled and then wrapped in masking tape. Layers of paper and paste are then added until the required thickness is reached. The snake was made using this method.

The Octopus uses both methods.


Some suggestions if you decide to make the Octopus:

  • If you have a group of children doing this give them each a tentacle/leg to make.
  • It’s much easier painting the legs when they are loose. It’s difficult when they are attached to the body. So, if you can decide on colours, medium etc beforehand it helps.
  • An alternative method of decoration could be spray paint. This could be applied once the octopus has been assembled. Small pieces of pegs from a shiny magazine can also be used and stuck on with a dilute white glue which dries clear But this method takes ages ! Again the kegs need to be covered before attaching to the body.
  • After the legs have been attached and while I was waiting for it to dry, I sat the octopus body on a brick so the legs didn’t take the whole weight.
  • The ‘suckers’ need to be attached by a strong glue like Bostick.
  • If you spray the finished octopus with varnish it will withstand quite a lot of rain.

The tortoise above is half a balloon (so you can make two from one balloon.)

The face is a polystyrene ball covered in just one layer of papier-mâché then painted with acrylic mixed with white glue.

The legs are corks.

After cutting the finished papier-mâché balloon in half i wrapped it in masking tape to make a flat side and then added a couple of layers of papier-mâché.

To decorate I painted the shell first in black. Then the coloured hexagons were stuck on and finished with black permanent marker.

Once dry it received a good spray of varnish..



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s