Learn How to Make Paper Mache Paste!
Paper mache is a wonderful medium. It's free, non-toxic, and great to do with kids. No fancy equipment is required! You probably already have everything you need. Paper mache is so fun and easy that you can create just about anything. This recipe works for all types of projects from bowls to bracelets and piñatas.
Paper Mache Paste Recipe
Ingredients and recipe for easy, all-purpose paper mache paste
To make any quantity of paper paste, use a 1:4 flour-water ratio.
I usually use 1/4 cup flour because that is the amount of paste I can use in 1-2 hours.
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (30 grams)
- 1 cup water (240 ml)
- 1 Tbsp of white glue, such as Elmer's (optional)
- 1 Tbsp of liquid starch* (optional)
*Liquid starch is available in the laundry aisle, or it can be made with the following formula. Starch will make the paste a little more slippery and easier to spread on your strips.
1. Combine 2 tsp of corn starch (corn flour in the UK) with 2 Tbsp cold water.
2. Boil 1 1/2 Cups of water and whisk the two ingredients together to make your own liquid starch.
Kitchen Tools You'll Need
- A saucepan to boil water
- Basic measuring tools
- A whisk or spoon
- A covered bowl with a tight fitting lid for your finished paste
How to Make Your Papier Mache Paste
- Measure your ingredients.
- Mix your flour with an equal amount of water (1/4 cup). It should be the consistency of pancake batter.
- Boil the remaining 3/4 cup water.
- Add your flour and water mixture to the saucepan, whisking vigorously. Be careful not to get splashed.
- Keep stirring, and remove the paste from the heat when the glutens are cooked. The liquid will go from milky white to slightly transparent when it's done.
- Let the mixture cool slightly.
- Go make some fun projects!
- Optional: Add a 1 tablespoon each of liquid starch and school glue for a smoother consistency and stronger hold. I always add a bit of glue because I think that it really improves the quality and strength of the paste.
Storing Leftover Paper Mache Paste
If you made more paper mache paste than you can use immediately, the mixture can be refrigerated and saved overnight, but the paste tends to separate slightly. Also, I've found that it's quite unpleasant to stick my hands to cool mushy goo. I always prefer working with warm paste, but I don't like to waste anything either! As I mentioned earlier, I try to make a quantity that I can use in one session.
Leftover paper mache paste will keep for one or two days without refrigeration or longer when refrigerated and stored in a covered container. I like to use pyrex bowls.
Paper Mache Project Ideas
Historically, paper mache has been used to make everything from jewelry to lacquer boxes, statues and furniture. I used this recipe to create a monstrous gargoyle statue shown above.
Check out the process for sketching and creating this paper mache statue.
What Would You Make?
Plentiful piñatas? Beautiful bracelets? Startling sculptures? Abstract art? Let me know what you're making! Post links to your projects!
Feel free to share your comments and questions below. I would also love to see your completed or in-progress paper mache projects! Happy crafting!
© 2010 QuiltFinger
What Are You Going to Make? - Share your comments, questions, and projects.
Heather on June 21, 2019:
How long does the paste take to cook down after I add the flour/water mixture?
Dianne on September 16, 2018:
I used to make paper mache with just watered down elmer;s glue, but since glue prices have doubled recently, I find the flour recipe so much more economical. FYI- Elmer's prices have sky-rocketed since the "goop" recipe became popular.
Lyn Berry from Tacoma on February 28, 2018:
What the What?? This is simply the best paper mache glue EVER! I cooked up a double batch this morning thinking I'd still need to make more for all taped and ready to go projects! This stuff really goes the mile! Way WAY better that plain flour and water. It somehow molds to the project much cleaner than the uncooked flour/water mixture (which I used All the time), It dries quickly and CLEAR too! It also cleans up off your hands SO much easier! Amazing,Thank You for sharing!
Celia Gall on February 17, 2018:
We always just took tap water and mixed it with flour in a gallon bucket and that’s it
ss on February 14, 2018:
is it a durable thing wont it go bad/infested after some time
Christina on February 03, 2018:
I am using this to make my swords for my cosplay costume for a convention coming up. Great mache recipe. I'm excited to try this! ^^
Anita sindhe on May 31, 2017:
It's amazing I love to do new things and teaching to kids
ALHS on July 24, 2016:
I'm going to try this to make a toe cast, no joke. Several days ago I dislocated two toes next to my big toe. After going to the clinic twice( first time the used a child size splint which was way too big. Second time they used a tongue depressor looking bendable and cutable splint) since the first dislocation on which it was at a 45 degree angle I've dislocated two more times having to again personal reset it. Not a lot of fun. The way it stands there is a absolutely no support. So I hoping this will help. I don't have any plaster of Paris /: Wish me the best. I have no idea what to expect or how this will turn out. Blessings to y'all !
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on October 04, 2013:
@anonymous: Yes, it's very effective. The elmer's or white glue helps with the strength, but it's very strong on its own. I once made a pinata with my friends, and it was so strong that we hard a hard time breaking it open!
anonymous on August 07, 2012:
is it effective?
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on July 19, 2012:
@anonymous: Hello Sue, I use 2 teaspoons (tsp), but it's just a guideline. It should be fine if you use more or less. Thanks for your question!
anonymous on July 02, 2012:
2 Tsp of corn starch (corn flour in the UK) with 2 Tbsp cold water... Is that supposed to be 2 Tbsp corn starch or 2 tsp cornstarch??
Thank you for the recipe! :)
Lori Green from Las Vegas on June 14, 2012:
I always add the glue for extra strength.
Christine Dever on April 10, 2012:
Just wondering if you know of a gluten-free paper mache recipe? I tried water and rice flour, but when it dried, the newspaper strips did not stick together anymore and the whole thing just fell apart. Thanks!
SimplyTonjia on March 15, 2012:
Thanks for such a great lens. Looking forward to trying out your recipe.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on March 03, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi there Makaylah, you'll need some newspaper strips or strips from other paper products like a phonebook
Simply tear sheets of newspaper into strips by hand, instead of using scissors. The raw edges adhere very well to one another. If you have trouble tearing the strips, try going vertically instead of horizontally, or vice versa to find the grain of the paper.
To make the paste, you need a 1:4 ratio of all purpose flour and boiling water. A bit of white glue, such as Elmer's, can also be added after the paste is cooked. You'll need to dip the strips in the paste or use your hands to coat the paper strips with the paste and just layer the soggy strips onto your volcano. Gently smooth the strips down with your fingers, but don't worry about wrinkles or making it too perfect. After a few layers and before painting, you will need to let the project dry. Placing a fan near the project or even using a hair dryer can help the project dry faster if needed. Good luck with your volcano! I hope this helps.
P.S. You can see photos of one of my paper mache projects in process here to get a better idea.
anonymous on March 03, 2012:
I'm working on a science project. It's a volcano. I've made the shape of it and now I want to cover it in paper machet. What do I use to make the paste and how do I do paper machet?
wadsworth lm on February 14, 2012:
It looks fun, I just worry about the mess. With my kid cleaning up after might take longer than the set up and project. :)
Rose Jones on November 27, 2011:
Great resource for making papier mache. Bookmarked.
Lee Hansen from Vermont on September 14, 2011:
This is the paper mache paste recipe I remember using as a kid! Adding this as a resource for my mask making and kid craft features.
Rita-K on June 20, 2011:
Paper mache is so gooey and fun! Love all of your project photos.
JoshK47 on June 18, 2011:
Sounds like good, albeit messy, fun. :)
Chris-H LM on May 30, 2011:
Gonna have to do this with my kids. Thank you for the lens! :)
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on April 24, 2011:
That's such a cool idea! Train people have great techniques for making miniatures like using deer lichens to simulate trees. ( I just found out about that one the other day) That's for sharing your paper mache experience!
goode006 lm on April 24, 2011:
I use to do this when I was younger, I used it to make mountains on my train set. I used wire mesh and newspaper dipped in the stuff.
Joy Neasley from Nashville, TN on December 19, 2010:
Joy Neasley from Nashville, TN on December 19, 2010:
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on April 14, 2010:
@paperfacets: I'm looking forward to writing more. :D Thanks for the comment and warm welcome.
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on January 30, 2010:
Looking forward to seeing more lens from you. Welcome to Squidoo.