My Favorite Paper Mache Paste Recipe

Updated on April 30, 2018

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 flour paste
paper mache flour paste

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

  1. Measure your ingredients.
  2. Mix your flour with an equal amount of water (1/4 cup). It should be the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Boil the remaining 3/4 cup water.
  4. Add your flour and water mixture to the saucepan, whisking vigorously. Be careful not to get splashed.
  5. 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.
  6. Let the mixture cool slightly.
  7. Go make some fun projects!
  8. 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.

Basic Papier Mache Paste Recipe

To make any quantity of paper paste, use a 1:4 flour-water ratio.

1. Boil three parts of water.

2. Mix remaining water with flour.

3. Blend until smooth.

4. Add to boiling water.

5. Cook until clear-ish.

Allow to cool slightly before using.

My paper mache statute, coated with a mud/paste mixture. This statute was made entirely from recycled materials.
My paper mache statute, coated with a mud/paste mixture. This statute was made entirely from recycled materials.

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.

Papier Mache Dolls in Mexico
Papier Mache Dolls in Mexico | Source

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!

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 QuiltFinger

    What Are You Going to Make? - Share your comments, questions, and projects.

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      • profile image

        Dianne 

        4 weeks ago

        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.

      • lynberry profile image

        Lyn Berry 

        7 months ago from Tacoma

        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!

      • profile image

        Celia Gall 

        8 months ago

        We always just took tap water and mixed it with flour in a gallon bucket and that’s it

      • profile image

        ss 

        8 months ago

        is it a durable thing wont it go bad/infested after some time

      • profile image

        Christina 

        8 months ago

        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! ^^

      • profile image

        Anita sindhe 

        16 months ago

        It's amazing I love to do new things and teaching to kids

      • profile image

        ALHS 

        2 years ago

        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 profile imageAUTHOR

        QuiltFinger 

        5 years ago from Tennessee

        @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!

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        is it effective?

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        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! :)

      • Craftypicks profile image

        Lori Green 

        6 years ago from Las Vegas

        I always add the glue for extra strength.

      • Christine Dever profile image

        Christine Dever 

        6 years ago

        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!

      • profile image

        SimplyTonjia 

        6 years ago

        Thanks for such a great lens. Looking forward to trying out your recipe.

      • QuiltFinger profile imageAUTHOR

        QuiltFinger 

        6 years ago from Tennessee

        @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.

        https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/PaperMacheArmature

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        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 profile image

        wadsworth lm 

        6 years ago

        It looks fun, I just worry about the mess. With my kid cleaning up after might take longer than the set up and project. :)

      • Gypzeerose profile image

        Rose Jones 

        6 years ago

        Great resource for making papier mache. Bookmarked.

      • Lee Hansen profile image

        Lee Hansen 

        7 years ago from Vermont

        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 profile image

        Rita-K 

        7 years ago

        Paper mache is so gooey and fun! Love all of your project photos.

      • profile image

        JoshK47 

        7 years ago

        Sounds like good, albeit messy, fun. :)

      • Chris-H LM profile image

        Chris-H LM 

        7 years ago

        Gonna have to do this with my kids. Thank you for the lens! :)

      • QuiltFinger profile imageAUTHOR

        QuiltFinger 

        7 years ago from Tennessee

        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 profile image

        goode006 lm 

        7 years ago

        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 profile image

        Joy Neasley 

        7 years ago from Nashville, TN

        sounds good.

      • Joy Neasley profile image

        Joy Neasley 

        7 years ago from Nashville, TN

        sounds good.

      • QuiltFinger profile imageAUTHOR

        QuiltFinger 

        8 years ago from Tennessee

        @paperfacets: I'm looking forward to writing more. :D Thanks for the comment and warm welcome.

      • paperfacets profile image

        Sherry Venegas 

        8 years ago from La Verne, CA

        Looking forward to seeing more lens from you. Welcome to Squidoo.

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