Paper or Papier Mache, as it is also known, requires a significant amount of glue, even for fairly small craft projects. You can use adhesives that are ready made and mix them with a little water to thin them to the desired consistency or you can make your own DIY paper mache glue mixes at home.
The benefits of making your own versions are that it lowers the cost of this paper craft significantly. It also means that you can make up non-toxic pastes that should cause no harm if they happen to be accidentally consumed by a child. This post explains how to use ready made mixes of adhesive as well as making your own. Included is a recipe for homemade glue with the ratio of ingredients needed.
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Ready Made Adhesives for Paper Mache
Nowadays my favorite ready made mix is Mod Podge which comes in different finishes. You can use it as a glue, a waterbase sealer and it also has a good finish over the top of a project. It's like a base and top coat all in one. I happen to like the matte variety better but you may prefer the shine of gloss.
Get this Mod Podge Set with Foam Brushes from Amazon.com
UK Readers get Mod Podge from Amazon.co.uk
With these types of adhesives, you normally want to thin them out just a little for paper mache. To thin, just add some glue into a container that you can wash out and just use for glue. Then add in a small amount of water to give the glue a bit of a runnier consistency.
I recycle a plastic carton like a clean yogurt pot which makes a handy size container that is reusable. Then I add in a teaspoon of water at a time and mix it in with a wide brush until the glue is just as I like it.
Beginner Paper Mache Book with Instructions and Projects
How you want your glue to be consistency wise is a matter of preference. There are normally different ways of doing things when it comes to crafts. You'll find how you like it by testing it out.
Be aware that if you mix the glue with too much water so it is very thin, it can run and spill all over your work. A very runny consistency is more likely to go where you don't want it on your project and it won't stick so well. If it is too thick, you can end up with some nasty little lumps and blobs ruining the finished look of your papier mache project.
DIY Recipe for Making Your Own Paper Mache Glue Mix
You can make a very low cost, inexpensive and child friendly DIY version of Paper Mache glue just by using some plain flour and some water.
Here’s My Flour and Water Glue Recipe:
1) Fill up a small bowl or a tub with 1 cup of plain white flour. It is best if you choose a container that you can keep solely for this craft like a clean ice cream tub.
2) Measure out 1 cup of cool water. So equal measures.
3) Gradually pour in a little water at a time and mix it in using a fork or a spoon until you have a runny paint-like consistency. This may mean that you don't use all the water or that you need to use a little more. It is partly about using your judgement as well because different flours may require slightly more or less water.
4) The ratio that you need to remember is that you need roughly the same amount of flour to water however you measure it out.
5) Beat the mixture up with a fork or whisk it through with a hand whisk until it is ideally lump-free. You do not want any lumps for paper mache as it can spoil your project.
6) This method can make up a really strong glue paste. Some crafters also add in a small amount of salt which is said to help prevent mold from developing. That's not something that I have ever done but the tip is there in case you want to try it.
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