Monday, October 16, 2017

Papier-Mache Recipe

I've gotten a request for the awesome papier-mache recipe I mentioned in my previous post.  I had a link saved on Pinterest, but the link seems somewhat fussy.  I'll post it HERE, but I'm also copying the recipe at the bottom of this post, just as it is written on that link, in case you can't access it.  

Be aware, this is a flour-based recipe, so it should NOT be used if anyone in your class has a wheat/gluten allergy.  My little class of four students has nobody with a wheat allergy, and neither do I.  But be warned, and be careful. I'm a big proponent of using "Art Paste" for papier-mache in a regular school program because it is not a wheat product and has no allergy concerns, and also because it can be stored indefinitely.  But this stuff is definitely stronger.  Since the kids' structures were somewhat complex and our time is very limited, I did not want them to have to do multiple layers.  So using a strong flour-based paste was definitely preferable.  We used up all the goo I mixed so I didn't need to worry about storage. 
On the day that I mixed the papier-mache for my little DragonWing Arts class, I could NOT open the link with the recipe, and could not find my saved copy of it, so I just sort of invented based on memory.  It turns out that my memory is not so good; I didn't remember the baking soda and salt, nor the proportions of rice to wheat flour, and as a result, my mix was a bit gritty/lumpy, as you might be able to tell in these two photos of my girls being goofy.  Luckily, while not as creamy as it should have been, it seems to have held the projects together just fine!!!  Following the recipe would have been the better alternative, though! 

So without further ado, here it is, the recipe for the "Best Creamiest Papier-Mache Recipe Ever":


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 2 cups boiling water

1. Mix the dry ingredients.
2. Mix in the cool water with a fork or whisk, adding the water a little at a time to keep it as smooth as possible.
3. Stir the flour mixture into the boiling water.
4. Allow it to boil for two or three minutes.

Options: After a night in the fridge just stir it up with a fork. It's even nicer if you heat it.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Totally Twisted Taxidermy, Part 1

Yes, finally, after a lapse, this is an art project post, and papier-mache is underway.  My DragonWing Arts students have been back in session for 4 weeks, but I didn't want to share their projects until there was more to show.  But today I'll share the progress on one project.

The theme of our 7-week session is Surrealism, 'Cerealism', and Space.  I wanted to do a papier-mache project with the kids, and so we are creating "Totally Twisted Topsy-Turvy Wacky Tacky Taxidermy Wall Mounts".  A lot of words, I know.  Hopefully they will somehow go with the Surrealism theme. 

Anyhow, we started by creating a wire loop to hang the projects on the wall when done.  I punched two holes in a cardboard backing, and twisted a piece of wire through the holes to make a loop.  The right-hand pic below is the back, and the left-hand pic will be covered by the wall mount creature. 
 We discussed ideas for our creatures and I shared various supplies they could incorporate in their armature, the bones and flesh of their   creations.  We had everything from toilet paper cardboard tubes to disposable champagne glasses.  There were Styrofoam balls, and some junky fake gourds, as well as tin foil, newspaper and tape.  We talked about how to attach the parts and the kids jumped right in. 
 Below is an example I am making.

 Then we started papier-mache.  I wanted them strong so that we wouldn't need to do lots of layers, so I checked that nobody had a wheat allergy, and then I made a boiled paste of wheat flour, rice flour (for extra creaminess), and water.  And the kids got to work, using newspaper. 
Today we added a second layer of papier-mache using white newsprint instead of newspaper, to make it easier to add color without having to pre-paint a layer of gesso.
We only meet once a week, so you'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see how they turn out!  So far, I think the kids are doing a great job.