Paper mache art projects are entertaining for children of all ages. Paper mache crafts are also inexpensive to make, and they are simple and safe enough for smaller children that have adult supervision. Help your child make a biodegradable paper mache pot to plant seeds in and explore art and science together. You can even paint the pots when they are finished and give them as personalized gifts to grandmothers, teachers, aunts or mom after the seeds sprout.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring cup
- Flower pot
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Mixing bowl
- Petroleum jelly
- Plastic wrap
- Liquid tempera paints
Measure and pour 4 cups of water into the medium saucepan. Have an adult set the pan on a burner and turn the burner control onto the medium-high heat setting to bring the water to a rolling boil.
Measure out 1 cup of flour and pour it into the mixing bowl. Measure 2 cups of water and add it to the bowl. Mix the flour and water together with the wooden spoon until there are no lumps in the mixture.
Reduce the heat setting on the stove top to "Low." Pour the flour and water combination into the saucepan and allow it to simmer between two and three minutes. At this point the mixture should appear completely smooth.
Measure out 4 tbsp. of salt and add it to the saucepan.Stir the mixture with the wooden spoon for two minutes.
Let the mixture cool for three hours. It should be at room temperature.
Rip up the magazines and newspapers into small strips.
Spread petroleum jelly around the outside surface of the pot you choose as your mold. Rub the petroleum jelly in with your fingers. Hold the end of the plastic wrap against the outside of the bowl and pull the wrap around the bowl until the wrap begins to cover itself again. Remember to cover the bottom of the pot in this manner. Stick any extra wrap that hangs over to the inside top edge of the bowl.
Coat one side of a piece of the paper you shredded earlier with the paste mixture you cooked. Push this side of the paper against the plastic wrap on the pot and coat it in paste again. Continue applying the paper across the entire outside surface of the pot in this manner, including the top edge and the bottom. Cover the pot by rotating and overlapping the paper strips.
Allow the first coat of paper mache to dry; it will dry in less time if you place it in the sun. Add the next coat of paper mache by following the instructions from the previous step and allow it to dry. Apply the final coat and let it dry by following the steps again. Wash off the bristles of the paintbrush in warm water.
Grip the plastic wrap at the top inner edge of the pot. Slide the plastic wrap up slowly and carefully. Pull the plastic wrap out of the paper mache pot.
Decorate the pots with the tempura paints and the paintbrush.
Tips & Warnings
- Tempera paints are egg based. If you or your child has a known egg allergy, try using finger paints as an alternative.
- Photo Credit child image by Tadija Savic from Fotolia.com
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