Papier Mache -- commonly referred to simply as "paper mache" -- originated in China and spread throughout Europe in the 17th century. Paper mache is the artistic technique of making sculptures, items and objects out of strips of paper dipped in a simple, homemade paste. Learn how to utilize this longstanding crafting tradition to make creative paper mache bottles for clever and unique home décor or decorative gifts.
Things You'll Need
- Empty glass bottle
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- Newspaper, cut into long, 1-inch-thick strips
- Paper towel or hand towel, for wiping hands
- Craft glue
- 1 paintbrush
- Tubes of poster board or craft paint
Making the Cast
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour with 1 cup water to form a paste that is about the same thickness and consistency as school glue.
Hold the bottle lengthwise is your hand, or position it on a table between two sturdy objects, such as books or canned goods, to keep the bottle securely in place.
Dip a strip of newspaper into the paste, coating it entirely. Gently run your thumb and index finger down the strip to remove excess paste, but try not to rip the strip.
Place the strip along the exposed surface of the bottle, running your fingers down the pasted strip to ensure smooth adhesion and remove air pockets.
Continue placing strips along the exposed half of the bottle, including the bottom, all the way up the bottle neck. Overlap strips slightly.
Once half of the bottle is covered, allow to dry completely overnight or longer.
Repeat the process on the other half of the bottle once the first half has dried, and allow the freshly pasted half of the bottle to dry overnight or longer.
Apply a second coat of paper mache strips to both halves of the bottle, following the same procedure.
Assembling and Painting
Use a pair of scissors to cut a straight line down the hardened paper mache covering the bottle.
Carefully pull the glass bottle out of the paper mache cast.
Use glue to adhere the two edges of the paper mache cast back together.
Place one strip of newspaper covered in paper mache paste over the seam and allow to dry overnight.
Paint the bottle using colors and designs of your liking.
Tips & Warnings
- Clean up any paper mache paste drips or spills immediately so the paste does not have time to dry or harden.
- Cover unused paste with plastic wrap and refrigerate for future use. You may have to add a little water to refrigerated paste to return it to the proper consistency.
- Use a hot glue gun instead of craft glue for extra durable assemblage.
- Paint the paper mache bottle in stripes, patterns or solid colors.
- Use tissue paper, ribbon or other embellishments to decorate painted paper mache bottles.
- Paper mache paste is difficult to remove from some fabrics and surfaces once it has hardened.
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