How To Make a Papier-Mache Cowboy Boot

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Old cowboy boots make a great base for a papier-mache project.
Old cowboy boots make a great base for a papier-mache project. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Papier-mache is a material used in sculpture and crafting that is made from paper pulp or torn paper and a special paste, usually a mixture of flour and water. Papier-mache also can be shaped over an object that serves as an underlying structure and remains as part of the finished product. These include balloons, cardboard, toilet paper rolls and other household and decorative items. To make a papier-mache cowboy boot there are several different options to consider.

Things You'll Need

  • Cowboy boot or cowboy boot balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Sanding paper
  • Paint
  • Glaze
  • Plastic pieces
  • Brush

Choose a form for your papier-mache project. An old cowboy boot can do the trick, or you may want to purchase a balloon that holds the same shape. Mylar balloons are available from online retailers or from crafts or party supply stores.

Prepare your papier-mache paste by mixing one part flour with two parts water. The paste should eventually be the consistency of glue but not overly thick. Add more water and flour as necessary, mixing vigorously to remove any lumps. Once the paste is the right thickness, add a few tablespoons of salt to prevent mold from forming on your finished project.

Rip the newspaper into strips roughly 1 to 2 inches wide. Dip the newspaper into the papier-mache paste. Make sure the strips are completely saturated, then run them through your fingers to remove any excess paste.

Working with your hands, shape the papier-mache over the cowboy boot, smoothing it down with your fingers as you go. The paper strips should overlap and run in different directions. The entire boot should be covered. Let it dry for at least 24 hours, then add a second and third layer.

Use acrylic paints and other decorations to finish your papier-mache cowboy boot. A leather look can be achieved by using a lighter coat of paint as a base then mixing one part paint to four parts glaze. Wad and unwad the pieces of plastic and push them down over the painted area. Brush the plastic before carefully peeling it off to reveal the texture.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are many different recipes for papier-mache paste. It is best to experiment a bit and find the recipe that works for your project.
  • You may want to sand your papier-mache project before painting it, depending on the paints or decorations you want to apply.
  • Glaze dries more quickly than regular paint. If you're texturing your papier-mache cowboy boot with a faux leather look, it is best to work in small sections rather than trying to cover the entire surface at once.

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