How to Make Papier-Mache Paste with Corn Starch

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Papier mache can be used to make masks, pinatas, vases and more.
Image Credit: Anna Osiecka/Hemera/Getty Images

While most papier-mache recipes call for all-purpose flour, you can also make it using corn starch instead. A mixture of water, sugar, vinegar and corn starch will produce a sticky papier-mache paste that functions the same as a flour-based paste. And unlike flour-based paste, when you're finished with it you can save any leftovers in a jar with a tight lid and use it as craft paste for future projects.


Gather Your Supplies

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  • 1 cup water
  • Additional 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn starch
  • Medium pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium bowl
  • Newspaper torn into 1-inch wide strips

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When working with papier mache, cover your work surface with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth to keep the paste from sticking and for easy cleanup.

Make the Papier-Mache Paste

In a medium bowl, mix the corn starch and cold water.


In a medium pot, combine water, sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and add the corn starch mixture slowly. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for two minutes until the paste has a smooth consistency.

Remove from the heat and let cool. You can start using the paste for papier mache as soon as it's cool enough to touch.


Apply the Papier Mache

To use papier mache for your desired project, you first need a base to hold your project's shape while the papier mache dries. If making a mask, a balloon will make a good base to approximate the shape of your face. You can also find an object in the shape you wish to make or build a base in your desired shape using cardboard or chicken wire. Then cover the surface with plastic wrap so the papier mache has a flat, non-porous surface to adhere to.


Next, dip strips of newspaper into the papier-mache paste and apply them to the surface of your base. Let each layer of papier mache dry completely before applying the next layer. Continue this process until you've done at least three to four layers to create a solid foundation that will hold its shape.


Papier Mache Tips

If your papier-mache paste starts getting too thick while you're using it, just warm it a little over low heat on the stove while stirring until it thins out again.

You can also use a paintbrush to brush a thin layer of papier-mache paste onto your surface and put strips of newspaper on top of it. Let it dry and repeat for the next layer. Finish the final layer by painting a layer of paste over top of it.


If you intend to paint your finished project, you can use strips of computer paper instead of newspaper for the final layer of papier mache to make a white surface that's easier to paint.



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