Has money become tight in your household lately? Are you in need of creative and inexpensive solutions for gift giving? If you are the least bit crafty, a good paper mache recipe may be all you need to fill your Christmas gift list. Paper mache requires very few ingredients and batches can be quickly and cheaply made as needed. For years this type of craft has been considered a kid craft, but clay artists and crafters have expanded on this notion to achieve great works of art or fun bits of whimsy. If you have ever worked with clay or thought about it and decided it was too expensive, this could be the alternative you have been needing.
This basic paper mache recipe becomes a clay when finished and can be air dried or baked in the oven. Tear several pieces of newspaper approximately one inch square. You will need a large bowl full. In a large pot, boil eight cups of water. Add the torn newspaper to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook for twenty to twenty-five minutes, while stirring with a spoon. When the paper breaks down, remove the pot from the heat. Using a hand held electric mixer, beat the paper until it is smooth. Pour the paper into a colander and let the excess water drain. Do not press the water out. Pour the paper back into the pot and add a cup of flour. Mix the paper mache well and simmer over a low heat. Once the mixture becomes the consistency of clay, remove from the heat. Pour the clay onto newspapers and allow to cool. Once the mixture is cool enough to knead and ply you can begin crafting your masterpieces. This recipe will make just enough clay to easily work with at one time. A double batch is not recommended. If more is needed, wait until you have used up the first batch.
Create your projects by forming the clay into the shapes and sculptures you would like or cover cans, jars, wood and wire to create your structures of art. Make ornaments for Christmas exchange parties or as gifts for co-workers and friends. Cover cardboard boxes and you have wonderfully sturdy jewelry or trinket boxes. Shape grapes, leaves and vines and attach to an inexpensive bottle of wine. This paper mache recipe is very versatile. Any project you can envision making with clay can be accomplished with this recipe. Make plaques, jewelry, bowls or boxes. Press the clay into molds for more detailed finishes. Allow the finished pieces to air dry for a few days. The project's thickness will determine how long it will take. If you are able to put your item in the oven, bake at a low 200 degrees for faster results. Note: Do not put the suggested bottle of wine in the oven.
This paper mache recipe makes a very durable finished product. When you project is completely dry, sand the surface to smooth. Use ordinary acrylic paints to bring life to your art and finish with a protective clear acrylic spray. The end result can be very impressive and professional looking.
Wendy Pan is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
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