Pretty Papier-Mache Home Accessories

Papier-mache bangle
If you think papier-mache is just for grade-schoolers, think again. We show you how to raid the recycling bin for materials to make chic, unique, and free artwork.

Elementary Artwork

An easy technique, papier-mâché starts with scrap paper saturated with adhesive and molded or formed into objects. Mix white glue and water in a 4:1 ratio for a mixture that will strongly bond materials together. Tearing the paper into strips makes it easier to shape and blend rather than cut paper. Newspaper is ideal because it's soft and thin, so it molds easily. Thicker brown kraft paper also works and creates a strong finish sculpture.

Go Bowling

To create this bowl, start with a basic mold, such as a nonstick gelatin or cake mold, and paper pulp. To create paper pulp, place small pieces of torn newspaper in a pan and cover with boiling water. Let sit one hour, then strain. Tear paper into finer pieces and press between your fingers to create a mushy paper pulp. Add a glue-and-water mixture. Spray your mold with nonstick coating, then press the pulp into the mold and let dry. Carefully remove the dried bowl from the mold, and paint it to match your decor or to mimic a natural material such as wood or stone.

Deer One

Carved wood animal-head plaques are trendy, but they're also pricey enough to make you wince. With basic supplies plus imagination, you can get the look for just a few bucks.

Click to the next slide for instructions on how to make it.

Must-Have Materials

The materials you'll need for this plaque includes decorative paper and a wooden plaque, masking tape, scissors, twigs, cardboard, plastic foam egg, and a plastic water bottle. Form the deer head by scraping a plastic foam egg shape at one end to make the nose. Cut ear shapes from thin cardboard. Fold one end of the ear to make a tab. Tape the ears to the head with masking tape, wrapping around the head.

Craft Time

For the deer's neck, cut the top and bottom off a plastic water bottle. Cut a 2-inch-wide slit at the top and bottom of the cylinder. Tape the head to the water bottle and stuff it with newspaper. Wrap the form in masking tape.

Decoupage a Deer

Soak newspaper strips in glue mixture, layer the entire form, and let dry for 24 hours. Then add another layer and let dry. Sand any lumps. Paint with cream-color acrylic paint and let dry. Cut twigs for antlers. Drill holes in the head, insert the twigs and secure with hot glue. Cut decorative paper to cover the surface of a crafts store wooden plaque. Adhere the paper with spray adhesive or decoupage medium. Hot-glue the deer head to the plaque. Tie a string around the deer's neck and hot-glue a silk flower embellishment.

Recycling as Art

A throwaway syrup or ketchup bottle becomes a monogrammed display piece, perfect for holding fresh-cut flowers.

Click to the next slide for instructions on how to make it

Simple Start

Start by cutting off the bottle top. Then add one layer of papier-mâché and let dry.

Monogram Magic

Create dimension by gluing a chipboard letter to the center of the bottle. Cover with another layer of paper strips, easing over the monogram with a crafts knife. When dry, paint with crafts paints in desired colors, layering colors for a natural stone effect.

Be Dazzled

Using paper scraps and a cardboard tape roll, create personal, free jewelry. Wrap newspaper strips soaked in the glue mixture, around a cardboard roll. Let the layers dry and sand it to give the cardboard a more elegant shape. Cut strips of varying widths from art paper and images and type from magazines and newspapers. Saturate in the glue mixture. Arrange and wrap strips around the tape roll, overlapping the papers. Let the paper dry completely, then spray it with two coats of glossy sealer.

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