Ultimate Guide to Recycled Newspaper Crafts

Recycled Newspaper for Papier Mache

Building with papier mache (also papier-mâché or paper mache) is quite possibly one of the most creative outlets for crafting with recycled newspapers. The most expensive supply you'll need is some leftover paint -- you can make everything else (even the glue!) yourself.

For papier mache, you'll want to utilize the tearing technique you learned while creating beads. Gather your recycled newspapers and rip them into strips that are approximately 1 inch (2.54 cm) wide; if you make your strips much thinner they will be difficult to work with. Ripping in this case will help the strips cling smoothly and evenly to the form you'll use. If your edges are too neat, you will get bumps in your project. Once you've ripped enough newspaper to cover your form two to three times, it's time to make the glue.

It's fine to use ready-made, clear-drying glue in this project, but many people prefer to go the cost-effective route and make their own. To do this, you'll need to mix one cup of flour into one cup of water until it forms a thin paste. This concoction gets mixed with four cups of boiling water. Stir and simmer for three minutes. The glue will thicken as it cools [source: WGBH Educational Foundation].

There are many forms that crafters like to cover with papier mache. Many use blown-up balloons; some crinkle and wad up newspaper and masking tape to create shapes that they cover with papier mache. Regardless of which method you use, you'll dip the newspaper strip into the glue and then begin covering your form. You should overlap the pieces a bit as you go to minimize holes. You can do multiple layers at once, but it will take longer to dry -- and papier mache takes days to dry to begin with.

When your papier mache is dry to the touch, you are ready to decorate your creation. If you have used a balloon, you'll want to pop the balloon with a pin. It's perfectly acceptable for the balloon to remain inside your shape; no one will see it. The paint will double as decoration and a lacquer to help preserve your masterpiece [source: Make-Stuff].

If you're interested in preservation, this next craft may help you protect an antique.