Paper Mache Art Project for Kids


My current afterschool paper mache project is turning out to be one of my most reliable, ye olde balloon and mache combination.
SESSION ONE: I started each student off with a 12" balloon and a cut-off grocery box to hold the balloon in place. The students used 10" strips of newspaper for the first layer. The mache recipe can be found HERE. The mache requires several days to dry. Warning: Do not sun dry in the sun. The balloon will expand and tear the paper.
SESSION TWO:  If your balloon has popped, cut a small opening and blow up another inside to replace it. A second layer of mache and paper is applied. It helps to do the this layer with a diffent color paper to assure full coverage. Again, let dry for several days.

SESSION THREE: Cut a 7" circle of corrugated cardboard for the base of each bowl and use about 8 long strips of masking tape to secure it as shown. Have the students mache a layer of long newspaper strips to wrap around over the masking tape and cover the bottom to complete the base. Then, add a second layer and let dry for several days.
SESSION FOUR: To prep for painting, I used a  box cutter to open the bowl and then covered the rim with masking tape to reinforce it. Paint away with bright acrylic paint.

1. I did a bit of prep work by spray painting the outside bowl with a very quick layer of white spray paint. It wasn't enough to totally cover up the newsprint, just maybe half of it or so. When the students worked with their acrylic paint, it seemed to help keep the colors bright and pretty opaque. They began by generously covering both the outside and inside of their bowls with their favorite color.
2. The last step was to add any detail design. Smaller brushes were available to paint stripes or spots. 
3. After the bowls are completely dry, they are sprayed with a gloss sealer to protect and add a bit of shine. My opinion is that a glossy shine will make almost any project look it's best.

Kathy Barbro earned her B.F.A. at Minneapolis College of Arts & Design, enjoying a 20-year career in graphic design. When her son entered kindergarten, her career path took a turn. The local elementary school had no art program and that was all the inspiration she needed. Kathy served as a volunteer art docent for several years, later becoming the school's Professional Expert in Visual Arts. She teaches twenty K-5 classes weekly and conducts an after-school Art Enrichment program. Kathy pooled her talents to share her curriculum via the blogosphere. With 500 classroom-tested art projects posted, her Art Projects For Kids is a favored source of art lesson plans among teachers, home schoolers and parents.