Experimenting with Papier Mâché and Decoupage


This is the first paper mâché box that I made. It is constructed with newspaper and cardboard. I used Elmer’s glue to put the box together and painted over several layers of newspaper with latex paint to cover the text and pictures on the newspaper. I had never tried decoupage, so I painted the fruit on paper, cut them out with an exacto knife, and glued them to the sides of the box.


I love to experiment and invent, so I’ve developed different methods and used different materials than I used with my first project. I now prefer to use bookboard rather than cardboard to build structures because bookboard is less likely to warp. I found that book binder’s PVA glue is much easier to work with than Elmer’s glue in building structures.


I’ve substituted newsprint instead of newspaper for my first layer of paper because I don’t have to worry about smearing ink.


Since I didn’t have to paint over newspaper ink, I decided to skip painting and use colored handmade paper for the other paper layer which now has a dual purpose – adding strength to the structure as well as being decorative.

I discovered that my favorite papers to use are smooth and textured mulberry papers and pineapple paper. I also cut decorative elements from these papers and decoupage them on. I arrived at these methods by playing and experimenting which is part of the fun of creating. I’m still working on inventing new methods and techniques.


I’ve created these boxes because I hope they are a project anyone can complete successfully. The free information sheet with the patterns and the youtube instructional video can be found on our website. There are other information sheets and videos on the materials and techniques you can use with papier mâché and sources where you can get materials.


The bottom line is creating with papier mâché is fun, the methods are easy, and the materials aren’t too expensive. Once you know the basics, you can experiment and create your own designs. Join me, it’s a lot of fun!