habitatathome, howto, crafts, diy, kids

Playing with Paper Mache

paper mach hot air balloon

A few months ago, a friend and I met up for a day of shopping.  Much to my surprise, she came bearing gifts!  For no reason at all, I might add.  The best surprise ever!  It was a wonderful craft book.  It has kept me inspired with so many great things to create with my daughters. From it, we made pom poms, did a few science experiments, built a cardboard dollhouse, and now we've been inspired to do some paper mache.  As my friend knows, crafts are my crack.  I use these great books as an inspirational platform, for more creativity of my own.  Here, are some of the ones I'm loving right now! 


Ever since she gave me the book, I've been meaning to thank my friend with a craft.  I have finally settled on this one.   We both have small children, and her daughter Veronica's 3rd birthday is coming up.  I thought this would be a cute token, from our kids to hers.  I even personalized it with the little plane banner advertisement: "Neek is 3!".  (Neek, being short for Veronica). 



My own daughters helped me with the process, of course.   I hadn't done a paper mache project since 2nd grade, probably.  So, this first attempt is a little rough around the edges.  

1.  You start with making the paste.  This is 1 part flour to 2 parts water.  Stir it up until smooth.  (Next time, I'm going to try wall paper paste, to ensure it last longer, without the potential for mold). 

2.  Next, you take thin strips of newspaper and dunk them in the paste, wiping off the excess. 

3.  Lay all the newspaper onto your balloon, until you have at least 3 layers.  (My daughters loved this part!  Its' a huge, happy mess!).

4.  Let it dry thoroughly.  This takes a day or two.  

 paper mache hot air balloon

5.  Next, is my favorite part; the painting of it!  I imagined this scene up myself.  I then scanned through a few children's books and the computer, to fill my mind with examples of how to draw particular objects.    


6. I started with the hills.  I varied their heights and shades of green, for interest.  Once the hills were dry, and I could flip the balloon over; I then painted the sky with clouds.

My daughters were my apprentices.  : ) 

7. In my next moment of peace, I sat down and doodled with a Sharpie.  Way too fun!  


8.  Next, I filled in my doodles with acrylic paint.  All of this was far from perfect on the bumpy surface, but it doesn't really matter.  You can always touch up mistakes.  


 9. Next, I sealed it with one coat of Mod Podge.  (This is a product often used to make puzzles).   Let it dry for a few hours.  


10.  I still found it a little tacky to the touch, so I applied another coat of Polycrylic.  (I might just skip the Mod Podge step next time.  The Polycrylic will do the trick on it's own, for this project.  Use the Mod Podge if you decide to layer decorative paper onto it, though.  Mod Podge acts as an adhesive).  


 11.  Now, for the construction.  I used thin twine to hang it from the ceiling.  You could also use fishing line.  I found the center of the top of the balloon, and placed a small hole with a large needle.  

12.  Thread the twine through the top from the outside.  Tie a washer onto the inner end of the string, so it holds onto the balloon while hanging.  

 paper mache hot air balloon

13.  I found this basket at  local craft store.  I made four small holes around the balloon opening.  I then threaded yarn through each, at the four corners of the basket, and tied them off.  I moved the yarn around until the knot was hidden inside the balloon.  

children's room decor


 14.  Time for hanging! The Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon is finished, for some charming children's room decor.  I can't wait for our next Paper Mache project!




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