My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Papier Mache

I save all the thin tissue papers or un-printed newsprint papers that are wrapped around the flowers that are delivered to me to make batches of Papier Mache with. These sheets make fantastic Papier Mache because it is designed to be super absorbent and colour fast.

You will need:

Paper
Wood glue (or wallpaper paste)
Water

Papier Mache thin glue

Tear the paper. Mix equal parts of water and glue.

Papier Mache soak

Soak the paper in the glue mixture

Papier Mache mould

Apply to the mould

Paper Pedestals

...or construction, as I did when making these paper pedestals

For another Papier Mache construction look at my Baby Stroller Gift Hamper and Cardboard mushrooms filled with Lavender Tub-Tea and Cardboard Cup Cake Tower and the Tiny Note books and Serviette rings I made for my Mud!!! demonstration

Or:

Mash paper

Pulp the paper by mashing it in the glue water until it becomes the constancy of sculpting clay (or place the mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth).

Papier Mache pulp

Papier Mache pulp

Paper pig

Balloons and inflatable plastic balls make excellent moulds. (Piggy bank) Simply blow up, cover with Papier Mache, leave to dry. Pop or deflate and remove the inflatable. No release agent is required.

If you use a solid mould to shape the Papier Mache to, you will need to apply a release agent to the mould. I prefer not to use oil (Vaseline or Cooking oil) or even dish washing liquid because of the residue.
The best way to cover the mould is with cling film. If you use cling film it creates a very interesting texture on the finished item which can be left as is or sanded smooth, or filled with more Papier Mache.
When choosing a mould make sure you will be able to remove the dried Papier Mache.
Leave to air dry.
Then paint or decorate if required.

Papier Mache clay

Left over Papier Mache can be stored in an airtight container.

If I need to paint my design I prefer to paint the items with water based paint or even better, natural colourants (for a Tutorial about natural colourants see the links at the bottom of this post). That is simply because I do not want to have to wait days for the paint to dry. I also like the idea that my design will be biodegradable so I do not paint it with a varnish. I would rather recycle plastic to line the item if I require it to be water proof. Encourage the receiver of your Papier Mache object to recycle (plant) it by adding small flower seeds to the mixture at pulp stage.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.

Tutorials

28 February 2011 Paper flowers

You can use any type of paper to make flowers. I use tissue paper, CrĂªpe paper, cardboard, newsprint and coffee filters (new and used) to make sweet peas, carnations, paper...

24 August 2011 Stain wooden skewers with natural dye

Using fruit, berries, flowers, leaves and grasses to naturally stain design details for floral art relies on the same techniques as using paint or any other dye.

Related Designs

13 January 2011 Baby Stroller Gift Hamper

Baby Stroller for a Baby Shower to hold the party favours and gifts

18 December 2009 Cardboard Cup Cake Tower

White and lime green cake stand for chocolate muffins

2 June 2011 Cymbidium Friendship Arrangement in a Papier Mache Container

The Asian Cymbidium is considered a gift of respect and friendship. The florets are also considered symbols of "virtue" and "morality" in many other cultures.

7 April 2012 Spring Clean

A clean Easter design. The tiny blossoms are Kalanchoe 'Calandiva Pink'. Tucked low in the paper eggs are a few Cymbidium orchids and the twigs are contorted hazel. The...

15 January 2014 Love at second sight

This is my article that I wrote for the Valentine's Design Issue of Canadian Florist Magazine

19 August 2015 Growth Medium

Design a bark and moss pod for a mushroom mini farm

21 October 2015 Watch the leaves turn

Roll autumn leaves to create a wreath

6 January 2016 Hey there

Moss and succulents cover a mask shape to create a woodland inspired mask

28 September 2016 I found it this way: Wasp nest design

This was the second design I did in my "I found it this way" floral art demonstration

14 December 2016 A Candy(cane) Cotton Christmas

A floral cotton candy cane

28 December 2016 A Jingle Cotton Christmas

Cover a wreath frame with bark and cotton for a textured Christmas wreath design

11 January 2017 As special as an almost never find

Sometimes you find such a beautiful plant that you just can't bring yourself to cut it. This design explores using the entire plant, pot and all, in a design

18 October 2017 On the inside

For a softer autumn leaf pod turn the leaves so that the bright side faces in when making the pod.

19 December 2018 Oh Florist-tree

Craft an Eucalyptus Christmas tree