This weekend I was helping out at our Church Spring retreat kids program. I was given the paper mache station. YES! I was given a little booklet that spelled out everything that I was to do with the kids, so super easy.
Paper Mache is so easy and really cheap. I was surprised by how many kiddos had never tried it before. I think that most of us remember the crazy mess and don’t want to deal with it. The joy on the kids faces as they were creating and dripping the paper mache paste was priceless and made all the mess worth it.
You will need…
A small round balloon for each kid. We had ours already blew up for each kid.
Paper mache paste – 1 part flour and 2 parts water. Some methods have you boil the paper mache paste, but we had no access to a stove. We just mixed the flour and water together and it worked great! Super easy.
A whisk to mix the paste
1 bucket of paste for every 2 kids (this seemed to keep the mess to a minimal since you don’t have kids dripping and reaching over other kids)
News Paper – ripped into 1″ wide strips
Tissue paper – ripped into 1 ” wide strips
A disposable cup and plate for each kid. The cup and plate should catch most of the drips.
A bucket of water and paper towel to rinse and dry hands.
Skewer – used to pop the balloon when everything is dry and also to create the holes for the candle to shine through
Battery operated tea light candle.
To make clean-up go quicker, cover the table with a disposable table cloth. Don’t worry about cleaning it after each session, wait until the 3rd day when all the drippy mess is over. Then simply roll up the table cloth and throw it away. We also had a tarp covering the floor.
Start by handing out the plates and have the kids write their names on it. (hint – the names should be on the edge of the plate so it does not get covered by drips) Cup goes face up on the plate, and the balloon sits on the cup. Put the “tail” of the balloon into the cup.
Dip the strips of paper into the paste. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess glue so that your balloon is not dripping and can dry faster. Our youngest age of kiddos was 4. They did a great job, but needed extra help.
Gently lay the wet newspaper across your balloon and smooth out any wrinkles. Keep layering strips until the entire balloon is covered. You will need to let this layer dry overnight. The next day repeat the process of layering more wet newspaper strips and let the second layer dry overnight again. We found ours dried really quickly.
Notice the “tail” of the balloon is still visible. You will need this opening for the globe to sit over the candle, so make sure not to cover the bottom.
Now it is time for the colorful third layer. Since tissue paper is fragile, you can’t dip it into the paste. You will need to use your hands to cover the entire balloon in paste so that it is wet. Most kids LOVED this step. It was very gooey, and drippy but oh so much fun.
Lay the strips of tissue paper gently onto the wet balloon and pat. You may need to smooth another layer of paste on top of the tissue paper to help it stick and smooth out the wrinkles. Just remember to be gentle.
It was definitely messy, but it was so worth it!
All lined up to dry overnight.
Once the globes were dry I handed each of the kids a wooden skewer. They LOVED popping their balloons (pop near the tail of the balloon that is still exposed and not covered in paper mache. I had a number of kids try to pop the balloon through the paper mache).
Once the balloon was popped, put your hand inside the balloon and gently poke holes in the globe. The larger the holes, the more light the candle will give off when turned on.
A few kids questioned why there was stars coming out of the world… funny! No good answer for that one, but they did look amazing all lite up! This would be a great Earth Day craft. My kids are enjoying playing this their new lights.