Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Papier-Mâché

Yesterday the kids and I worked on our papier-mâché skills in preparation for the Earth Day craft I had planned. I blew up round balloons, cut strips paper, and whipped up a batch of paste. And then we got to work on making our globes.

First, we placed our balloons in bowls to hold them in place. Then we dipped our strips of paper into the paste (recipes below), ran them through our fingers to remove the excess paste, and placed them on our balloons...over and over again.

Be careful not to do too many layers because then the drying process will take forever! 2-3 layers at a time is perfect...and you can do this a couple of times if you want yours really strong. Because we don't receive the newpaper, we used newsprint ads that came in the mail and pages from a phone book we no longer need from a city we lived in long ago.

Once we were done with our 2-3 layers of printed paper, we did one coat of plain white copy paper so that the painting process would go smoothly the next print to cover with a base coat. Then, I placed the paper mached balloons on drinking glasses and left them to dry, turning them before I went to sleep so that the bottoms would dry too.

Do no try to speed up the drying process by placing them in front of a heating vent or your balloon will expand and your paper mache will crack open...I've learned this from experience.

Once they are fully dry, we popped the balloons and pulled them out. Then we painted our balls a light blue base and then darker blue for water and green and brown for land. We have a globe collection so our children looked at them for inspiration, but printing maps would be another great option. We followed up with a geography lesson because the kids were interested in learning where their ancestors came from and where I had all traveled.

The options of paper maching even just a balloon are endless! Hot air balloons will be our next project complete with hanging baskets, but masks, pumpkins, Easter eggs, soccer balls, baseballs, apples, and more are all great projects! What a great and green way to reuse paper and for your children to expand their imaginations!

Paste Recipes:

Option 1: 3/4 white glue to 1/4 water (or if using a good thick glue, like Elmers, you can do 1/2 and 1/2).

Option 2, the cooking method: 1 part flour to 5 parts water... boil about 3 minutes and let cool. This is my's the cheapest and is nice and smooth.

Option 3: 1 part flour to 1 part water. Stir together.

The photo above is from the blog Drew Cogbill wrote when he was working on his thesis for Parson's. I thought it was lovely and inspiring and better than any photos I took while we worked on our globes.

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