Have Fun With Paper Mache Pulp

Paper mache pulp is easy to make and great fun to play with. Depending on the finish you want it can be rough or smooth. In fact, I've seen pulp made from toilet paper with a finish so smooth it looks and feels like porcelain. It always pays to experiment with your ingredients.

The image below shows the texture of the pulp we made using the recipe that follows. 

Showing pulp texturePaper Mache Pulp Texture

We plan to experiment with different types of pulp over the summer. We'll add all of our successful recipes to this page.

In the meantime, here's the recipe we have always used:

Paper Mache Pulp Recipe

The following will make about a litre of pulp.

Equipment

  • a bucket
  • a wooden spoon or stick to stir
  • a large cooking pot (preferably not one you use to prepare food with)
  • an egg whisk or hand held electric whisk (again these should be used only for your art and not for preparing food)
  • a sieve or an old pillow case

Ingredients

  • 4 double page sheets of newspaper torn into small squares or a similar amount of shredded paper
  • 2 tablespoons white glue (PVA)
  • 2 tablespoons dry wallpaper paste 
  • a few drops of oil of cloves

Method

Soak the paper overnight in a bucket of water. The next day put it into the cooking pot and boil it for about 20 to 30 minutes. This helps to break the fibres down and makes a smoother pulp. You might want to do this with the windows open as it doesn't smell too good.

If you use shredded paper instead of newspaper your pulp will be coarser as the paper takes a lot more to break it down.

Allow the water to cool and then use the whisk to whizz the paper up into a fine mush.

Pour the water through the sieve or into the pillow case to separate the paper. Gently squeeze to remove any excess water. Don't squeeze too hard or the pulp will become a solid lump and you won't be able to work your glues in.

Put the soft, wet pulp into the bucket and add the two tablespoons of white glue and the clove oil. Work the glue into the pulp using your hands or the spoon/stick.

If you use your hands, you may want to use gloves as the ink from the newspaper turns your hands an interesting shade of grey.

Once the pulp is thoroughly mixed sprinkle in the two tablespoons of wallpaper paste and give it another good stir. Your pulp is now ready to use.

You can store any leftover pulp in an ice-cream container in the fridge. This will keep for a few days, but make sure you label it. You don't want anyone mistaking it for leftover porridge ;-) 

› Pulp Recipes



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