Paper Mache Projects for Kids


One of the easiest craft projects for kids to make is paper mache.  Almost any object can be made using simple paper mache using paper, glue and water.  We recently did some projects and the kids made a paper mache turtle, a crow and a three headed dragon.  All the projects turned out great.  The kids creating the projects were ages 11, 12 and 14 but kids as young as 5 can make their own creations.  It's fun, easy and inexpensive.

The first thing you need to do is decide on what to make and then build a simple armature.  This can be done by smushing paper or paper towels together, then wrapping with masking tape to get a basic shape.  Younger children may need some help with this part.  For extra support for feet or appendages, you can tape small twigs, dowels or straws to make a firmer armature, then wrap with a bit of paper and tape securely so your object is a rather firm object ... no wiggly parts.

I have made small paper mache animals and large figures, including a life sized piano player and a large cow.  It's a fun medium to work with and the projects are not overly heavy or cumbersome.

What You Need:

  • Paper (newspaper, brown paper any type paper)
  • White glue (or wallpaper paste)
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic paints
  • Brushes


What to Do:

  1. Tear lots of paper into small strips and pieces.  Fill up a large bowl with the paper.  Set aside.
  2. Decide what to make and then start crunching a large piece of paper or paper towels, wrapping with masking tape, to form a shape.  You will continue to add small sections as needed, for example a head or wings, and then tape those to you initial shape.
  3. If adding legs, wings or other extended parts, you might need to use a small twig, dowel or straw and wrap that with paper and tape.  Attach all pieces firmly.
  4. Once the armature is finished, get your adhesive ready.  If using either white glue or wallpaper paste, pour some into small bowls for each child. 
  5. I find it easier to have the kids dip their fingers into the adhesive and then rub it all over one side of the paper and then press onto their form.  They can also dip each piece of paper and then smear it around as they add extra pieces of paper but this method is a bit messier.
  6. Cover the entire object, overlapping pieces as you go.
  7. Let the form dry and then apply, at least, a second coat of paper for added strength.  Let this dry thoroughly.
  8. Paint the animal or object with paint and let dry.



Copyright 2014 Sharon Pierce McCullough