How to Make Paper Mache Glue Recipe and Tips

Learn how to make your own paper glue using a simple recipe and you’ll never have to buy glue again.

Paper mache is a popular craft technique loved by children and adults alike and has been around for a long time. It’s a fun and creative way to create sculptures, masks, and other decorative items.

How to make paper glue recipe and tips

*this post contains affiliate links*

One of the main ingredients of paper mache is glue. Although you can buy it at the store, making it yourself is actually a lot easier and cheaper. Chances are you already have the materials to make papier-mâché at home.

We will show you how to make paper mache at home with some simple recipes and some useful tips.

Paper mache crafts

The secret to gluing paper mache

Paper mache has been made at home for generations, so there are plenty of tried-and-true recipes you can use to make your own.

Recipe for making paper mache glue using flour and water

The homemade paper mache recipe we grew up with only requires two ingredients – flour and water. It’s a tried and tested way and your creations will last for years. It’s easy to make in both small and large quantities, which makes it perfect if you’re making paper mache for a classroom.

You can make raw glue or cook glue to make it tastier. Uncooked paper mache glue will be a little less durable and not as smooth as cooked glue, but it will work well, especially if you’re crafting with kids and doing simple projects.

Paper Mache glue recipe requires no cooking

To make this without cooking, you need:

  • 1 part white flour (e.g. 1 cup)
  • 2 parts water (e.g. 2 cups)

This is a general “rule of thumb” formula. Mixing one part flour and two parts water will work, but you can add more of one or the other, depending on whether you want the glue runnier or thicker.

See also Fall Tree Newspaper Craft

Add water to the bowl and slowly add the flour while mixing continuously (whisk or hand mixer). Gradually adding flour will prevent the dough from clumping and make it easier to create a smooth paste. Once mixed well, it is ready to use; however, we recommend placing it in an airtight container and leaving it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Tip: Using warm or hot water in the mixture will help the flour blend in more easily, creating a smoother texture.

Paper glue is smoother and clearer

To make clearer and smoother glue from flour, you need to cook it. This is a very simple recipe for making paper mache, so don’t worry.

To do it when cooking, you need:

  • 4 parts water
  • 1 part white flour

Again, quantity is the “rule of thumb”; this is what works best for us, but you can adjust the ingredients, adding more water if you like a more watery consistency or more flour if you want it thicker. But we advise you to follow the recipe first and see what the result is – after cooking, the glue will thicken a little as it dries.

To make glue:

  • Pour water into a small pot (pot).

Pour water into the soup pan

  • Add the flour and use a whisk to mix well (you can use something else but it will take longer). Mix well until you get a homogeneous mixture without lumps.

Add the flour to the water in the pan

  • Place the pan on the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in flour and water to make paper mache glue

  • Bring to a boil and as soon as it boils (when bubbling), remove from heat.

You will have to wait for the glue to cool completely before using it.

See also Free Printable Christmas Ornaments Coloring Pages

Recipe for gluing paper mache using PVA glue and wood glue

This is by far the easiest method of making paper mache and is very convenient if you’re doing a small project and don’t need a larger amount of glue (we think making it with flour, without glue, is best way to go, though).

To do it, you need:

  • 2 parts white glue (liquid glue like Elmer’s, any brand will do)
  • 1 part water

Just mix them up and you’re ready to go!

Tip: white school glue is the most commonly used type; however, if you want a stronger one for more detailed projects, make paper mache with wood glue. In our experience, it’s much better!

Tips and tricks

Large shallow pans or containers make it easier to dip larger pieces and strips of paper into paper mache.

When making your project, make sure the entire piece of paper is covered with glue.

Smaller pieces of paper will make it easier to create details and help your project look smoother. Larger pieces are great for covering a larger area (and creating the first layer).

Apply multiple layers of paper and glue to create a sturdy structure. Let each layer dry completely before adding the next layer. The more layers you add, the stronger your paper mache project will be.

For larger or more complex projects, you can reinforce the paper mache structure with additional materials such as string, cardboard, or wooden dowels. These internal supports will provide additional strength and stability.

Once your paper mache project is dry and secure, you can paint, decorate, or seal with a variety of materials such as acrylic paint, tissue paper, or varnish.

How long can you preserve homemade paper mache glue?

If you make glue with flour, you should store the glue in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it can last for a few days. We recommend that you only make the amount you need at one time and use fresh. The longer you store it, the less sticky it will be (it will stick). And over time, if not used and dried, it will also deteriorate and develop odors that you do not want.

See also Sock Pig Craft – How to Turn a Sock into a Pig

On the other hand, glue and water can be kept for a long time. It’s just a watered glue so its shelf life will stay the same as if you didn’t water it.

Can you use any type of flour? Does gluten-free flour work?

All-purpose white flour is a suitable choice. Other types of flour will not be sticky enough and neither will gluten-free flour; it won’t work.

How long does paper mache take to dry?

Million dollar question, right? Sadly there is no simple answer to this question – it depends on the thickness of the paper you folded, the amount of paper glue you used, the humidity of the air… Most projects will dry overnight (assuming assuming they are stored in a dry place) and you will. You can continue working with them the next day.

It is extremely important that the final layer is completely dry before you paint. So it’s best to let the final layer dry all day (or even longer).

Want instant access to all of our printable crafts, activities and resources?

With thousands of crafts, activities, worksheets, coloring pages, and drawing guides to print, you’ll always have the resources you need at hand. Perfect for both parents and teachers!

Sign up now and start printing!

Categories: Activities for Kids

Leave a Comment