How Long Does Paper Mache Take To Dry

how long does paper mache take to dry

Paper mache, originally called papier-mâché, is a technique invented by the Chinese hundreds of years ago used for creating sculptures.

This technique is based on the use of paper strips and some kind of glue to cover a structure usually made of cardboard to make it more resistant.

For this process, you need to damp the paper completely with whichever glue you decide to use, and of course, it will later take a while to dry.

But how long does it take paper mache to dry? Keep reading to find out, but first, let’s see how to make a great paper mache piece.

Create the structure of your piece

The first step to create a paper mache piece is building a structure. There are multiple ways you can build the foundation for your sculpture, but basically you can make it yourself by recycling different things you can find at home, or you can buy and print patterns from craft websites!

Make your own structure with recycled materials

If you are an all-time crafter, you have probably collected a bunch of plastic and cardboard residues thinking that they could come in handy one day. Well, today is the day! 

You can use:

  • yoghurt cups
  • bottle caps
  • cereal boxes
  • toilet paper rolls
  • and many more!
paper rolls

Anything you have collected can work for this craft. You need to think about what you want to sculpt, and once you have decided upon one design, it’s time to get creative to find out how to use these elements to create the right shapes.

You can also use a balloon, make sure you tie it well so it doesn’t deflate before it dries. We show you an easy way How to tie a balloon.

Buy a paper mache pattern from craft websites

If you haven’t been collecting plastic or cardboard pieces and don’t have enough elements to create your own structure, you can simply buy a piece of cardboard and a pattern from a crafts store on the internet!

You only need to buy a piece of cardboard at the stationer’s and, once you have bought the pattern on the internet, print it and stick it onto the cardboard.

They are very easy to use. Once you have glued the print on the cardboard surface, cut along the lines as indicated in the instructions and set up the 3D shape.

Choose which glue to use for the paper mache

After creating the base, either by yourself or with the help of an online crafter, it comes the time to start applying the glued paper.

There are several formulas for this step, and you should choose the one that better suits your needs.

The classic and millenary way to stick the paper is making your own paste with flour and water. Mix both ingredients in a pot and boil them until you get a gooey, half-transparent substance, and add a bit of vinegar.

Here we have a very easy way to make paper mache glue.

Containing flour, this mix can attract mold, but vinegar will help it last longer by eliminating microbes. We have to warn you that the smell when cooking is not the best!

If you don’t feel like cooking your own paste, you can make an easier, mold-free version with water and PVA glue. Just mix two equal parts to dilute the glue and get the perfect consistence for the paper to get soaked.


Apply the paper mache onto the sculpture

For the covering stage, you need paste and paper. This paper can be newspapers, paper towels or brown paper.

All of them work well for these projects, as they can be easily soaked up in the glue.

Cut the paper into strips. They don’t need to be perfect; you can even tear them with your hands.

Slowly put them into a bowl full of whichever paste you decided to use and let them get completely soaked.

Take one piece at a time out of the mixture and lay in onto the base sculpture you have already created.

If you need to make any soft shape in your sculpture, you can press a couple of strips into rolls or balls and apply them onto the figure.

Continue applying the strips onto the surface until you have completely covered the whole piece.

Be careful not to create too many layers of paper mache, or else it will take longer to dry.

Once you have finished lining up the paper strips, it’s time to let the piece dry. But, how long does paper mache take to dry?

How long does paper mache take to dry?

The answer is: it depends! Some of the most important factors that can affect the drying time are where you live and where you leave your sculpture to dry.

If you live in a very humid area, it will take longer to dry than if you lived in a dry area, because of the water in the air that won’t let the water in the sculpture evaporate quickly.

Besides, you need to keep your sculpture in a well-ventilated part of your house so that the airflow can remove the humidity from the air instead of letting a cloud form on top of your sculpture, literally.

But, how long does paper mache take to dry if you leave it in a well-ventilated room or even outside in the sun? it should take about three days to be completely dry and ready to paint.

On the other hand, if the weather conditions are not the best in your location, you can help reduce the time by using a hairdryer, a fan or even a heater. Just make sure your piece is not too close to the fire!

how long does paper mache globe

So, finally, I need to wait for how long for paper mache to dry? About two or for days if you help it get faster!

This way, also, you will be able to prevent your piece from attracting mold. Once all the surface is totally hard, you are ready to go!

Although we may not have been able to give you an exact response, we hope you now know the answer to how long does it take for paper mache to dry as long as you follow the instructions correctly!