Along with the yellow, orange and red leaves falling from the trees in Autumn comes October and of course HALLOWEEN!
Halloween is the time of the year that we look forward to impressing with different spooky decorations in our homes. Evil pumpkins, ghosts, spider webs and other monsters are part of the landscape at this time of year.
Paper mache Halloween activities are an ideal and fun activity to do as a family.
In this article, I will explain step by step how to make paper mache and then how to use it to make paper mache pumpkins.
But before we start… Do you know what exactly is papier-mâché? Read on to find out!
What is paper mache?
Paper mache is a technique that we are taught from a young age to make crafts because there are no risks in its manipulation since its ingredients are not toxic.
However, this craft technique has an ancient history, originating in China where it was used to make helmets for war, and whose name comes from the French expression papier mâché which means “chewed paper”.
Once you have the mix ready, papier-mâché has the consistency of clay and is quite malleable, making it a perfect material for crafts.
How is paper mache made?
You can make papier-mâché with your own hands and with materials that you surely have at home.
To make it you will need two ingredients (or three): paper and glue. In case you want to make a natural adhesive, you can choose to use flour and water instead of a commercial glue.
The paper thing is simple, just take some papers that you want to throw away, old newspapers or magazines that no longer serve you.
Also, have a large bowl, a spoon, and scissors handy.
Instructions for making paper mache:
This step by step is a general guide on how to make paper mache, later I will explain how to use it to make a paper mache pumpkin.
Step 1In a large bowl mix 1 part of flour with 2 parts of water, for example: 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water.
Step 2Mix the ingredients until you achieve a homogeneous consistency without lumps, similar to that of any white glue.
Step 3If you used hot water for mixing, let your glue cool down to avoid burns.
Step 4Finally, dip the paper strips into the flour and water mixture you have prepared so that they soak before use.
Paper mache Halloween: how to make a paper mache pumpkin head?
DIY paper mache pumpkins are very easy and fun to make. With this tutorial you can create many pumpkins to decorate your house for Halloween.
- Paper: this can be old newspapers or magazines, unused paper, etc. Take advantage to reuse paper that was going to be discarded.
- Plastic bag
- Scotch tape
- Paper mache mix
- Acrylic paint (in shades of orange, yellow and green or whatever you want)
- Optional: glitter, string lights, fluorescent paint, candles, etc.
Before starting the tutorial, have all the materials at hand and protect your work area to avoid stains and accidents on your clothes and work table.
Step 1Create a ball with newspaper. For a small pumpkin use 4-5 layers, one on top of the other. For a larger pumpkin you will need more paper.
Use some masking tape to hold the ball of paper together to prevent it from falling apart.
Step 2Put the ball in a plastic bag and tie the top tightly. Make sure to release any air trapped in the bag before tying it.
Trim the excess bag at the knot, but leave a few inches which we will later use to form the stem of the paper mache pumpkin.
Step 3Wrap the string around the body of the pumpkin, pulling hard to mark the grooves on the gourd. Keep wrapping the rope until you have 8 segments.
Step 4Start gluing the layers of paper to the pumpkin with the paper mache mix we made earlier.
Place newspaper with the flour and water glue until the entire surface is covered. If you want to put another layer wait for the first layer.
For the stem of the pumpkin, cover the leftover plastic bag that we left earlier with the same mixture of glue and paper and shape it into a stem.
Step 5Let your pumpkin dry for about 12 hours.
Step 6Once the paper mache has dried and hardened, use acrylic paint to color the pumpkin.
For a realistic pumpkin use different shades of yellow, orange and green. Although you can also take advantage of the occasion and have fun using other colors or even fluorescent paint.
Start by giving a coat of base paint, for example, you can use an orange background. And then add dark green lines to accentuate the notches or grooves in the pumpkin and a lighter yellow to brighten the outer edges.
For the stem, use a dark green that you can mix with brown lines.
Step 7Let the paint dry.
Finally, decorate with lights, spider webs, candles, skeletons, and have candy on hand!
Your pumpkin is now a real Halloween decoration!
Trick or treat? This is an easy and fun craft to do with kids so they can be part of preparing for Halloween.
I hope that this guide to making your own paper mache Halloween decorations will help you decorate your home this year in October.
Try different sizes of pumpkins and you can even create other monsters, anything is allowed!