Paper-mache is one of the most classic of art projects. Beloved by children and artists alike, it’s an age-old production method that dates back to around 200 BC in China. Traditionally, it’s a mixture of paper strips or pulp, adhered together with a paste, though today it comes in forms that are both classic and all-in-one mixtures or clay-like blocks. No matter what your desire, for everything from sculptures to arts and crafts, find the best paper-mache for your every need below.
1. Activa Celluclay Non-Toxic Instant Paper-Mache
This paper-mache mix is made of 100% recycled paper, which means that it’s a slightly different way of going about the paper-mache process. Instead of binding together strips of paper with glue, this is a seemingly all-in-one system that doesn’t require the two-step materials. Simple and easy to use, this mix has no need for the added cutting and laying of paper strips. Simply mold and go!
2. Amaco Claycrete Paper-Mache
Ideal for large projects, this five-pound bag of paper-mache is economical and easy to use to create as much or as little adhesive as you want. The paste itself includes paper shavings, so there is no need for the additional work (and mess!) of cutting up paper slivers to drape over your project as you go. The paste dries to a bright white when completed, making for an excellent canvas if you choose to paint over it when you’re done.
3. Elmer's Art Paste
If there’s one thing Elmer’s knows, it’s glue. Beloved in classrooms for generations, they have specifically designed a paste that is, of course, quite like glue, but specifically engineered for paper-mache projects. It comes in a powder that dissolves quickly in water to create a paste for your every paper-mache need. Each two-ounce package can make up to four quarts of paste. It’s also great for classrooms as it’s not only nontoxic, but also is easily removed from both hands as well as clothing with nothing but soap and water.
4. Jovi Pat Mache Ready-To-Use Air-Hardening Paper-Mache
This paper-mache cuts down on the mess, with an all-in-one clay-like system that doesn’t require the sticky paste and paper combination. Not only does it not require the two-step process of cutting up paper and pasting down the draped slivers but it also doesn’t start off as a mix-with-water paste. Instead, this product right out of the package boasts more of a clay-like quality that is mess-free and easy for children and adults alike to use. And, what’s more, its consistency allows for an integral internal structure that doesn’t require a base mold. At half an inch of thickness or less, the paper-mache will harden in about 24 hours.
5. Yasutomo Nori Paste
This water-soluble paste is acid-free and slow drying for the most intricate of paper-mache projects. It is light enough to be used on even the thinnest and most delicate of papers and dries to a clear finish without a sticky residue. That said, it’s also sticky enough while wet that it’s suitable with heavier fabrics as well, adhering them to your chosen surface with ease. Perfect for use with paper and glass, it doesn’t adhere as well to plastic or metal.