Creating a Base Form for Your Paper Mache Project: A Simple Guide

  • By: homeshacks
  • Date: June 5, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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To create a base form for your paper mache project, you’ll need a few basic materials. First, you’ll need to choose a form for your project. This could be something as simple as a balloon or a plastic bottle, or something more complex like a wire frame. Once you have your form, you’ll need to cover it with a layer of paper mache to create a sturdy base for your project.

To make the paper mache mixture, you’ll need to mix together equal parts of water and flour. You can also add a bit of salt to help prevent mold from forming on your finished project. Once you have your mixture ready, tear strips of newspaper or tissue paper and dip them into the mixture, making sure to remove any excess before applying them to your form. Repeat this process until your form is completely covered, and then allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Choosing a Base Form

When creating a paper mache project, choosing the right base form is crucial to its success. Here are some things to consider when selecting a base form for your project.

Materials Needed

Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary materials. Here are some things you’ll need:

  • Base form material (such as a balloon, cardboard, or foam)
  • Newspaper or other paper
  • Flour or glue
  • Water
  • Paint or other decorations (optional)

Considerations for Choosing a Base Form

When choosing a base form, there are a few factors to consider:

  1. Size: Consider the size of your project and choose a base form that is appropriate. For example, a small balloon may be suitable for a small project, while a larger cardboard box may be necessary for a larger project.
  2. Shape: Think about the shape you want your final project to be and choose a base form that will allow you to achieve that shape. For example, a balloon may be suitable for a round shape, while a cardboard box may be better for a square or rectangular shape.
  3. Durability: Consider how durable you want your final project to be. If you want it to be sturdy and long-lasting, choose a sturdy base form material such as cardboard or foam. If you’re okay with a more delicate project, a balloon may be suitable.
  4. Accessibility: Consider how easy it will be to access the inside of your base form for adding paper mache layers. A balloon may be easy to access, while a cardboard box may require cutting a hole in it to access the inside.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right base form for your paper mache project and set yourself up for success.

Preparing the Base Form

Before you start your paper mache project, you need to prepare the base form. This is the structure that you will be covering with paper mache. Here are some steps to follow for preparing the base form.

Cleaning and Sanding the Base Form

The first step is to clean and sand the base form. If you are using a pre-made form, you can skip this step. But if you are making your own form, you need to make sure it’s free of any dirt, dust, or debris. Use a damp cloth to wipe it down and let it dry completely.

Next, sand the base form to create a rough surface that will help the paper mache adhere better. You can use sandpaper or a sanding block to do this. Be sure to wear a mask to avoid inhaling any dust.

Applying a Base Coat

Once the base form is clean and sanded, you can apply a base coat. This will help the paper mache stick to the form and create a smooth surface for your final project.

You can use a variety of materials for the base coat, such as white glue, gesso, or acrylic paint. Mix the material with water to create a thin, even consistency. Then, use a brush or sponge to apply the base coat to the entire surface of the base form.

Let the base coat dry completely before applying the paper mache. This will ensure a strong bond between the paper mache and the base form.

In conclusion, preparing the base form is an important step in creating a successful paper mache project. By cleaning and sanding the base form and applying a base coat, you will have a sturdy and smooth surface for your paper mache creation.

Creating the Paper Mache Mixture


To create a base form for your paper mache project, you will need to create a paper mache mixture. The ingredients for this mixture are simple and can be found at any local craft store or online. You will need:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt

Mixing the Mixture

To create the paper mache mixture, you will need to mix the ingredients in the following steps:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine one part flour and two parts water. For example, if you use one cup of flour, you will need two cups of water.
  2. Mix the flour and water together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the mixture. The salt will help to prevent mold growth on your paper mache project.
  4. Stir the mixture until the salt is fully dissolved.

Your paper mache mixture is now ready to use. You can use it to create a base form for your paper mache project by layering strips of newspaper or other paper onto a mold or form. Allow the paper mache to dry completely before painting or decorating it.

Applying the Paper Mache

Cutting the Paper

To start applying the paper mache to your base form, you will need to cut strips of paper. You can use any type of paper, such as newspaper, tissue paper, or construction paper. Cut the paper into strips that are about an inch wide and six inches long. You can adjust the size of the strips depending on the size of your project.

Applying the Paper Mache

Once you have your paper strips ready, it’s time to start applying the paper mache. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Dip a strip of paper into the paper mache mixture. Make sure the entire strip is covered in the mixture.
  2. Use your fingers to remove any excess mixture from the strip of paper.
  3. Place the strip of paper onto your base form. Smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles with your fingers.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until the entire base form is covered in paper mache.
  5. Let the paper mache dry completely. This may take several hours or overnight.
  6. Once the paper mache is dry, you can add additional layers if desired. Repeat steps 1-5 for each layer.

Remember to let each layer dry completely before adding another layer. The more layers you add, the stronger and sturdier your final project will be.

Finishing Touches

Drying and Sanding

Once you have completed the paper mache base, you will need to let it dry completely. This may take several hours or even a day or two, depending on the size of your project and the humidity in your area. Be patient and avoid handling the base until it is completely dry.

Once the base is dry, you may notice some rough spots or bumps. To smooth out the surface, you can use sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper to remove any large bumps or imperfections, then switch to a finer grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. Be sure to sand lightly and evenly to avoid creating any dents or scratches.

Painting and Decorating

Now that your base is dry and smooth, it’s time to add some color and personality. You can paint your base with acrylic or tempera paint, or use other decorative materials like tissue paper, glitter, or even decoupage. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Choose a color scheme that matches the theme or purpose of your project.
  • Use a primer or base coat to help the paint adhere better to the base.
  • Apply paint or other materials in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before adding another.
  • Experiment with different techniques, such as sponging or stenciling, to create interesting textures and patterns.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own personal touches to the project.

Remember, the finishing touches are what will make your paper mache project stand out. Take your time and enjoy the process of bringing your creation to life!