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Mothers' Hideaway: Things I Love Thursday- Indoor Craft Project with the kids.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Things I Love Thursday- Indoor Craft Project with the kids.

Thanks Mama Sandy for today's blog!!

When it's too cold to play outside, how do you entertain the kids? I love to do projects to keep them buys! Do you remember doing paper mache in school? You know the stinky stuff with all the strips of newspaper and it was a huge mess? Well, I recently decided to take on a paper mache project with the kids and honestly, it wasn't too bad. Not as messy OR as stinky as I remember it being!

The first recommendation I have is that you invest in a vinyl or plastic tablecloth before you even consider this project. You can pick those up for a dollar that the dollar store and then just toss it or wash it up to re-use for other messy projects (or for under the high chair).

Our paper mache project was a large spider halloween decoration. We used punch balloons for the "posterior" of the spider and a regular party balloon for the head. I also purchased some evergreen garland that we spray painted black for the legs and some green rubber balls for the eyes.

The first step was preparation. We placed the vinyl tablecloth on the dining room table and set out our supplies. Here's what you'll need:

The already mentioned tablecloth/cover

A form anything that will hold the shape of your paper mache (wire, balloons, etc.) but should be something that can remain inside the paper mache as you won't be able to get it out. We used balloons so that we could pop them later and remove them.

Newspaper, lots of newspaper. Brown paper bags work too but since newspaper is easier for us to come by we went that route.

A large bowl or container for your "paste" or the container it came in if you're using wallpaper paste

Paste - a flour and water mixture or wallpaper paste. There are other types of pastes out there and an internet search could produce many different recipes.

Rubber gloves

We started by tearing our newspaper into strips. The paper tore very easily into strips in one direction but not the other. It's better to tear the paper rather than cut it into strips as it will fray the edges and make a smoother finished product.

Once we had that part complete it was time to blow up our balloons and start the actual paper mache process. We decided to use wallpaper paste for our past since it will not mold like a flour and water mixture can. If you decide to use the flour and water mixture it's as easy as that; flour and water mixed together to form a paste so the consistency should be rather thick. If you do use the flour and water mixture you should be aware that it absolutely has to dry for at least 24 hours between layers to help prevent mold from growing on your finished product.

We used a medium sized bowl to rest our balloon on while we applied our newspaper strips because otherwise it rolled around once one side got heavy. We dipped the newspaper strips into the paste and removed the excess by running the strips between our fingers (why we wore rubber gloves). Then we placed them on the balloon in a thin layer with each strip going in the same direction and overlapping slightly so the entire balloon was covered. We kept the strips in the same direction so it was easy to tell the layers apart as we got further into the process. Once that layer was complete we used the rubber band on the punch balloon to hang the balloon to dry.

Our next step was to blow up the part balloon and tie a ribbon to the end so we had something to hang it to dry from. Then we followed the same steps.

This continued every day or two until we had completed about 4 layers for each piece. The finished products were nice and firm. We popped the balloons and removed them through the hole that was left from the end sticking out.

Then it was time to put the pieces together. We glued the larger paper mache end to the other and let it dry overnight. While we waited for the glue to dry we spray painted the evergreen garland (purchased at the dollar store for only a dollar) with black spray paint, let it dry and applied a second coat to make sure we had covered all the green.

The next day we spray painted the spider peices that were glued together, glued the green rubber balls for the eyes, poked holes and glued some of the garland for "fangs" and also for 8 legs. Here is the finished product still on the vinyl tablecloth:

The kids all loved this project and it was something that kept us busy for an extended amount of time while the October weather was too cold and damp to play outside. Add another balloon and this could be converted to a snowman project. A great activity and entertained children- things I love!

What things do you love to do with your children? Tell us at!

Thanks to the The Diaper Diaries for hosting Things I Love Thursday!


At November 5, 2009 at 8:28 PM , Anonymous thediaperdiaries said...

Oh my goodness, that turned out AWESOME!! This sounds like a great project for grandma to do with the kids :) I am such a wimp when it comes to crafts.


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