Monday, 3 September 2012

Playgroup art and craft: Papier Mache

A few years ago, when K was still at playgroup, we did an activity which was enormously popular with the kids. It was very simple - we covered balloons with a few layers of gluey newspaper, let them dry for a week, then painted them. The result: dinosaur eggs! 

Today we repeated stage 1 of the papier mache balloons, but strangely the children lost interest after a short time, leaving a table full of mums (plus one 8-year-old who really should have been at school, and who will DEFINITELY be back there tomorrow) to finish the papering. Fortunately we are a persistent bunch, so next week those whose mothers spent half an hour up to their elbows in newspaper and glue will have the pleasure of painting their creations. 

Attention truant officer: this boy does not appear at all unwell.

For those who are game to do some papier mache (clean-up ain't fun), here is how we did it:

1. Blow up balloons (not too big, unless you have lots of time to spend covering them with paper) and tie a string onto each one.

2. Prepare strips of torn-up newspaper, about 4 or 5cm wide. Tabloid is good - that way they're not too long (but get in quick, before it all goes online and we have to start using junk mail instead!). 

3. Put glue into large bowls or ice-cream containers. We started off with flour and water paste, then ran out and moved on to a powdered mix-your-own craft paste we had in the storeroom. The craft paste was more pleasant to use, but any sort of glue will do the job. 

4. Dip paper into paste and cover the balloon with strips. Then do at least two more layers. Keep going til you have well and truly had enough!

5. Hang balloons up to dry - it may take a few days, depending on the weather and how thickly you have applied the paste and paper. When they are bone dry you can pop the balloon inside and remove it, if it hasn't already shrivelled up. Then you can paint or decorate them as they are, or cut them in half to make helmets, bowls, whatever you can think of. 

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

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