Cultural and Creative Arts

Modelling with papier-mache

Modeling is the art of molding objects with different materials like papier-mâché, clay, plasticine, cement, etc.

Meaning of Papier-mâché

It is a process of making pulp from paper (old newspaper, cardboard sheets or tissue paper) used for modeling objects.

Papier-mâché is re-pulped paper mixed with glue or paste used to mould objects. It is a French word which means mashed paper used to produce modeled objects.

Meaning of Clay

Clay is an earthen material used for molding.

Materials and Tools Needed for Papier-mâché

(i) Old newspaper, old calendars, tissue paper.

(ii) Water

(iii) Starch

(iv) vegetable oil or grease

(v) Scissors/cutter

(vi) Mortar and pestle

(vii) Bowl

(viii) Spoon

(ix) Paint

(x) Brush

(xi) Spatulas.

Preparation and the Making of Papier-mâché for Modelling

  1. Cut the paper into small bits or strips, approximately ½ in wide.
  2. Soak the small bits of papers inside water for at least 24 hours. (tissue paper should be soaked for few minutes)
  3. Remove the soaked pieces of paper and squeeze out the excess water.
  4. Pound the soak paper inside mortar and pestle. (tissue paper may not be pounded because it is already soft)
  5. Remove the pounded pulp from the mortar into a bowl.
  6. Prepare cassava starch with hot water and mix to a fairly thick consistency (like the preparation of pap)
  7. Mix the paper pulp with the starch properly when the starch is cool (white glue can also be used in place of starch).
  8. The prepared pulp can be used to mould objects like bowl, cup, jugs, animals etc.

Dip and Paste Method of Papier-mâché Modelling

The technique involves the cutting of papers into strips, soaking them in the prepared starch and laying the stripes on the greased surface of a plate or bowl that will serve as the mould that the dry paper will take its shape. The surface of the plate can be greased with vegetable oil or grease.

Uses of Papier-mâché

  1. Papier-mâché modeling can be used to teach students about three dimensional shapes and form.
  2. Objects made from papier-mâché can be used as teaching aids in laboratory and classroom.
  3. Papier-mâché modeling can be used to teach the student how to manage waste in our environment.
  4. Papier-mâché can also be used as an avenue to teach improvisation in art class.
  5. Papier-mâché products can be used for decoration.

Practical Work on Papier-mâché


  1. Explain the term “modeling”
  2. Define papier-mâché
  3. Explain how you can prepare papier-mâché for modeling
  4. Mention two uses of papier-mâché
  5. Mention at least five materials and tools needed for papier-mâché.

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