There's more to paper mache crafts than covering a balloon! Although actually, you'll see from these brilliant paper mache ideas that a balloon can be a super useful tool when you are thinking about what to make with paper mache. Whether you are styling up paper mache crafts with paint, trim or decoupage, we've got plenty of paper mache ideas for kids and for the young at heart to inspire you here. The great thing about paper mache crafts is that you can make it stylish and sophisticated or cute and colourful – both are really appealing! Perhaps that why paper mache projects are so popular with both adults and kids – there doesn't seem to be any wrong answer to the what to make with paper mache question. The answer is pretty much everything!
If you are looking for a guide to the basic technique, check out our How to make paper mache tutorial. Or read on for our easy paper mache project ideas for kids and for adults.
Looking for more fun crafts for kids? Check out our arts and crafts to do at home.
Easy paper mache project ideas for kids
Paper mache ideas: candy bowls
Dish up the sweets for the little trick-or-treaters with Clare Buswell’s fab handmade bowl
- Inflate a balloon to your desired bowl size. Use a Sharpie pen to draw a line around the balloon to mark the top of the bowl. Tear newspaper into small squares, apply paper mache paste or Mod Podge to the balloon, cover with newspaper, brush with more paste or Mod Podge again and leave to dry. Repeat for several layers.
- For the base of the bowl, cut a strip of cardboard, make a ring and attach to bottom of the balloon using masking tape. Cut a cardboard circle to fit the bottom of the ring and attach using masking tape. Apply several layers of paper mache and leave to dry.
- Pop the balloon and paint your desired colours and patterns. Seal with a clear varnish, to finish.
How brilliant would this look as a centrepiece to your halloween decorations!
Paper mache ideas: dinosaurs
We are long past primary school years, but we recon we'd still be very proud of producing a paper mache craft project ike these great dinosaurs from Red Ted Art! Click for the paper mache dino piggy bank tutorial
Paper mache ideas: Volcano
Looking for a paper mache project with a little more fizz? Let your kids be taught how to make a paper mache volcano with exploding action by another kid! The camera work in this YouTube video is a little wobbly at times, but we love this enthusiasm for paper mache craft as he build up his volcano using paper mache and chicken wire. Click for the How to make a paper mache volcano youtube video.
Paper mache ideas: trinket bowls
We use cookie cutters – or biscuits cutters if you are in the UK like us – to make these mini trinket bowls in paper mache crafts. Our tutorial and video walkthrough will also show you how to paper mache with PVA glue!. Click for the How to make paper mache tutorial.
Paper mache ideas: hot air balloon
Here is a great paper mache project that will work brilliantly for both adults and kids! Style colourfully with paint for kids or dress up in paper decoupage and trim for a sophisticated grown up version. Check our HobbyCraft's How to make paper mache hot air balloon tutorial to see how this one is done.
H2: Paper mache project ideas for adults
Paper mache ideas: Unicorn head
Hello bright beauty! We love this colourful paper mache crafts unicorn head, beautifully decorated by Setal Creates using paper towels. She does not demo making the basic head shape, just the decorating – which is lovely to watch! – but we'd suggest sculpting the basic shape from chicken wire and covering with newspaper squares before moving on to her tutorial. Click for the paper mache unicorn head painting tutorial
Paper mache ideas: Elephant
Here is a brilliant paper mache crafts tutorial and free template from the NYC public library, with the elephant shown in our photo having been made by Mrs. Hamilton-Grant who we think must have attended a real world craft workshop there. The walkthrough brilliantly shows building and bulking up the elephant from a flat template shape, ready to be decorated in your own signature style. This one would be great for adults and kids to craft together. Click for the paper mache elephant tutorial.
Paper mache ideas: pumpkin
Looking for sophisticated paper mache ideas? These dreamy decoupaged pumpkins are courtesy of Philip Friedman showing the heights of style you can reach with paper mache crafts. Try your own version by making a papier mache pumpkin, shaped using a balloon modified with 2 rubber bands as per Real Simple's Paper mache pumpkin tutorial.
Why don't ours ever turn out quite like this?
Paper mache ideas: Easter egg
Julie Kirk's Easter egg will look brilliant decorating your easter lunch table!
Add a touch of luxury to a blown egg or papier mâché egg shape using gold crêpe paper and a velvet ribbon – perfect for the winner of an Easter egg hunt or as a table centrepiece! We've made our egg shape with paper mache on a small ballon. Cover the egg shape with paper circles, stuck on with a glue stick. and finish with a ribbon trim.
Paper mache ideas: Tiger
If we were looking for a representation of our spiritual selves in paper mache project form it would be this tiger. Round, undoubtedly wearing something orange and with our entire existence being all about craft. Make the tiger with Mont Mart Art's brilliant video tutorial, and decorate as your own spirit animal. Click for the paper mache tiger tutorial.
Paper mache ideas: dragon
Ooooh, Ultimate Paper Mache who crafted this dragon as the first of many paper mache projects they've created has some brilliant tutorials on their site! What we love about this dragon tutorial is it walks you through creating the basics of the shape using newspaper sculpted with masking tape – a technique you can adapt to bring to life so many paper mache ideas! Click for the paper mache dragon
Loved these pape mache craft projects? If you enjoy getting messy and kids crafts, check out our Easy Salt Dough Recipe.
Hannah has worked on Gathered for 3 years, since our launch in 2019. At school Hannah learned to knit collaborating on dorcas blankets – now she edits our knitting section. She inherited her love of stitching and embroidery from her talented grandmother, and her passion for thread led her to be Editor of The World of Cross Stitching for six years. Card making is a more recent passion, developing from her position as editor of Cross Stitch Card Shop. She loves using kinetic techniques to make cards that move – she was editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine for over four years, creating loads of card making video tutorials at www.youtube.com/PapercraftTV.