We have been going crazy with the Halloween crafting this year. Something that I used to love to do as a child was paper mache or if you like to spell things the French way, papier mache. The traditional papier mache paste is made with flour and water. But after some internet sleuthing, I found two ways to make it without using flour.
1) Mix 2 parts white glue with 1 part warm water. Combine well. Paste is ready for use!
2) Claycrete Instant Papier Mache This product is made from paper and is finely ground into a dust. You mix it with water, kneed it a bit and mould it. You do not need to use strips of paper, newsprint or magazines; the mix is all you need.
We tried both ways and quite honestly, I preferred the old fashioned way; using option #1. This is how we made our pumpkins...
Papier Mache using wheat flour-free paste
You will need:
Batch of Paste (see option #1, above)
2 Old Magazines or Catalogs or 1 section of a newspaper, cut into 2"x 6" strips
4-5 latex balloons
Acrylic craft paint (orange and black)
Green pipe cleaners
Green paper or foam leaves
Twine or ribbon
Cover a work surface with butcher paper or newsprint. Mix the paste, according to the instructions (1) above. Place cut strips next to your bowl of paste. Blow up balloons to desired size and rest each in a paper cup. (You can use any kind of cup, I liked the paper ones because clean up was a breeze). Place each strip, one at a time, into the glue. Squeezing off as much excess as you can into the bowl.
Begin to layer the strips on top of balloon. Place the strips on top of each other, overlapping slightly. Layer them in a perpendicular fashion; one goes vertical and the next horizontal and so on.
Cover the entire balloon, right up to the base of the balloon but do not cover the "belly button". Leave that part sticking out.
Set the balloons aside to dry. This should take about 12 hours or overnight. Make sure to flip the balloons as some point during this time so that the underside can dry and the papier mache does not stick to the cup.
Once the balloons have dried completely, it is time to paint them. Paint the main body of the balloon, orange. Allow to dry completely. Draw the face with black paint or if you prefer, paint the face with glue and sprinkle with glitter. Be sure to shake off all of the excess.
Once the pumpkins have dried, you can remove the latex balloon. Hold onto the belly button and pull on it slightly. Cut the latex, making sure not to sever it all of the way. As the air escapes, you will hear a crumble, crunch sound. Remove the balloon and any paste crumbles that are left behind.
To make a stem, simply leave the hole left by the belly button, as is. Create the stem out of the pipe cleaners. Hot glue it into the top. You can also add leaves made from paper or green foam sheets, if you desire.
If you want to make a pumpkin pot, for carrying or displaying goodies you can cut a bigger hole in the top with scissors. Punch two holes with a hold punch on opposite sides of the pumpkin's face. (As far down as your punch will allow, about 1" from the top). Attach ribbon or braided twine to the holes, creating a handle.
If the pumpkins are rolling around a little, simple press them gently on a flat surface. They should even out. You can also spray them with a little polyurethane spray, gloss or matte finish if you want to preserve them a little.