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Making Paper Mache Pulp

Here's a good recipe for making paper mache pulp that can be used to make sculptures, relief maps, pinatas, and just about anything else you would normally make from paper mache. Its also a way to recycle old newspapers and junk mail.

Making Paper Mache Pulp

Ingredients:

newspaper or junk mail (no glossy or "slick" paper)
bucket or large bowl
large pan of warm water
electric mixer or manual egg beater
paste (either classroom or wallpaper)
oil of cloves (optional, prevents mold)

Directions:

1. Tear newspaper or junk mail into about 1" squares. Tear enough to fill the bucket or large bowl.

2. Sprinkle the squares of paper into the large container of water, stirring to make sure all the paper is getting wet. Make sure to have enough warm water so that the paper is completely covered and well soaked.

3. Let soak 24 hours, or at least overnight.

4. Beat the soaked paper with the mixer. [NOTE: I keep an old, manual egg beater on hand for craft projects....I save my electric one for cooking. Alternatively, look for a used electric mixer or blender at the flea market or yard sales and keep that one for craft projects.]

5. Strain out excess water from mashed, soaked paper pulp. Squeeze with hands until nearly dry.

6. Gradually add paste to squeezed paper pulp until it is clay-like in consistency. Stir or knead as necessary. The amount of paste added depends on how dry the paper pulp was and how much pulp you have.

7. Add a few drops of oil of cloves, if desired. This prevents mold from developing as your project is drying. Add more drops for a large batch of pulp.

After your project has dried, you can paint and varnish or shellac it. Depending on the consistency of your pulp, the finished product can be very sturdy and long-lasting. You can also use the paper mache pulp to sculpt large projects by using fine "chicken wire" as a frame.

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