Making Paper Mache Apples with Kids

Hello Friends,
I thought I would share how I do a Paper Mache apple with my kiddos.

I have been doing Paper Mache with my class for MANY years! Through much trial and error and the help of a long ago co-worker, I have found a way that makes this process something that can be accomplished in a day rather than over the course of a week. I make this Paper Mache apple with my kindergarten every year. I have no extra helpers; it's just me and the kids! It does take a little bit of time to get it all set up, but once that is done, the process goes fast and the kids are proud of their little Paper Mache apple! Please note that this is a SOLID Paper Mache apple. You do not poke a balloon with a pin and you will not be able to add beans or stones to create a maraca.

  Let's begin with supplies needed:
1.  Newspaper
2.  Masking tape
3.  Paper Mache Paste  
We use Elmer's Paper Mache Paste. We purchase it from a school supply catalog, but I am told you can also get it at Walmart. One thing to be leery of is using wheat based paste. With so many allergies these days, use caution if you mix the paste yourself.
4.  SOLID WHITE paper towels - No designs at all
5.  NON-BLEEDING tissue paper - This is important! Make sure that your tissue is non-bleeding; tissue paper that bleeds will spoil your product. 
6.  You will need something to cover the tables that your kiddos will be working upon. We use plastic tablecloths because the paste does not adhere to plastic as easily as it does a paper product.

1.  The solid white paper towel must be torn into smaller pieces. I usually ask my students to do this. I tear the paper towels at the perforations and put an empty bowl in the center of the table. My students tear the sheets into small pieces and add to the bowl.
2.  Mix the paste. I use a whisk while adding water. This helps to keep the paste smooth. Your paste should be the consistency of thin pudding. It is better to have it too thick than too thin; although either is okay. Thinner paste takes longer to dry. Make sure there are no lumps in your paste because these do not disintegrate after drying.
3.  Cover the tables. Put a bowl of torn paper towels and a tray of paste in the center  of the table for everyone to reach.
4.  Decide what colors of tissue paper are needed. When I am making apples, I use apple colors - green, red, and yellow. The tissue paper must also be cut into small pieces and placed onto a tray. Set the trays aside. 

Okay.... now that you have your supplies gathered, let's get started........

Step 1:
Crumple newspaper into a sphere shape. Use masking tape to maintain the shape. Cover the entire sphere with masking tape.

Step 2:
Once the shape is covered with masking tape, it is time to cover it with WHITE paper towel. 
To do this, dip a piece of paper towel into the Paper Mache paste. Attach it to the shape over the masking tape. Do this until the entire shape is covered with white paper towel. It is important that the paper towel is wet and smooth. Encourage children to overlap their pieces so that the entire shape is covered with paper towel and is wet.


Step 3:
Once the shape is completely covered with wet paper towel, it is time to add color with NON-BLEEDING tissue paper. This is the BEST way to do paper mache! When you use tissue paper, you do not have to wait for the structure to dry so that it can be painted. You add the color with the tissue paper! This is SO COOL!! This is why your tissue paper must be non-bleeding because when you are adding the paper to the apple, it is wet and you do not want the paper to bleed.

Step 4:
Find a spot to lay the apples to let them dry. I usually write each child's name onto a Styrofoam plate and lay their apple upon the plate. (The apple will stick to a paper plate. ) It takes 1-2 days for the apple to dry; dependent on the humidity level. When the apple is dry, hot glue a brown stem and a foam leaf to the top. It is done! Yay! The best thing about doing Paper Mache this way is that you do not have to wait for the apple to dry and THEN get out the paint to paint it. The mess is completed in one setting! Also, the apple is solid, so if your little ones drop it, it won't break. The color also stays, so it lasts a very long time!

Until next time!