Let it be said, the mess factor is high so you get a super parent cape and bragging rights for this project. Be prepared for this 3 step paper mache process.
1. The messy Paper Mache part
2. Drying Time 2-3 DAYS
3. Painting (and drying)
Start with blowing up the balloon. The world round so don’t over blow the balloon into an long shape, try to keep it round.
Rip strips of newspaper into 2 inch wide and long (8-12 inches long) strips. The easiest way is to rip versus cut. Use newspaper not glossy flyers. The plainer the better. This is a super fun job for younger kids to participate in as all the ripping can be fun.
Mix the Paper Mache Paste. We created ours with some trial and error and a very basic recipe of flour and water. If you have several children doing this at once, use one cup of flour and one cup of warm wate per project (per child). We used large bowls and stirred the flour until it made a soupy consistency. A whisk is very helpful to avoid lumps of flour. Be prepared for the MESS this paste makes, cover up the table with a cloth or better yet, do this craft outside.
Paper Mache Fun:
For an even working surface you must keep the balloon still. We found placing the balloon in a bowl kept it from tipping and we could easily rotate it.
Dip one strip of paper at a time into the paste. Soak it all the way through but remove any extra gloppy mess. The thicker the paste the better as it will create a harder shell.
Lay the strip on the balloon one at a time and repeat. Avoid putting super wet strips on as they will slip off and take longer to dry. Avoid the balloon tie as it can be used for hanging up the Earth later, let it hang out.
Did we say this was MESSY? It’s so super messy. Some kids will love that, the sensory experience will be amazing. Others will find the paste yucky, especially as it gets cold. Work quickly to avoid cold paste.
2 or 3 layers is best. If you have time and can let each layer rest and dry in between, that’s ideal. If you only want to make a mess once then layer on a second right after the first (that’s what we did). Just be careful it’s not too wet or the strips will be heavy and slide off the balloon.
Set your papered balloon in a nice dry location on it’s bowl. If you set it down it will dry and stick to whatever you leave it on so use the bowl. Let it dry about 2 days. If it is wet it can’t be painted so give it time which is tough for impatient kids!
We used the same bowls for holding the Earth while we painted. We found it easiest to paint the entire ball blue for the water first.
At first we struggled with how to paint on the green land, overanalysing the landmarks and shapes of countries. Our 3 year old artist then started finger painting with green hands and slapping her full hand on her project… we then realised anything green would look like land. Don’t overkill with ‘accuracy’.
Once dry you will be so pleased with your project! With some patience it is impossible to do it wrong and it will be one of those projects your children will talk about for ages!
Happy Earth Day!
momstown originally published this craft in 2014