Christmas Tips & Fun

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Making Some Really Big Christmas Ornaments Out Of Paper-Mache


t’s actually Papier-mвchй in French and it means, well, "chewed paper." We’ll go with the Americanized version.

This is a fun, if somewhat messy, project and it’s good for kids to do.

It starts with a balloon base and the size of the balloon governs the size of the finished ornament.

But first, a couple of paste recipe options:

A good white glue, such as Elmer’s, in a ѕ glue to ј water mixture.

Laundry starch – try reversing the proportion so it’s ѕ water and ј starch or see what works best for your particular type of starch.

Try and avoid recipes that involved flour because it can attract bugs or other things once the ornaments are stored.

You can use colored paper, or plain white paper if you’re planning on painting the finished ornaments. Newspaper strips are another option but the finished product is harder to paint.

Soak the paper until it’s absorbed as much of the glue mixture as possible. While you’re doing that, blow up the balloon and tie it as tightly as possible since you want it to retain its shape while the paper dries around it. Then apply the first layer of paper. Let it dry naturally or help it along with a fan or hair dryer. (Careful with hair dryers, which can cause the balloon to expand… or worse.) Apply the next layer crossways to the first to add some strength and repeat that process until you have about 4 layers of paper.

Let the ornament dry thoroughly and then either untie the balloon (if you can, as this is a much less traumatic process for the paper-mache) or pop it with a pin and remove it.

You can then decorate the ornament with spray paint, poster paint, gel paint pens, glitter pens or whatever suits your fancy. You might want to give it a final spray of a clear coating to give it more of a professional ornament look. Poke a small hole in the ornament for a hanger and your tree can look like one of the decorator trees at Macy’s or Neiman’s or Nordstrom’s.

Written by Dianne Weller
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