I've always used the standard flour+water = paper mache. This often results in a somewhat heavy and fragile object though.

I'm looking for a formula for a strong but light weight version. Light-weight being key. I'm hoping to create a scaffold of chicken-wire and mache over it to create a smooth surface. I've also read that using "blue shop towels" can be better than newspaper so that is what I'll do.

The end product will be moisture-sealed and mounted to the bathroom wall to hold toilet paper in a decorative way (think "giant sheep" or some other fun shape that involves toilet paper rolls).

  • I don't know about weight but I've recently used the thinned white glue option instead of flour. It's nice because it's already got a gloss finish to it and it doesn't get powdery after a while. Have you looked at this method?
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 19:06
  • At home and at school we used to use the glue that here is used to put wall paper on the wall. One of the joys of new wall paper was that there was glue left over to make paper mache. (Not sure about its weight.) You can use all kinds of paper, I would go for a very smooth and thin paper. Not sure what will be around where you are.
    – Willeke
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


I've always used slightly diluted white PVA glue (just enough water to make it runny enough to soak paper in). Recently tried using kitchen roll, which was durable and held its shape well. Tissue paper (as in artistic, not toilet roll!) is also nice - very lightweight, and can also go directly on top of chicken wire, if you preferred to make a framework with the wire. Careful if you're using dyed paper though; sometimes the colour leeches out of the paper, or just runs everywhere. enter image description here


Hopefully the photo shows it a bit more clearly. It's pretty tough, and holds paint really well. It smoothed fairly nicely, but we were in a bit of a hurry (and the bobbly texture actually worked quite well with fruit!)

  • what is the strength of this like? it needs to be reasonably strong as well, although lightweight is the critical point. Also, what was the surface finishing properties of it like? does it hold paint well after or would it need to be primed? Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 17:35
  • It's pretty strong! And it holds paint really well. I'll see if I can find some photos of what I made with it, and hopefully that'll show the surface finishing a bit better than I can explain it. Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 22:31

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