I have been looking at instructions for DIY hamster toys and equipment. It's recommended not to use newspapers for hamster projects because one doesn't want the hamster to injest the ink. (Hamsters are big chewers of everything within reach). But all the other papier maché instructions I've seen are based on newspaper strips, dampened with a thin flour paste.

The hamster project instructions recommend using toilet paper strips instead of paper, and some instructions have you painting the strips with just water, not paste. But some call for the usual thin paste even on the toilet paper.

The most common papier maché project for a hamster is to cover a balloon and then cut an opening.

Is there something special about toilet paper (or kleenex) that makes the layers stick to each other better than strips of paper do? Are there any disadvantages, when using toilet paper, to using plain water?

  • 3
    The majority of US newspapers have been using soy based inks for many years, removing the previously dangerous oil based inks from the picture.
    – fred_dot_u
    Dec 9, 2017 at 12:26
  • @fred_dot_u - This is great to know. Funny that this point hasn't sunk in in the online hamster community. Dec 11, 2017 at 15:04
  • 2
    And if you don't want to use toilet paper, you can buy newsprint from pretty much any art store and even big box stores that sell art supplies (Target, Wal-Mart). It's the same paper as in newspapers (but generally tan instead of grey), but blank.
    – user24
    Dec 19, 2017 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


Toilet/tissue paper is processed in such a way as to be as absorbent as possible. So, by soaking it in water the paper fibres expand and when they dry, they shrink back and stick well to each other. Other papers, like inkjet papers, are coated, or otherwise processed, in such a way as to reduce the absorption of ink. In your case this means that if you try to make papier-mâché with such paper and just water the fibres won’t be able to absorb enough water in order to expand and stick well together when dry.

So you can use toilet/tissue paper and just water to make papier-mâché but for less absorbent paper you may need some adhesive (e.g. starch from flour).

  • Thank you! Well, this makes toilet paper look extremely attractive as a material for making papier maché projects. Whenever I've done papier maché, the dipping in the watery paste really slowed me down, and having my hands in water gives me dry skin. // Would kleenex (tissue for blowing the nose) work in the same way as toilet paper? Dec 11, 2017 at 15:03
  • Toilet paper is more absorbent and softer than facial tissue. It will probably work better, but facial tissue will likely work, too. To help your dry hands, use plastic exam gloves (available in many department and many grocery stores). It makes it easier to keep clean, too. You just wash your hands with the gloves on and go back to your project. Jan 7, 2018 at 21:00

A UK children's show call "Art Attack" maybe very useful for you. I recommend you soak all your toilet or kitchen paper in enough water to get a putty like consistency. You then make the whole item in one go and allow it to dry. This will help with your dry skin problem (I hope), because you'll be handling something damp rather than repeatedly dipping your hands in water.

  • Could you provide a link to a specific episode? Jan 5, 2018 at 13:14
  • Paper towel paper mache is used on the mostly to for bulk or 3D construction. You could probably use an appropriate size bowl rather than a balloon. This clip shows the use of normal glue, but as previously mentioned use water .At 2.27 this youtu.be/avWNquyqCqc you tube video it shows the use of paper towels for mache
    – SAM A
    Jan 5, 2018 at 20:03

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