When we look at paper mache projects and sculptures then you surely noticed, that almost all of them are made with newspapers. So much so, that the newspaper look has almost become a staple of paper mache. But why does everyone use Newsletters for paper mache? In this article, I will answer this and many more questions.
So do you have to use newspaper for paper mache? The short answer is no, you don´t need to use Newspaper. You can use pretty much any paper you want, as long as it absorbs the glue mixture well enough. Most people use newspaper because it is inexpensive and you need a lot of paper for a paper mache project.
Why Do So Many Artists Use Newspaper For Paper Mache?
Newspapers are the cheapest kind of paper, that you can get for crafting. In a lot of states, you can get it pretty much for free.
For paper mache, you will need a lot of paper, no matter how big your project is. Don´t underestimate the amount of paper, that you will need.
You have to do a lot of layers and even if it is just a little sculpture or paper bowl, that you want to make you will need at least two or three whole newspapers to get it done.
So most artists use Newspapers as a base and only use a different, nicer looking, kind of paper for the final three or four layers. This way, the costs for the project are low and, because of these final layers, it still looks unique and high quality.
A lot of artists also use toilet paper if they need to add some sort of form or volume to their sculpture. Toilet paper is cheap and it dissolves easier than newspaper, so it is ideal for creating exact forms and adding them to the sculpture.
What Kind of Paper (Other Than Newspaper) Can I Use For Paper Mache?
You can use pretty much any paper you want to as long as it absorbs the glue, that you are using, properly.
So you can use every kind of paper, that dissolves easily in water.
Paper, that consists of fabric to a small percentage can also be used. So cotton paper, for example, is great. But this kind of paper is also very expensive compared to most other kinds of paper. You can check the price on Amazon and see for yourself if it is something, that you like to use for your project or if it is too expensive.
You can use tissue paper, toilet paper, or other similar paper if you want a detailed paper mache layer.
You can also use cardboard for paper mache!
Colored paper is also a good option for paper mache if you want to give your project a little bit of color and it is a lot cheaper than cotton paper. You can see for yourself here on Amazon.
You can even use textiles to do paper mache with. It is a little bit more tricky but you can achieve some amazing results!
What Kind Of Paper Is Not Good For Paper Mache?
Any Paper, that is very robust and doesn´t dissolve easily in water.
So any kind of laminated or gloss coated paper like glossy photo paper is not good for paper mache.
Very thick paper, that is used for photo printing can be quite annoying to use for paper mache. Mainly because paper like that does not dissolve and it does not form well.
Very thin paper, like crepe paper, is hard to work with but not impossible. I would not suggest any beginner trying to use this kind of paper but if you are a veteran Paper mache artist then go ahead and try it. You can achieve very interesting results.
Is There a Cheap Alternative to Newspaper?
To be honest, newspapers are still the cheapest kind of paper I know. You can always check your paper trash and use old letters or envelopes or other paper, that you would have normally thrown away.
You can use cardboard from parcels or from packaging for paper mache as well. But some cardboard nowadays is sealed in a special way, that it repels water so a certain degree with is bad if you want to do paper mache with it.
You can buy some cheap brown recycled paper from your local art store or from packaging shops for your project. This kind of paper is great for paper mache and it looks a little cleaner than newspapers. It is also quite cheap compared to most other papers, that you can get.
Does Drying Time Vary Depending On The Type Of Paper You Use?
Yes, drying time varies greatly depending on the type of paper, that you use.
If you use Newspapers, then the drying time can be anywhere between 12 to up to 24 hours depending on how many layers you applied at once. I would always recommend to only do 3 to 4 layers at a time before letting it dry.
If you are using some cardboard or something similar, then your drying time is going to be slightly longer. Mainly because the cardboard will need more glue in order to stick properly and it absorbs glue more than newspapers do, thus it also needs more time to dry.
If you are using textile paper or cotton paper then drying time varies again. Depending on how thick the paper is it will take anywhere between 8 and 14 hours. Thin textile paper generally drys faster than newspaper but only if it is applied in layers. If you use it to build up bulk then it will obviously take longer to dry.
Regular paper has pretty much a similar drying time than newspapers do. Depending on the kind of paper you use, how thick it is how absorbent it is and if it is coated in any way will change the drying time as well.
If the paper is very absorbent then drying time can be longer than normal.
If the paper is very thick, then the drying time can also be longer than the drying time of newspapers.
If the paper is coated then it may be difficult to use for paper mache and it will also take longer to dry than normal.
Is There a Reason to Use Another Type of Paper?
Yes, newspapers are the cheapest kind of paper, that you can use but there are other kinds of papers that can help you achieve interesting effects in your paper mache project.
If you use textile paper, like cotton paper, then the layers, that you made with this paper, will properly dry harder than layers done with other paper. Textile paper is also good for getting very detailed paper mache parts. Mainly because this paper will form better than newspapers do.
You can use cardboard to build up bulk very quickly. Just mush some cardboard together with your glue mixture and then glue it to your project to build-up mass quickly.
You can also use tissue paper, toilet paper or something similar to build-up mass as well. Similar to cardboard you can just mix the tissue paper with your glue mixture and then apply it to your project. Toilet paper is a little bit easier and more precise to form than cardboard.
And finally, colored paper can be used to give some color to your project. You can use any colored paper as long as it is not coated in any way. And the color may actually change a little bit after you applied it to your project. Generally, it is easier to use newspapers then coat it with some primer and then paint it than actually use colored paper.
I hope this article was useful to you and if you have any questions, then feel free to leave a comment below. I will answer your question as soon as possible.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create these interactive props. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.