How Many Layers of Paper Mache Should I Use?

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Paper mache is an awesome medium for a lot of different projects. It is easy to use and awesome for kids. Still, there are some important things to keep in mind when using this medium. In this article, I will tell you How many layers best to apply for what kind of paper mache project.

So how many layers of paper mache should I use? The short answer is, it depends on your project. Normally three to four Layers of paper mache is enough for the walls to support themselves. If you want to make something, that is bigger and more complex, like a mask for example. I would suggest using around fifteen layers.

How Many Layers of Paper Mache Should I Use For A Simple Project?

If your project is simple like for example a Paper mache bowl or another simple form then three to four layers of paper mache should be fine.

If your simple project is going to be used regularly though, like a holder for glasses or a holder for keys, then I would suggest using a little more layers to reinforce the project to keep it alive longer.

If you are using paper mache to hold something together, then I would suggest using more layers. Depending on how much it has to hold I would recommend about seven to eight layers.

If you are just using paper mache to smoothen out the surface of your project, then you won´t need more than two or three layers.

How Many Layers of Paper Mache Should I Use For A More Complex Project?

This question is kind of hard to answer in just one sentence.

It really depends on a lot of factors like the kind of glue, that you are using, the type of paper and what the project is going to be used for.

Let´s start with the type of glue. If you are using a waterbased glue then you will generally need to use more layers because the layers will never dry extremely hard. If you are using a resin-based glue though, then you won’t need a lot of layers because this glue will let the paper mache dry extremely hard.

The kind of paper, that you use, is also important. If you are only using Newspapers and you need strong walls, then you should use quite a lot of layers. Anywhere between fifteen and twenty. It is important to leave the layers dry in between. You can read more about that here.

If you are using cardboard or generally thicker paper, then you can achieve strong walls with fewer layers. Anywhere between six and ten layers should be more than enough.

The type of project is important as well. If you want to build a very detailed and complex form with paper mache then the amount of layers is an important factor as well. The more layers you use the more detail you will lose, but the fewer layers you use the “softer” the walls are going to be.

So you have to balance these two factors well to get a highly detailed sculpture, that is also stable. You could also use glue, that is drying hard to reinforce your project while using fewer layers.

Will My Project Get More Robust If I Use More Layers?

Yes and No. It is true, that the more layers you are adding to your project the more structurally sound it will get but it isn´t as easy as it sounds at first glance.

After you added around twenty layers of paper mache to make it stronger it is not really useful to add more layers if the project is still not robust enough.

So if you still need stronger walls after adding twenty layers then you should maybe think about adding a layer of either stronger paper of a layer of paper, that is glued with a resin-based glue. This will let the layer dry very hard and reinforce your project quite a lot.

So, in short, you should think about what makes more sense to add more layers or to reinforce your project with a stronger layer.

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 interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.

2 thoughts on “How Many Layers of Paper Mache Should I Use?”

  1. I am making a paper mache pumpkin-shaped piñata for a children’s Halloween party, using strips of newspaper and water and flour paste. I want to put a fait amount of candy inside. How many layers do I need to put on the balloon?

    • Hi Sharon,
      I think four layers should be more than enough to hold the weight of the candy. Paper mache is surprisingly durable once it is dry so you won´t need more than five layers.


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