Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paper Mache Using Art Paste

When planning a paper mache lesson consider skipping the flour/salt/water mix and the wheat paste, and check out School Smart Art Paste instead…

This product is a methyl cellulose powder you mix with water.

It’s easy to work with and the extra paste you have left over from your lesson can be stored in a lidded container for over a year… No mold! No odor! It has an amazing shelf life.

Stir the powder into water and set it aside for a few minutes. I usually sprinkle half a bag of the paste into an ice cream pail and fill with warm water, stopping about two inches from the top of the bucket.

The liquid thickens into a clear slippery mixture within 5-15 minutes, the longer you wait the thicker it gets. Stir the mixture and modify how thin or thick you want it; add water or sprinkle in more paste.

That’s it! You’re ready to use it. This product is a dream to use. Make a batch as big or small as you need, and any paste left over can be stored in a lidded container. One art teacher I worked with stored the paste in a large plastic laundry detergent bottle. Just unscrew the lid, pour it into containers for student use and pour the leftovers back in the laundry soap container when done. I usually just put a lid on the ice cream bucket as the laundry detergent containers are too tall for my shelving or storage under my sinks.

It is a slippery paste but cleaning up the containers the students used is pretty easy. Empty paste into a storage container and place all the class containers that had held the paste in the sink. Fill the containers to the top with water. Let them soak for a couple of hours and the paste will no longer be clinging to the sides of the containers. Just rinse and set aside to dry.
I purchase School Smart Art Paste from the School Specialty art supply catalog. The Nasco art supply catalog sells a product that looks like the same thing, produced by the Elmer’s company. You might consider a Google search to see if any of the catalogs you order from carries it.
Have you used art paste for projects other than paper mache? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I love this stuff, but haven't had as good of luck with it staying fresh. I've used the Elmer's version and it has gotten a little... funky by the end of 4 days.
    This stuff works GREAT for Italian-style paper marbling!! if you dilute acrylic paints and dropper or gently brush them on, they will float and be manipulable on the surface. Try it!