Vintage craft projects: Crafty ways with papier-mache
1. Bathroom brighteners
For wastebasket, cut two large oatmeal cartons in half lengthwise. Then fasten three halves together with masking tape, gummed paper, or glued paper strips. Trace around base on cardboard and cut two pieces this size. Glue one to outside of taped cartons, then trim other piece slightly smaller and glue to inside of bottom. For spray can cover, cut cardboard circle same diameter as tube; tape to one end.
Cut off a large oatmeal carton until it measures about five inches high for tissue cover. Overlay with inch wide strips or one- to two-inch squares of torn bits — newspaper, wrapping paper, paper toweling, wallpaper, tissue paper will do. Before painting, cut flowers from lightweight cardboard and soak in white glue bath before placing them, as shown.
For bow trims, glue two layers of inch-wide buckram between newspaper strips. While it’s wet and pliable, fold into bow shapes; glue in place. Brush on coating of spackle. Let dry before painting.
2. Desk addenda
For desk ensemble, use bricks for bookends or doorstops, round containers for pencil and mail holders, cardboard box for extra memo paper, plastic foam for hand blotter, and cardboard for desk blotter holder. Papier-mache all pieces, as for bath accessories above. Paint designs with bright poster paints, leaving some areas white for contrast. Coat with acrylic glaze; let dry between coats.
3. Powder-room organizers
Make armature for jewelry holder from a detergent bottle that’s weighted with plaster of Paris. Outline fingers and thumb on inside of garden glove with wire; stuff with cotton. Bring down over bottle, stuffing cotton into opening around neck of bottle.
For soap dish, glue inverted egg cup to bottom of saucer. Use a handle-less cup or tumbler for comb holder.
Lipstick tote: Slice off bottom from foam ball. Press shallow holes in top part large enough to hold lipstick tubes. Cover all forms with layer of 1/8-inch-thick commercial papier-mache. Apply fringe trims after soaking in glue. When dry, color with poster paints.
For animals, mold bodies from several thicknesses of wadded newspaper or heavy paper toweling. Saturate thoroughly with glue before shaping, or use masking tape to hold bodies in position. Dip wads of cotton into modeling paste and stick in place for padding around eyes, nose, legs of alligator. Attach coat hangers cut to desired lengths for front and back legs on giraffe and crane. Cover with toweling dipped in modeling paste.
Legs for elephant are six-inch lengths of paper towel cores sloped at top to fit body. Attach holders securely to tops of animals with glue. Brush or spray all with acrylic paints in suitable colors. When dry, coat with clear plastic glaze.