Found Arts
Papier mache' is a fun medium for creating on the cheap. Thus, "pauper" mache'. And chances are you have all the materials it takes to create papier mache' already lying around the house.

BUTTERFLY MASKS in three basic steps.


You needn't run to the craft store for cardboard to create your form. A sturdy old cereal box will do. Simply cut out a butterfly shape large enough to cover most of your face. Cut out eye holes.

TIP: If you're making more than one mask, use the first cutout as a template for additional masks.


Papier mache' is comprised of water, paper, and glue. Generally, 2 parts water to every 1 part glue (regular white household glue) will make the perfect bonding agent. Some recipes for papier mache' substitute flour for glue, but glue in my experience is more durable for the long haul, and mice are less apt to eat it.

Take newspaper (which you have torn into strips) and dip them in the glue/water solution. Remove excess by pulling the strip between your thumb and index finger, as you would to remove excess water from a lasagna noodle. When you've removed excess to your liking, lay strip across your cardboard form, folding it around the sides of the form, careful not to crease the paper. Repeat process until the entire form is covered.

At this point the form is probably pliable enough you can shape it to some degree (curved, rather than flat). Let dry overnight.

TIP: Torn strips blend at the edges better than cut ones. Short newspaper strips are easier to handle than long ones, and less apt to wrinkle. If you do find wrinkles, you may be able to smoothe them out. If not, don't sweat it. Minor imperfections are what make these masks folk-arty, one-of-a-kind creations.


Once the newspaper has dried, add holes for the stick. Two hole punches a half-inch apart (one above the other) should be ideal. Now paint the front and edges of the mask with a white base coat (the back too, if you wish, but it's not necessary). I generally use latex, but acrylic paints work fine too. Once dry, you have a simple butterfly mask ready for you to unleash your creativity on. Add antennae, wing designs, body, etc. Let your imagination run wild!

TIP: Whether you paint it (brush or spray) or decorate it with stickers and jewels - or both - a clear acrylic coating will add UV protection and durability to the final piece.

By Michael Hofferbert

Michael Hofferbert works and plays in the Stillaguamish Valley where he serves on the
Arlington Arts Council and as editor-at-large for

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