How to Smooth Paper Mache Before Painting


Paper mache is a mixture of paper that has been soaked in water and then allowed to dry. After drying, the paper becomes very strong, stiff, lightweight, and durable. It can be used to make sculptures where the creation will be handled or used as support for items held up with string or wire. It is also beneficial for making masks because you can breathe through the material easily while creating it with your own breath! In this article, I will discuss how to smooth paper mache before painting. So let us get started.

How to Smooth Paper Mache Before Painting

A Detailed Stepwise Guide on How to Smooth Paper Mache Before Painting:

Step 1: Mix Filler

Fill the mixture into a paper cup (or any plastic or glass container). You can use old white paper cups, coffee mugs, milk/water glasses for this purpose. Just make sure that there are no chips on them. The mixtures need to be poured into these containers as the mixture solidifies very quickly, making it difficult for you to pour it out of utensils like pots or eatable utensils. Readymade commercial fillers are also available in different shops but are expensive than handmade ones.

The readymade filters have many advantages – they can be stored easily, are quick to prepare and give better results. However, I prefer the handmade one because the readymade fillers may not be as flexible and strong as the handmade ones.

Step 2: Add Water & Mix It Well:

Add water to the mixture and mix it well. How much water should you add? For this, take a handful of soil and squeeze hard till water oozes out; if no more soil comes out after squeezing, then it is enough. But if there are grits still visible on your fingers, add some more water and repeat squeezing until the dirt is gone from your fingers.

The same process needs to be done with all ingredients – soil, filler or mud powder, flour paste, etc. If the mixture has become too liquidy after adding water, stop adding further water and keep mixing. Also, if there are any gritty bits in the mixture after mixing it well, add some more water and mix again. It is better to stop adding water before reaching the right consistency rather than adding too much water.

Step 3: Test for Consistency:

Make a ball out of your prepared mixture and keep it inside your palm. Then, with the help of thumb and forefinger, squeeze the ball lightly; if the pieces start falling off on their own without breaking, then you’ve reached correct consistency! But if they break when squeezed or if you experience any difficulties forming them into balls (they stick to hands), add some more filler powder (or mud or flour paste) to hard your mixture until the required consistency is reached.

Make a Ball Out  Of Your Prepared

Step 4: Let It Dry Overnight

The mixture should be left overnight to become more flexible. If this is not done, then cracks are likely to appear on your finished products. Fill the mixtures into paper drinking cups or small containers about two-thirds their height so that you can pour out excess later on.

Paper clip them tightly with clothespins/clips, so they don’t open by themselves accidentally while drying and spilling all over your floor! Remember to remove clips after the molding process is complete, as it would be challenging for you if the mixtures dried up inside these clips! It makes sense to keep them aside in a situation like this rather than trying to take them out, which causes breakage of molds!

Step 5: Make Your Own Moulds

You can make your own molds by using thick, flat objects like old magazines/newspapers, thick cardboard pieces (not recycled), portions of plastic bottles or pots, etc. Just cut out the required shape with a general knife and place it over the dried mixture – if it fits well with little adjustment needed, then you’re done!

You Can Check It Out to Remove Dents From Paper

 Making Moulds using magazine

If not, add some more filler powder to harden the mixture. After making molds for all your desired shapes, cover them up tightly with plastic sheets to protect them from dust when drying.

Step 6: Pour in Filler-Mixture into These Moulds & Allow It To Dry 

Pour in the filler mixture into these molds after making holes at their bottom with a knife for drainage. After pouring in the mixtures, cover them up tightly with plastic sheets to prevent dust from entering inside while drying. Remember that this mixture takes longer to dry than a regular mud mixture because of excess moisture content!

So allow the mixtures to dry completely before taking off their plastic covering. It is better to wait for a day or two instead of risking breakage by opening the mold too soon! You can open your homemade clay molds after 2-3 days but remember that they may appear watery because of excess moisture retention – do not be worried. This appearance will disappear when you start the actual process. It’s only meant as a precautionary measure!

Step 7: Paint Your Moulded Blocks

After making complete sets of mud mold, using old newspapers/magazines to create variety in sizes and shapes at one go can be done easily. After painting your molded blocks, allow them to dry completely before assembling into other products like pottery ornaments, etc.

Stepwise Guide to Smooth Paper Mache

You can use these blocks for decoration purposes by adding small hooks on their back which you can hang on display. If you don’t have time to paint them now, just stack them up so that dust doesn’t enter inside – it will not affect the outcome because after drying completely, they become hard enough to withstand any mishandling without breaking!

You Can Check It Out to Make Paper Mache Smoother Make Paper Mache Smoother

Precautions While Smoothing Paper Mache Before Painting:

1. The smoothing of paper mache as a part of preparing it for painting is washed away some textures that might have been useful in the decoration process since those original textures will be covered up by paint. For this reason, it is advisable only to use a fully smooth surface as a last resort. If you can’t achieve a satisfactory finish with other techniques, then smoothening may be the only option left.  

2. Smoothing paper mache makes getting into small areas and intricate designs more difficult because it increases stiffness and gives everything a glossy sheen which improves visibility and reflects light from your work area onto your project, making details harder to see clearly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Mod Podge to Seal Paper Mache?

Yes, you can use Mod Podge to seal paper mache. However, it is important to follow the instructions carefully so that the end result is a successful seal.

First, make sure that the paper mache is completely dry before applying the Mod Podge. Second, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the surface of the paper mache. Third, wait until the Mod Podge has dried completely before applying another layer. Fourth, repeat these steps until you have sealed all of the cracks and crevices in your paper mache project.

Do You Need Emulsion Paint for Paper Mache?

No, you do not need emulsion paint for paper mache. Paper mache is a type of sculpture that is made from pieces of paper that are glued together to create a three-dimensional object.

What Kind of Spray Paint Can I Use on Paper?

There are many types of spray paint that can be used on paper. The most common type is aerosol spray paint, which is a liquid that is released into the air when you spray it. This type of paint is easy to use and doesn’t require any special preparation before you start painting.

Use a Paint or Glue

Another type of spray paint is brush-on spray paint, which comes in various colors and can be used with a brush. This type of paint is more difficult to use because you have to apply it manually to your paper. It also requires more preparation before you start painting, as you need to clean your brush and choose the right color.

Can I Varnish Paper Mache?

it depends on the type of varnish that you are using and the specific instructions that you follow. However, generally speaking, it is not recommended to varnish paper mache because it can damage the material over time.

Is Mod Podge the Same as Paper Mache?

No, Mod Podge and Paper Mache are two different types of adhesives. Mod Podge is a water-based adhesive that can seal and protect surfaces, while Paper Mache is an oil-based adhesive used to create textures and patterns on surfaces.


I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to smooth paper mache before painting. Ensure all the precautions while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly