Papier Mache Skulls

You can create fun and easy to paint papier mache skulls using our sugar skull plastic molds. 


Papier-Mache Pulp Recipe:

This article/recipe is borrowed /inspired from Heather Mann and adapted from a project on her website called Dollar Store Crafts.  She rocks and has some really cool projects!  She also has a great instruction on making skully soaps on a rope, too! ;)

1. Tear up newspaper into small pieces. Just use the newsprint pages - not the glossy ads. 

2. Pour boiling water over the newspaper and let it soak for an hour. Make sure you use a disposable bowl or recycled plastic container, or something you don't care about, because a lot of ink comes off the paper. Make sure all paper is covered with water.  Be careful not to scold yourself with the hot water!

3. Drain water and mix soggy paper into small pieces with a hand mixer. The instructions said to use your fingers to break up the paper into smaller pieces, but I tried it for five minutes and it was slow going, plus my fingers got all covered in ink. The hand mixer made the job much easier!

4. Make a mixture of 4 teaspoons of glue to 1 teaspoon of water. Pour over the paper pulp and mix with your hand mixer. Be sure to wash the beaters immediately after you're done with them. If you need more glue mixture, the ratio is 4:1.  You may also use full strength BLUE LIQUID STARCH that you can buy at the grocery store.  But most people have white glue at home. 

To make the molded skulls:

1. Spray the mold with non-stick spray.

2. Push the papier-mache mixture into the mold. Pack it as tightly as you can down in the detailed area of the mold.

3. Fill in the entire mold with papier-mache. WARNING: this will take awhile to dry.  You MUST leave the mixture in the mold for at least two days.. perhaps longer for the larger skulls. 

4. After a couple days, unmold the skulls, then allow to dry until they are light and totally dried out. This might take a week

5. To speed the drying process, dry the skulls in your oven at 150 F for 2 or more hours, until dry. I used my toaster oven on the convection setting for 2.5 hours.  Do not allow the paper to touch any heating elements as they are flammable!

When the skulls are completely dry, trim off excess papier-mache with scissors (I used kitchen shears) and sand with sandpaper, if a smoother finish is desired. Decorate however you like. I painted mine with acrylic craft paint.

Tips for painting with craft paint:

* You can paint the papier-mache sculpture with an undercoat of paint or just decorate the papier-mache directly. Mine was muddy gray, so I opted to paint my skulls with white and antique white craft paint.

* The papier-mache is, by nature, rough and bumpy. Don't expect it to be easy to achieve superfine painting detail.

* Wet your brush and mix with acrylic paint. You'll need a bit of water mixed with your paint to get adequate glide over the bumpy surface (and the water will help you cover all the crevices easily).

* If you make a mistake, just wait for the mistake to dry and paint over it. Super easy.

* In fact, the way I found to make better detail was to paint my color in layers (specifically the teeth). Paint the black outline first (let it dry), and then dab white for teeth. When the paint dries, touch up any spots that need to be cleaned up.

* If it doesn't look as good as you want it to, just keep adding layers of paint until you like it!

* Add some glitter or metallic paint for a little special something (I used a few coats of Plaid Extreme Glitter paint on a couple of my skulls).

* I tried to use a permanent marker to decorate my skulls, but I didn't like the effect. Maybe you will get better results than I did!

This article/recipe is borrowed from
Heather Mann and adapted from a project on her website called Dollar Store Crafts.  She rocks and has some really cool projects!