Paper mache originated in France a long time ago. This craft idea literally means “chewed paper.” We can make various shapes and various designs from it by using old newspapers and white glue. Though we can say that it is inexpensive in terms of the materials needed, patience is a virtue, since this requires a lot of practice and a lot of time making it. So, let’s start!

Step 1:  Gather all the materials needed for this project:

  • Newspapers
  • White glue
  • Shell model
  • Swiss knife
  • Water-based paints
  • Brushes
  • A cup of water
  • Short-pointed scissors
  • Any kind of bowl


Step 2: Pour a considerable amount of white glue into the bowl.

Step 3: Pour the water into the bowl. The ratio of water to the white glue must be 1:3.

Step 4: Mix it thoroughly until you get a homogenous mixture.

Step 5: Place a newspaper spread on top of your working table to avoid unnecessary mess or spillage.

Step 6:  Cut the newspaper into several small strips and dip it on the white glue mixture. Make sure that the newspaper strips are deeply submerged.

Step 7: Get your shell model and start patching some wet paper strips on it.

Step 8:  Keep on doing this until you totally cover the top and side part of the shell.

Step 9: Be keen on the details of the shell, especially the spiky parts. Smoothen out the paper mache on the shell.

Step 10: Let it dry for a day or two. You can use sunlight or manually dry it using a fan. Take note that you should observe that the crust is totally stone-like before you stop the drying process.

Step 11: Once dry, using a Swiss knife, carefully lift the edges of the paper mache.

Step 12: Totally remove the mache from the shell.

Step 13: Perform the necessary cleaning on the sides of the shell paper mache using the scissors.

Step 14: Paint it black and let it dry for several hours.

Step 15: Paint the prominent curves on the shell using an orange paint.

Step 16: Make some parts brown by brushing some white paint over the orange paint while it is still wet.

Step 17: Let the paint dry for 5 to 6 hours.

Step 18:  You are finally done with your realistic shell paper mache!

You should have thick layers of paper mache on the shell to avoid breaking or tearing once you remove it. The success rate of this project is high if you totally let your paper mache dry for a day or two. You can also use acrylic or enamel paint if you want, to add a glossy finish on it. Try it on and have fun!

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