Making Paper-Mâché Easter Eggs

April 18, 2011

We are so excited to share this first of two tutorials on Easter crafting from past ROTH contributor Rachel of Lusa Organics.  First up is this ingenious tutorial on making Paper Mache Easter Eggs.

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As an attempt at simplicity I have broken the process down into Phase 1: Make Your Eggs; Phase 2: Open (and Close); Phase 3: Add Some Bling. It will all make sense as we move through the process.

Before we get started, one thought on planning for time: because of necesity to dry thorougly between steps this is a project that needs to be completed in phases over a couple of days. No phase take exceptionally long, but drying time is necessary between steps. Plan for it!

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Phase 1: Make Your Eggs

1. Gather your supplies

  • Wooden or plastic eggs or water balloons (I used the few plastic Easter eggs left in our world, but be creative. Even a racket ball would work to create round “eggs”.)
  • Newsprint or other flexible scrap paper
  • paper-mâché paste (recipes below)
  • Something oily (coconut oil, Booty Balm, petroleum jelly, anything.)
  • Empty egg carton
  • Wet and dry rags for wiping hands
  • Colored issue paper (optional)
  • Scraps of decorative paper (optional)

2. Make your paper-mâché paste. Two options are below. Both work well.

Paper-mâché Glue Recipe

  • 2 parts white glue
  • 1 part water

Combine ingredients. Ta da! Easy.

Paper-mâché Wheat Recipe

  • 1/2 C white wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 C water

Combine and boil for three minutes. Cool until comfortable to the touch.

3. Tear newspaper into thin strips. The thinner the better, but it works with wider kid-torn strips too.

4. Lightly oil the outside of your plastic or wooden eggs. This will make removing the paper-mâché easier in Phase 2.

5. Dip strips of paper into paper-mâché, squeegee off with your fingers, and begin wrapping the eggs. Wrap and wrap and wrap some more until there is no plastic or wooden egg peeking out and the entire egg is covered in at least two layers. (We have some covered a with a dozen strips and some covered with three. I’d suggest shooting for the 3-6 layer zone. It will make the egg easy to work with in phases 2 and 3 but sturdy for Phase Egg Hunt.)

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6. After you are pleased with the amount of coverage roll the egg in your hands to smooth out the bits of paper that are poking out. Roll and roll around in your hands “just like you’re washing up with soap,” says Lupine. As the photo above will testify, you will get all gooey and need to wash up with some real soap very soon.

7. If you are covering your eggs with tissue or decorative paper, now is the time. Because the tissue is so thin there is no need to dip in the paste. Simply stick to the already moist egg. Cover first with a couple of layers of white tissue and then colored. (The white will hide the printing on the newspaper. Decorative paper can be applied directly on top of newspaper as it is opaque.) If needed, dip your fingers in the paper-mâché paste and smooth a little on the outside of the tissue paper to help it stick smoothly.

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8. When you are satisfied with your egg wipe off any excess paste with your hand and place completed eggs in an empty egg carton. As they dry move them around now and then to be sure they aren’t sticking to the carton.

9. Wash up. You’re a mess. But it was fun, right? Phase 1 is complete.

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Phase 2: Open (and Close)

Did you let your eggs dry thoroughly? You should. It is much easier to do step 2 with completely dry eggs. I hurried the process a bit to bring you this tutorial today (and only two days late), but in a perfect world I would have let the eggs dry longer. Just sayin’.

1. Gather your supplies.

  • empty toilet paper tube or other thin cardboard
  • Utility or craft knife
  • Tacky or white glue
  • clothespins (spring type)
  • Decorative ribbon

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2. Carefully slice into the (completely dry) paper-mâché around the equator of your egg. (I like to leave a 1/2″ section uncut so that my egg has a hinged lid.) Look for any areas where you did not completely cut through the paper and cut again. Gently Squeeze the egg and the paper-mâché should slip apart at the slice you just made, revealing the wooden or plastic egg beneath. (Note: if you used a balloon cut your equator line knowing that you will pop your balloon.)

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3. Gently squeeze the egg more firmly until you can grab hold of the top half of your paper egg and remove it. Then grab that slippery egg from inside and pull it out. It will be greasy and cold and feel kind of icky but whatever. It’s just a fake egg. And there it is. Your homemade paper-mâché egg! Satisfying, isn’t it?

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4. Using scissors or your craft knife, cut your toilet paper tube down its length and open. Cut a slice from one end, approximately 1/2″ or 1 cm wide. Apply a narrow band of glue inside the bottom half of your egg and insert the cardboard strip. Leave 1/2 of it peeking up above the edge.

Note: depending on the size of your plastic or wooden egg there will likely be either a gap or an overlap of this cardboard band. Both are fine. Just angle the cardboard edge so that it narrows as it comes out of the egg a bit rather than becomes more wide than the egg opening. The cardboard will give the top of the egg something to grab onto and will help your eggs stay closed. If it flares out it will prevent the egg from closing at all.

Pinch the edges of the egg and band with clothespins to hold it in place until the glue is dry.

Phase 2. Done. Voila.

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Phase 3: Add Some Bling (mostly optional)

Personally I think even the newsprint eggs are awesome, as are the plain kraft paper ones pictured at the top and bottom of this post. But if you want to add some fancy to your eggs this is the time. (Wait until the glue from Phase 2 is dry inside of your egg before proceeding.)

1. Gather your supplies

  • Ribbon
  • Paint (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Glue or Mod Podge (optional)
  • Decorative paper (optional)

2. Paint, glitter, and glue your egg, inside and out. Be as wild or as mild as you are. Allow your embellishments to dry completely perched in an empty egg carton. If desired coat the entire outside of your egg with outdoor Mod Podge. I didn’t do this but if your eggs will be out in the rain it isn’t a bad idea.

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3. After the egg is thorougly dry attach the ribbon. The ribbon will also help insure that your egg remains closed during your egg hunt or when tucked in a spring basket. On the “back” of your egg (this is arbitrary unless you left a bit of paper-mâché connecting the top and bottom) attach a 12″ – 18″ length of ribbon with tacky glue to the bottom half of the egg near the opening. Allow to dry.

Your eggs are ready to use! Hide a treat inside (I shared some ideas over here last week), tie your bow, and hide the eggs. Note: If your ribbon (like mine below) was cut a little short it will still work. Simply tie a loose knot rather than a bow to close your egg.

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Rachel Wolf lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband and two unschooled children. She owns LüSa Organics, a mindful body care and children’s body care company. She also writes the blog Clean. Rachel spends her days living her bliss in a swirling cloud of living-, playing- mothering-, homeschooling-, writing-, crafting- and work-at-home-mama chaos.

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{ 2 comments }

Crystal@Green Mittens April 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

I love this craft idea! There really should be MORE paper mache in my life :)
I’m going to try this with my boys this week, thank you!

rhonda April 20, 2011 at 7:44 am

I was just about to put our one newsprint paper in the recycling bin. It will be perfect for making a few eggs. Thanks for the great tutorial!

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