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Toilet Paper Mache Tips

Using toilet paper instead of newspaper when you mache gives you an entirely different textured effect. While it's my least favourite medium to actually work with, it gives the most interesting results. For example, I used toilet paper for my plant projects. I wanted a lot of fine texture for the foliage.

It can completely disintegrate into a pulpy mush so easily with too much glue or too much fussing. Don't be discouraged. After a bit of trial and error, you get a feel for it. Here's some tips to help you out.

Tip 1: A Small Amount of Glue

No matter what application technique you use (see the next tip), you will only need the tiniest bit of glue/water mix (or whatever paste you are using). The glue will soak through the entire piece of toilet paper even with the most minuscule amount.

Tip 2: Find the Best Application Technique for You

Let's say you are working with a square of toilet paper. For larger details like the big leaves, I might dip an edge in the glue so that it touches the surface. I then fold the piece in half (dry to wet) or twist it a couple of times before applying. The glue will seep through the whole thing. And remember, it doesn't need to be completely soaked to stick.

You could try putting the piece of toilet paper on the prop, and then use your finger to apply the glue on top of it.

Some people like to use a paint brush. Using a brush (one that you aren't very attached to), you can put the glue on the actual prop and then put the toilet paper over top, smoothing it down with your fingers. Or you can put the toilet paper on a dry prop, and brush the glue over top. Personally, I make a huge mess this way and avoid using a brush with toilet paper.

A user on one of the forums I visit suggested using a mixture of water with the tiniest bit of glue in a spray bottle and actually spray the toilet paper/prop with it.

Tip 3: Move Quickly

Don't handle it for very long. It will literally dissolve in your fingers. Know where the piece is going before you dip, and don't fuss with it for more than 10 seconds. Get it in place and leave it alone.

Tip 4: Experiment

Make peaks with it, tear it, layer it, roll it...just be sure to give it plenty of drying time.

See what happens with less glue, more glue, or a watery glue mix vs a thicker one.

It might look like a dog's breakfast unpainted, but you'd be surprised how it turns out once paint is added.

With new projects/techniques, what I sometimes do is let it dry and paint just a small section to see the result. The good thing about mache is that (generally speaking) you can always add to it.

Don't be afraid to try it out. The results can be very gratifying.