Ever wondered what to do with those out-of-date newspapers?

3 October 1997

Ever wondered what to do with those out-of-date newspapers?

AS an avid reader of newspapers, it grieves me to throw them away every day – it seems such a waste. Our local authority has given up separate collections as there is no money in recycling paper, it finds, so what to do with them?

Gerry Copp offers some creative ideas in her book* for papier mâché furniture, masks, animals and hats, so I might have a go at the technique I last tried long ago in primary school. Then I failed to make anything remotely recognisable as useful or decorative so the ideas in this book are a welcome encouragement. However, it looks as if I shall have to rope in a few friends to help with the larger projects and widen my recycling to white paper, cardboard and chicken wire.

Other materials and tools required include modelling clay (for moulds), petroleum jelly (to prevent papier mâché from sticking to moulds), wallpaper paste, PVA glue, gum strip and a liquidiser. Now I am not sure that I would want to use my liquidiser for pulping white paper, or my sieve, mixing bowl and piping bags for turning it into a decorative "icing".

And the list goes on: Craft knife, jig saw, paints, varnishes, safety goggles and gloves… obviously there is more to papier mâché making than recycling the dailies.

However, if you are feeling crafty, it does look fun. You can create some really gruesome carnival heads, bird face masks, terrific fancy hats and other headgear such as a viking warriors helmet. Personally I fancy making the stripey cat, or his mates with pink spots or blue stars on their coats, or perhaps the camel and giraffe.

I think I will give the fully functional grandfather clock and the elaborate royal throne a miss but these would make splendid group projects and be a real boon to the school play props department. TG

*Great Papier Mâché by Gerry Copp, Search Press (£7.95). Credit card orders (0800 146860).

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