Paper-Mache Buildings

This project came from a need for inexpensive “New York” table decorations for my school’s silent auction.
1. Prep the matte board by cutting the rectangles and squares with a large paper cutter ahead of class time. Each student will start with a set of 4 rectangle sides, and one square top.
2. Show the students how to tape the building sides and top together. Have them paper-mache with newspaper all around the outside, taking care to wrap the edges to keep the building smooth. The buildings then need to dry.
3. Follow up the newspaper layer with a layer of torn blank newsprint to cover up the letters. Dry again.
4. Using acrylic paint, cover the background in one color. After that is dry, have the students paint lots of randon squares to imitate rooms with lights on. Finally, give them fat permanent markers to trace around the windows.
5. Apply a layer of glossy Mod Podge to all to give it a nice shine.

My favorite paper-mache recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 cups cold water
8 cups boiling water
3/4 cup sugar
Mix the flour and cold water in a bowl. Add it to your saucepan of boiling water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let cool; it will thicken as it cools. This recipe makes about a gallon of mache.
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