Recently I got to make a simple paper mache boat for Mathias’s school project. Todd knows well how to work with paper mache, and we had a lovely time making a little sailboat with shredded kraft paper and flour glue.

It seems like I always have rolls of trace paper around. And a thought hit me – what would happen if I make a paper mache object with the translucent trace paper? To make something that glows subtly. A lampshade, something similar to a moon.

Paper mache shows simply the transformable nature of materials. There are these little pieces of paper, they can be from fancy paper or not-too-glamorous recycled paper – but it is the sheer number of articles that come together to create a whole where history still shows through. Oh, did I mention the magical hardness of the final product when you remember how delicate it was when wet?

shredded trace paper or tissue paper
LED string lights or LED tealights

Make flour glue by mixing water and flour, at a ratio of 1.5 part water and 1 part flour. The consistency should be somewhat watery pancake batter.

Spread the flour glue on the balloon with a brush. Start laying on the shredded papers, also overlaying little more glue on top of the papers as you go on (this sets the paper on the balloon more securely and also allows the overlap of papers to stick).

Go all the way around the balloon (except little space around the tied end of the balloon) with the repeating process of spreading glue and putting the shredded papers on.
Wait a few hours for this first layer to dry and then put on the second layer.

After the second layer is dry as well, pop the ballon. Take out the deflated balloon through the opening. Cut & clean up the opening by cutting with scissors in a circle shape – this will also help the lamp to sit more flat on a surface.

If you are using the led string light, wrap the string around the battery compartment to make it compact.

Put the paper mache lamp on top of the light!