Paper mache isn't just for kids' crafts anymore. It has evolved from being the foundation of many a science fair volcano into a tried-and-true art medium. In the right hands, paper mache can become theatre prop structures, cover furniture and even give your walls and ceiling new life. If you're tired of your old wall treatments, paper mache offers an original decorating medium. It gives your walls texture and color, making them look like vintage stucco or even Italian plaster.
Add about 3 lbs. of wallpaper paste powder to a large plastic bucket. Mix in water according to the package directions; each brand of wallpaper paste requires slightly different powder-to-water ratios, so mix carefully. The results should yield a thin, milky liquid.
Pour a cup of powdered pigment into the bucket, stirring it in carefully with your stirring stick. This gives the paste a very light shade of color. Add more pigment, if desired, about 1/4 cup at a time, until you get the right color.
Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from the paste. While not terribly caustic, the paste is uncomfortable if it dries on your hands. The mold retardants in the paste are also toxic if you get them in your mouth or eyes.
Dip long, white paper strips into the paste, one at a time. Gently squeeze off the extra paste with your fingers and smooth the strip onto the wall. Overlap the edges of the strips to give the wall full coverage and create an interesting texture.
Push the paper into the edges of the wall and ceiling with the edge of a piece of cardboard. The cardboard must be very stiff to hold up to the task.
Allow the paper mache to dry for at least 24 hours. Run a utility knife along the baseboard and crown moldings, giving the walls and ceiling a smooth edge.