“Making Paper Mache From Leftover Citrus Peels”

“Making Paper Mache From Leftover Citrus Peels”

Making Paper Mache From Leftover Citrus Peels

Making paper mache from leftover citrus peels is an easy, fun craft that reuses something that would normally be thrown away. With just a few simple materials, you can turn citrus peels into decorative objects, bowls, masks, and more.

Gathering Materials

To make paper mache from citrus peels, you will need:

  • Leftover citrus peels – Make sure to thoroughly dry the peels before using them. You can let them air dry for a few days or use a dehydrator.

  • Flour – All purpose flour works best. You’ll mix it with water to make the paper mache paste.

  • Water – You’ll mix the flour and water to create the paste that sticks the peels together.

  • A workspace – Cover your workspace with newspaper or a disposable tablecloth to keep the mess contained.

  • Container – You’ll need something to mix the paste in. A bowl or plastic container works well.

  • Shaping materials – Chicken wire, balloons, plastic containers, etc can be used to shape your paper mache as it dries.

  • Paint and decorative materials (optional) – Acrylic craft paint, glitter, beads, etc can be used to decorate your finished paper mache creations.

Making the Paper Mache Paste

The paste acts as the “glue” to hold your paper mache project together. Here’s how to make it:

  • Add 1 part flour to 2 parts water in your container. The amount needed will depend on the size of your project.

  • Whisk thoroughly to break up any lumps in the flour. The mixture should be the consistency of thick glue.

  • Add more flour or water as needed to achieve the right texture. Too thin and it won’t hold; too thick and it will be hard to spread.

  • Heat the paste to help the flour dissolve if needed. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each.

  • Let it cool before using. Store any extra paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Creating Your Paper Mache Structure

There are a few different ways to shape your paper mache:

Using a Balloon

  • Blow up a balloon to the desired size and tie it off.
  • Dip strips of citrus peel in the paste and apply them to the balloon, smoothing out any wrinkles or air bubbles.
  • Do several layers, allowing each layer time to dry before adding the next.
  • Once dried, pop the balloon and you’ll have a paper mache sphere!

With Chicken Wire

  • Bend chicken wire into the desired shape.
  • Cover with paste-dipped peel strips, letting each layer dry before adding the next.
  • The chicken wire will act as support so you can make free-standing structures.

Using a Disposable Container

  • You can reuse items like plastic bowls, cups, and food containers as a mold.
  • Press peel strips coated in paste over the outside to take on the shape.
  • When dry, peel the paper mache off the plastic container.

Applying the Citrus Peel Pieces

  • Tear or cut the citrus peels into pieces 1-2 inches in size. Thicker, more sturdy peels work best.

  • Dip the peels into the prepared paste, covering thoroughly. Shake off any excess.

  • Smooth the peel strips over your shaped base, slightly overlapping the edges. Cover the entire surface, building up layers as needed.

  • Press gently to remove any air pockets. The peels will dry into a smooth, seamless surface.

  • Let dry completely before adding additional layers – usually at least 8-12 hours. Drying time will vary based on humidity, temperature, and air circulation.

Finishing Your Creation

Once your paper mache has dried thoroughly, your last step is decorating! Here are some ideas:

  • Paint it with acrylic craft paint and add details with markers, glitter, etc.

  • For bowls, vases, and containers, leave natural and waterproof by lining with polyurethane or sealant if needed.

  • Add embellishments like beads, buttons, silk flowers, polymer clay shapes, sea glass, etc.

  • For masks or costume pieces, add elastic cord, ribbon, or fabric to make them wearable.

With some simple supplies and leftover citrus peels destined for the trash, you can make amazing paper mache art, home decor pieces, and more! This craft is an eco-friendly way to reduce waste while keeping your creative skills sharp.