Can You Spray Paint Paper Mache?

Image of paper mache. So, Can You Spray Paint Paper Mache?Paper mache is a method where you layer and bind paper pieces together. Mostly, an adhesive works best and delivers a hardened paper shell. In addition, you can create paper mache into multiple forms as the material is fun and easy to use. But, Can You Spray Paint Paper Mache in an attempt to get more creative results?

Yes! It is okay to use spray paint paper mache. However, spray paint can come out wet and cause the paper to warp or wrinkle later. Thus, please ensure that you prepare the surface adequately by priming. Also, you can smooth the surface in case of uneven surfaces and wrinkles. This way, you are sure of a durable and perfect finish.

There’s so much to say concerning spray painting paper mache. So, please read through this article to the end for more.

How Do You Seal Paper Mache Before Painting?

From my expert experience, I recommend sealing paint jobs regardless of the surface or paint. The exercise protects the finish from chipping or dulling over time. Also, it helps to lock the color shades and boost the project’s longevity.

On top of that, please ensure that you adopt the correct procedure. It helps you deliver a great finish. So, begin by cleaning the surface. This way, you get rid of debris and dust that may hinder adhesion. Then, get a dry cloth or towel and wipe off the surface.

The next step is to apply the sealer. You are free to select your preferred application technique. For instance, grab a paintbrush to apply thin layers on the paper mache. Also, remember that thin coats are much better than a thick layer. They deliver a more uniform and consistent finish.

Alternatively, you can consider a spray sealer. Aim the nozzle at the surface and spray no closer than 12 inches. But this technique works if you want to have thin layers using short bursts. Thus, it will be prudent to determine the desired finish before proceeding.

Lastly, give the sealer about 48 hours to dry. It might feel dry to your fingers in four hours. But please resist the urge to use the surface. Also, check for any missed spots once the finish cures. Then, apply another coat if needed.

Can You Spray Paint Paper Mache Letters?

Yes. It is possible to spray paint mache letters. More so, it is a pretty simple venture as long as you have the correct supplies and your creativity. Also, check out the summary below to complete the job.

  • First, ensure that you have spray paint and the letters for your preferred word. Then, lay the letters in a newspaper to avoid spilling paint on other areas.
  • Next, go all out with the spray paint on the letters. You can also lightly spray them. But either way, ensure that you cover all the nooks and crannies. In addition, assess the finish for running paint and ensure the letters look smooth.
  • Lastly, let the letters cure for a few hours. Then, repeat the process until you get your desired color shade.

How Long Does it Take Spray Paint to Dry on Paper Mache?

The waiting time depends on various factors. They include the temperatures and humidity levels, the thickness of the layers, and the type of paint formula. But in a normal setting, the paint feels dry after approximately 30 to 60 minutes.

However, the paint may not be completely dry. Hence, it would be best to wait at least six hours between coats. You can even allocate a full day if you have time. This way, you ensure that the coat is ready for additional layers.

On top of that, it is important to allocate more drying time for more spray paint coats. The coats may dry and set at different speeds if you apply additional layers too quickly. Hence, deliver an ugly and cracked pattern.

How Do You Spray Paint Paper Mache Boxes?

Painting paper mache boxes is a versatile craft. Thus, it would help to work with some tips. So, first, please get paper mache boxes, foam brushes, wax paper, multi-surface acrylic craft paints, seam binding, and recycled lids.

The recycled lids help you hold the paint in, and you can recycle them in future projects. It would also help to have foam brushes. They aid in avoiding paint lines during painting. In addition, you do not need to press the brushes hard to get coverage.

Once you have everything, get a tissue and wipe the outsides and insides of the boxes. Do it gently and remove all the dust and dirt in the boxes. Then, use the foam brush to apply thin and light coats on the bottom of a box.

Next, hold the box by its side as the bottom dries. Paint thin, light layers around the outside. Also, leave a tiny spot unpainted to avoid having your fingers as a distraction. Hold the box from the inside to cover the spot once you paint other areas.

Repeat the above process until you like what you see. You can also consider wiping any remaining color before proceeding to the next box or new color. This way, you do not have to rinse out or change the foam brush.

How Many Layers Should You Put on Paper Mache?

The number of layers to have on paper mache depends on your desired finish. Also, how you intend to use them will dictate the needed layers. Therefore, you can determine a suitable number of layers after checking out the project needs.

Even so, you can have three or four layers for a simple project. But, ensure to add more layers for projects that you use regularly. For example, a keys or glasses holder requires more layers to reinforce it and enhance its durability.

Do You Need to Seal Paper Mache?

Although it is not mandatory to seal paper mache, it would help to do so. The process protects the surface from the sun and other harmful influences. It also keeps the colors intact and vibrant.

Besides that, you have two sealing alternatives. You can work with varnish or mod podge. Both styles have their benefits and challenges and are suitable for various projects. Thus, identify your project and desired finish, then get to work.

You can work with Gesso if you want to as long as the paper mache does not have nasty bubbles or gaps. Also, ensure that you inspect the surface for uneven parts. This exercise will help you know if you need another layer of paper mache.

In addition, although Gesso does not deliver a smooth surface, it helps fill gaps on the surface. It also dries hard and gives the surface a little texture.

What Paint Do You Use on Paper Mache?

Acrylic paint is the best option for paper mache creatives. It dries quickly, and you can find it in any art or craft store. Also, the formula is easy to use. But you have to sand and prime the surface to get a desirable outcome.

Besides that, we also have tempera paints which are a popular alternative too. However, let’s get a detailed account of the two products to help make an informed choice.

Both acrylics and tempera are generally non-toxic. However, conservatives point that it would be best to work in a well-ventilated space to be safe. Also, ingesting the paints could cause irritation and other health hazards. Thus, please take precautions when working with the products.

In addition, confirm that the formula meets proper safety standards, especially if you’re working with your kids.

Acrylics are a famous formula among DIYers as they are widely available. They are also cheap and thus support simple home applications. 

On the other hand, tempera paint is a more quality solution comprising egg yolks. Therefore, they are more pricey and similar to poster paint.

Paper mache projects do not need lots of expensive hues. Therefore, acrylics carry the day as you can get as creative as you want. The formula blends well with water and other primary colors of the same brand.

Did I mention that acrylic products are waterproof? Although this element requires you to wash the paintbrush more carefully, the formula preserves the paper from water damage.

The upside of tempera is that you need fewer paint coats to get the desired finish. Therefore, there are fewer instances of wrapping or oversaturation. Also, the formula has a texture that delivers more stunning effects on paper mache.

On top of that, the product dries faster than most acrylic formulas. Hence, you complete your work much faster. But there is a caveat. It would be best to consider your painting experience before making the purchase. Otherwise, you may end up wasting expensive paint and thus,m losing money.

How Do You Keep Paint From Cracking in Paper Mache?

You can keep paint from cracking in paper mache by sealing the surface. You can use varnish or acrylic sealer for better results. Also, varnish cures into a clear, hard coat and thus offers superior surface protection.

Additionally, ensure that you prepare the surface well before applying the paint coat. Hence, take some time to clean, sand, and prime the object. This way, you are sure of a consistent and even finish.

On top of that, assess the surface for cracked spots. Then, fill them up during preparation with a suitable paste or product. Also, allow the paint to cure before adding another layer. It helps eliminate any trapped moisture that may cause peeling later.

How Do You Finish Paper Mache?

Paper mache is an excellent material to use. However, it can give you a hard time before delivering a perfect finish. Thus, it would be best to tear the paper instead of cutting it. This way, you get ripped edges that adhere better to the formula. Also, the edges will not create gaps like cut paper.

The other strategy involves using the correct paper like newspaper or any other suitable absorbent paper. In addition, please avoid coated or magazine paper. It can bubble up or wrinkle after drying because the coating prevents water-based glue from adhering properly.

In addition, soak the paper well with the glue mixture before application. The exercise ensures that all the paper stripes adhere to the project well. You can also insist on getting enough paster on the paper. It helps to keep the paper flat on the surface.

Lastly, it would help to sand the surface with very fine sandpaper. Also, an epoxy mixture, wood filler, or Bondo would help to fill in gaps or uneven surface areas.

Can I Use Chalk Paint on Paper Mache?

Yes. You can use chalk paint on paper mache. It is affordable and easy to use. Thus, you get a perfect solution for your home-based projects. Chalk paint also delivers a lovely waxy finish and saves the day if you do not have varnish.

How Do You Make Paper Mache Shiny?

The secret to shiny paper mache is applying glossy varnish, shellac, or lacquer layers on the surface. Also, it would help to use a paintbrush and then, allowing the paint job to dry between coats.

In addition, you need the following supplies to deliver the perfect finish: A dry paper-mache project, paintbrushes, sponge brush, Gesso, paintbrushes, sealer, paint, lacquer, varnish, or shellac, fine sandpaper, and a paper mask.

Then, check out the steps below.

  • Assess the papier mache to ensure it dries thoroughly.
  • Smooth the surface using fine sandpaper.
  • Shake the Gesso before opening the package. Then, apply one layer with the sponge paintbrush.
  • Let the Gesso cure and sand the surface smooth with fine sandpaper. Also, please wear a mask to avoid inhaling the dust.
  • Paint the project and let it cure.
  • Add lacquer, varnish, or shellac layers with the paintbrush.

NB: Please remember to use sealers made with flour and water paster. They help to prevent mold growth. Also, choose a well-ventilated area for the paint job and avoid open flames as lacquer, paint, varnish, and shellac.

Do You Have to Let Paper Mache Dry Between Layers?

Yes. It is important to let paper mache dry between layers. However, you do not have to insist on every individual layer drying before adding others. It is enough if you let the surface dry after every third or fourth coat.

In addition, it will help to allow the layers to dry thoroughly, especially if you have too many layers. Hence, you will notice deformities and imperfections before you’ve gone too far. Also, subsequent layers may deform existing coats or the paper mache base form. Therefore, it would be best to confirm that you are layering a dry surface.

On top of that, the layers have enough time to harden. Hence, you will deliver an excellent base for other layers. You will also be creating a perfect base for other coats and thus a stronger project.

It is recommended to allow paper mache to dry between coats. More specifically, consider working with every third as it facilitates speeded drying. Sound weird? Well, the project dries faster and better compared to having 20 layers and leaving them to dry. Also, you’ll be sure that the surface dries to the core.

Finally, please allow the paper mache to dry between layers to help remove indents and bubbles. Different layers cure at different speeds and also at varying times. So, many layers will be pulling and pushing each other, resulting in more imperfections.

Can You Use Watercolor Paint on Paper Mache?

You can use watercolor paint on paper mache. However, it would help to get the correct supplies and procedure. For instance, first, seal up the surface with Gesso. This way, you’ll fill up any gaps and holes on paper mache. Thus, you increase the chances of a successful product.

Additionally, please consider working with light coats and let them dry in between layers. This move will ensure that you have a perfect surface for the paint. It also guarantees that the watercolor will not bubble up or warp.

Can I Use a Hair Dryer to Dry Paper Mache?

It is okay to use a hairdryer to dry paper mache, whether after priming, sealing, or painting. This exercise helps you to boost the time it takes to dry. Also, please set the appliance to a low temperature, around 175 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, the best option is always to air dry the surface. Place the project under the sun or in front of a fan. In addition, consider getting a dehumidifier or head to an air-conditioned area if the weather is humid.

Another alternative is using the oven. Set it to a low temperature and place the paper mache on a cookie tray. Then, check it after every thirty minutes until it cures. But there is a caveat. This option is ideal when you do not use a balloon as the base.

How Do You Seal Acrylic Paint on Paper Mache?

Sealing acrylic paint on paper mache helps you to preserve the project’s original shade. You will enjoy the finish for a longer period as the formula prevents chipping and dulling. In addition, the painting process is quite simple.

For instance, the package comes in liquid or spray form. Therefore, you are good to go with a paintbrush or a spray can. However, it would be best to work with a spray as it helps to avoid brush marks.

Follow these simple guidelines for a better finish.

  • Clean the Surface. Eliminate dirt and debris from the surface before applying the sealer. Then, lightly wipe off the finish with a rag.
  • Apply Your Preferred Sealer. Cover the surrounding area if you are using a spray sealer. Also, aim the nozzle to the paper mache, but ensure it is no closer than 12 inches. Alternatively, you can use a paintbrush for a traditional sealer. However, it would be best to have thin layers instead of thick ones. Also, ensure that the coats dry before additional ones.
  • Allow the Project to Dry. Allow the finish 48 hours curing time. Then, check for missed spots and add another coat if necessary. Also, the surface may feel dry in four hours. But please refrain from using the surface till the recommended duration lapses.

Can You Modge Podge Paper Mache?

Absolutely yes! You can modge podge paper mache. It delivers a matte finish for your work. The product also is easy to work with and dries to deliver a transparent finish. On top of that, you can get modge podge in different kinds. Thus, you are most likely to get a suitable pick for your project.

Additionally, modge podge is cheaper than varnish. Hence, it accommodates your simple DIY projects. Also, it would be best to use a spray to avoid getting brush marks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions that the readers ask regarding the subject. Read on for more:

  • Is It Better to Use Flour or Glue for Paper Mache?

Glue is usually a better alternative than flour. It creates better adhesion and thus holds the product for a longer period. In addition, glue-based paper mache is unlikely to rot or mold. Hence, you can use it indoors without anticipating any safety hazards.

The glue also dries clear and offers a perfect base for painting the paper mache later. On top of that, we have white glue with non-toxic attributes. Therefore, you can use it with kids for home applications.

Also, it is advisable to use wood glue with a normal drying time and water-resistance attributes. Otherwise, you’ll have a formula with additives that cannot blend well with water.

Besides that, these additives make the glue toxic and thus not safe for indoor use.

  • Do I Need to Prime Paper Mache Before Painting?

Yes. It would help to prime paper mache before painting. In addition, please avoid using varnish for the priming process. Instead, go for Gesso or a primer suitable for your paint type.

Also, consider working with paint that is compatible with paper mache and acrylic paints.

  • How Do I Protect Paper Mache?

You can use waterproof colors to protect paper mache. They offer protection from water damage and make your creation more unique. In addition, you can get some waterproof glue. Paper mache comprises a pliable paste applied to a box or ballon. Therefore you can use various materials to stick materials together.

However, water and flour are not perfect for DIY projects. They provide a weak bond, and the statue will soon collapse. So, it would be best to work with waterproof glue as it holds the paper together for a long duration.

On top of that, the glue makes the project more resistant to harsh environmental elements. You can also leave it outdoors without worrying about mold damage. 

Lastly, a waterproof sealant will save the day. It adds more protection to the paper mache. Also, the transparent layer makes the project more resistant to moisture damage. However, it will help to apply a new coat of sealant annually, especially if the paper mache stays outdoors.

  • Why Is My Paper Mache Not Hard?

Generally, paper mache dries to deliver a hard surface. More so, the surface hardens even more once you add paint or sealant. However, there are instances where the product is not hard.

For example, the surface will still be soft if there is trapped water within the layers. This situation occurs even if the paper mache feels dry to the touch. But fortunately, you can easily handle the situation by allowing the project to dry for a few more days.

  • Why Is My Paper Mache Cracking?

Paper mache cracks when the balloon expands while the paper mache is curing. For instance, an increase of a few degrees can cause enough expansion for the balloon to split the paper mache,

The remedy is to add another coat over the split, and you restore your perfect product.

  • How Do I Make Paper Mache Last For a Longer Duration?

Elements such as excess moisture, mold, and mildew are a threat to paper mache. Therefore, you can boost the product’s life span by preserving it from them. In addition, the preservation strategies are pretty easy and affordable.

For example, please keep paper mache away from excessive moisture. Also, you can seal or paint the surface for maximum protection.

In addition, it would help to use the fewest layers of paste and paper or the thinnest paper mache clay layer.


Paper mache projects are fun and so easy for both professionals and DIYers. In addition, multiple acrylic formulas help you deliver sophisticated results. However, spray painting paper mache requires a few added steps. So, join the discussion on:

Can You Spray Paint Paper Mache

It is okay to spray paint paper mache. The process delivers a more even coat without drips or the risk of going overboard. In addition, you can avoid applying the formula too thick by moving your hand moving during painting.

On top of that, you can consider moving your hand in tiny loops if you have a large surface. Also, ensure that you hold the spray paint a safe distance from the surface. Say, three to six inches. Remember that the closer you place the nozzle to the surface, the faster you need to work to prevent drips.