As The World Turns (And The Wine Pours)

Miss C proudly holds her globe masterpiece!

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The 4th grader was recently assigned a major school project that will be a huge part of her grade so naturally we waited until the week before it was due to get started on it. Ahem. Stay tuned for possible follow-up posts entitled, Drinking Games For Non-Crafty Parents and The Day I Nearly Strangled A Mom Over The Last Green Paint Pen In The Craft Store.

The assignment was to construct a world globe featuring the continents, oceans, equator, prime meridian, and compass rose in a creative manner (i.e. no poster board.)

We decided to work with paper mache as our medium. Unfortunately the last time I worked with paper mache was in 10th grade for a Spanish pinata project. My bunny ended up looking more like a pink crepe paper alien amputee.

I found a recipe on Disney’s Family Fun website that claimed to be the “best” after our first attempt with the traditional flour and water recipe resulted in a sad, lumpy mess. The recipe we ended up using is the only one I found online that calls for sugar and it was smooth like buttah. It was so easy to work with, though, that we got a little overzealous with our glue “goop” and applied three layers of newspaper strips at once to our balloon which was WAY too much. I’d suggest applying two layers and then letting them dry for at least 24 hours before applying a third and fourth layer.

So, for all of you in need of a no-fail paper mache globe project, here is my gift to you. I take payment in margaritas and massage gift certificates.

Saved My Non-Crafty Butt Paper Mache Recipe (via

This is a smooth, light paste that’s easy to work with (hurrah!)

Combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 2 cups cold water in a bowl. Add this mixture to a saucepan of 2 cups boiling water and bring it to a boil again. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let it cool; it will thicken as it cools.

I found that covering our hands in this paste and then applying it to strips of torn newspaper worked best, rather than dipping the newspaper strips directly into the paste. We tend to get a little overzealous with the paste around here.

Materials needed for paper mache globe project

Punch ball balloon (I found ours at Toys R Us)


Blue acrylic craft paint for painting globe surface (I found ours on sale at our local Kroger for a buck)

Paint pens – we used a Sharpie water-based paint marker in a medium point and it worked very well for coloring in our penciled-in continent outlines. Note that I stalked a Michael’s employee to find the best no-fail paint pen in the store and she suggested this brand. I didn’t even know Sharpie made paint pens!

Continent print outs (My husband helped my daughter draw the continents on to the globe lightly in pencil but you could also simply print these out, color them in with colored pencil, and then glue them to  your globe.)

Ribbon or string for the equator (or simply draw it with a black Sharpie, like we did)

Elmer’s glue

Remember that paper mache takes at least 24 hours to dry. We lucked up and had sunny, dry and hot weather the week we tackled our project.

Step-by-step instructions for a paper mache globe:

  1. Blow up balloon. A punch ball round balloon works best.
  2. Cover your work area with newspaper or an old Dora beach towel (sorry Dora.)
  3. Mix up the paper mache mixture while kids tear off newspaper strips. The four straight edges of each newspaper page work best, I think. Strips need to be no bigger than about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long.
  4. Dip your hands into the flour “glue” mixture, wiping off excess, and then cover newspaper strips with a light touch. Too much glue mixture will result in soggy newspaper that tears as you apply it.
  5. Cover the entire balloon with two layers of the gluey newspaper strips. Set aside to dry for at least 24 hours. We set our globe on wooden laundry drying rack outside.
  6. Repeat glue recipe and covering the balloon with newspaper layers.
  7. Once your globe is completely dry, paint with blue acrylic craft paint. Two to three coats should do it; let dry for a couple of hours between coats. Let dry for another 24 hours, minimum, before moving on to the continents.
  8. Print continents onto colored copy paper. Use a different color for each continent and glue into place. Or lightly outline the continents on to your globe with pencil and “paint” with your paint marker.
  9. Glue equator into place using ribbon or yarn or trace with a pencil using a measuring tape and color in with black permanent marker.
  10. Type names of continents, oceans, etc. in Word and then print, cut out and glue onto your globe surface for labels.

Have you ever worked with paper mache? It’s kind of fun, actually. 


  1. Ernestine says:

    Oh my – mom and grandma is so impressed.
    It is beautiful
    and I cannot image anyone else will have one
    that looks this great 🙂
    Thank you and girls for spending Saturday
    in the woods with mom on her birthday…

  2. Kaye says:

    I am sure Mrs. Reedy gave you an A on your bunny as well. She was never very critical of our projects. I loved the food projects the best!

  3. Amy says:

    I can’t stop laughing!! I remember the bunny and my UGLY snowman!!! That was painful! 🙂 HAHAHAHAHAHA~!

  4. Blonde Mom says:

    Thanks Brigid!

    Amy and Kaye, I totally forgot about the food projects AND your ugly snowman Amy! 😉

    Paper mache globes are not too bad…just don’t ask me to make any creatures any time soon. Not so good with those. I have post traumatic paper mache syndrome.

  5. Kayla says:

    Does the paper mache glue keep or do you have to make a new recipe both days. I am doing this with my class.

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