No fuss, no cook Paper Mache Paste for the holidays

We realise that the old fashioned (or traditional way) of making paper mache involves a stove and glue and all kinds of skills BUT we also know that Autistic children do not see danger and tend to stick things in their mouths.

So we are going to keep our no cook paper mache recipe simple and toxin free.  Sure the cooked version is “stronger” and most likely “smoother” but it also takes allot longer to make and the children will need to wait until the Mache glue has cooled down.

To make the Mache Glue you will need:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Bowl & whist
  • Salt


  1. Mix 1 part flour with 1 part water (quantities will depend on how big your art project is going to be)
  2. Stir until all the lumps are gone – you want the consistency to be smooth and glue like
  3. If the mixture is to thick you can add more water
  4. Store the glue (mixture) in a covered bowl or jar in the refrigerator for a few days
  5. By adding a few tablespoons of salt to the final mixture you can help prevent mold.

Paper Mache activities are great fun and the children can make a wide variety of projects.  A fun activity will be making Christmas Baubles for the tree.  The benefits of Mache art activities for the autistic child are huge – here are our top 3 benefits of introducing this activity over the holiday period:

  1. It is a great sensory integration activity and over the holidays is when our children need it most
  2. Anything creative is wonderful for imaginative play but his activity goes one step further because it can also teach patience, turn taking and even group play
  3. The fine motor development activities are huge and involve tearing paper, cutting, manipulating paint brushes etc.

Children of all ages can make a wide variety of wonderful art projects with paper Mache – from piñatas for the upcoming family gathering to a pencil holder for the new school year.


  • You must use strips of old newspapers or tissue paper only
  • The newspapers strips must soak in the paper mache glue for a fair amount of time
  • Start with your layers – but make sure that each layer dries property before adding the next one to the pile
  • When it comes time to add the final layer you can use play paper. Plain paper will be easier to paint once the entire project is dry.  Just make sure you use the thinnest paper possible because ordinary white typing paper will not work.  You must also make sure that the final layer is soaked well in the Mache glue before you use it.
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Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.