The first thing to know about papier-mâché: It's messy but in a fun, squish between-your-fingers way. And the cleanup isn't hard. Wear an apron and cover your work surface with plastic, then let yourself go. Our modern paper sculpture projects, like this pendant light, start with our paste recipe. You'll likely find all the ingredients on your pantry shelf. To create this cylinder, cut flexible cardboard (our choice—a cereal box) and seal the seam with masking tape. Finish with a couple of coats of chalk paint and copper leafing.
How to Make a Papier-Mâché Pendant
Thin cardboard cereal box
Hot glue gun and hot-glue
Pendant socket and cord set
Copper leaf dresses up the inside of these pendant shades. Use a LED bulb for safety.
Step 1: Make the Papier-Mâché Paste
Heat 2 cups of water and 1 Tbsp. salt in a saucepan on medium. In a bowl whisk ½ cup flour with ½ a cup of cold water until lump-free; add to the pan. Gently boil, stirring for 2–3 minutes, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Allow to cool before using.
Step 2: Form Shape
Lay down a plastic table cover to protect your workspace. Tear newspaper into 1-inch wide strips and then tear into short pieces. Flatten thin cardboard box and cut apart at seams. Add hot glue to one edge of the cardboard. Measure and mark ½-inch along one of the long sides. Hot glue two ½-inch strips from small side pieces below the marked line. Form cylinder by overlapping on open short sides and secure with hot glue. Tape along both seams.
Step 3: Add Lighting Components
Cut bamboo skewers into four 3-inch pieces. Cut out two 3 ½-inch cardboard circles. Trace pendant fixture in the center of each circle and cut hole slightly larger using crafts knife. Ensure the pendant fits loosely before proceeding. Evenly place skewer pieces between both cardboard circles. Hot glue to secure and let dry. Place skewers onto the inner cereal box ledge and hot glue to secure. Secure with masking tape.
Step 4: Papier-Mâché the Shape
Lay down a plastic table cover to protect your workspace. Tear newspaper into 1-inch wide strips and then tear into short pieces. Coat strips of newspaper, removing excess paste by sliding strips between fingers. Lay vertically until the pendant is covered inside and out. Place a blown-up balloon in the cylinder to maintain its shape and set it in a bowl while working. Place a layer horizontally and let dry. Repeat layering and drying steps until the structure is rigid. Cover skewers and center circle with smaller strips of the newspaper; let dry overnight.
Step 5: Paint
Add white primer to the outside and inside of the pendant and let dry. Paint using two coats of chalk-finish paint and let dry. Apply leafing adhesive to the inside of the shade and apply copper leafing using a sponge brush. Once completely dry, add the pendant fixture and hang.