Paper Mache With PVA Glue - Benefits and Types of Glue

13 Feb.,2023


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Making paper mache with PVA glue is a little unconventional since the traditional adhesive used is flour-based. However, the glue has a lot of benefits that you need to take advantage of, especially if you’re a beginner or working with a child. Whether you’re learning paper mache as a hobby, a teacher, or for your child, this guide has the essential information that you need.

Paper Mache with PVA Glue

Paper Mache With PVA Glue - The 5 Benefits Over Flour

Paper mache is one of the most basic, affordable, and fun crafting techniques you and your child or students can learn. That is mainly because it requires simple materials such as adhesive and paper. You can even use old paper, so you’re also doing the earth a favor by recycling.

Regarding the adhesive, some experts recommend PVA glue over flour for a good reason. Some of them are as follows:

1. Great Adhesiveness Strength

Specifically designed to make materials adhere to each other, glue undoubtedly creates a stronger bond than when you use flour. It can bond wood, clothing, and other porous materials, so you expect it to hold pieces of the paper better and longer than when you use flour.

2. Safe, Especially for Children

One of the worries of parents and teachers have when teaching how to make paper mache with children is they may unknowingly put their fingers in their mouths. Flour and PVA glue (double-check the label) are both safe as long as not ingested in a high amount.

Of course, you always need to take precautions when working with children. That said, PVA is gluten-free, while flour isn’t, so a gluten-sensitive kid might end up with an upset stomach when they accidentally lick even a tiny drop of flour paste. Although there are gluten-free flour options, they rot more quickly than regular flour. Therefore, paper mache with PVA glue is a safer and more convenient option.

Just keep in mind that not all PVA glue is toxic-free, as some manufacturers add components that make them unsafe for children. Always check the label before letting children use the glue.

3. Dries Evenly, Clearly, and Quickly

One of the best things about making paper mache with PVA glue is how presentable the outcome will be. That’s all thanks to the fact that the dried glue appears clear. Likewise, it dries evenly, ensuring there won’t be loose ends.

These two features will also allow you to paint, design, and decorate your project with ease. Additionally, PVA glue can dry quickly, both in cool and humid environments.

Definitely, its quick-drying feature isn’t always an advantage. If the glue dries quickly, you need to work quickly. Else, the glue would dry before you even attach the parts you need to put together. That’s why you need to choose PVA glue that doesn’t dry too quickly and too slowly.

On the other hand, a flour-based adhesive dries with a thick, white consistency and sometimes develops yellow coloring on the paper. That said, this isn’t the case when you use cooked flour.

4. Smooth Texture

If you cook or bake, you’re most likely aware that flour tends to clump when mixed with water or any liquid, for that matter. On the contrary, PVA glue has been crafted to have a smooth texture. But then again, if you heat up or cook the flour, it will also have a smooth texture.

5. Rot- and Mold-Free

Flour is a food ingredient, so expect that it will attract molds and other organisms that can make both the adhesive and the project rot and smell. Your paper mache with PVA glue project, on the other hand, will last longer than the one made of flour-based adhesive.

Paper Mache With PVA Glue - The Steps on How to Prepare One

Most glue that you’ll use for your paper mache project requires dilution with water. The good thing is that the procedure isn’t complicated; it only involves three simple steps.

Thus, you can prepare it on the day itself. That said, the resulting product also remains stable for an extended period, so you can make a large batch and store the rest for your next paper mache with PVA glue projects.

What You’ll Need

  • Glue
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Craft Stick
  • Measuring Cup

What You Need To Do

  1. Measure one cup of glue and place it in a clean bowl.
  2. Measure ¾ cups of water and put it in the bowl with the glue.
  3. Using the craft stick, mix the two until they produce an even solution.

Of course, you can always adjust the glue mixture’s consistency. Add more glue if you want it to be thicker. A 1:1 ratio would be perfect.

On the other hand, add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Ideally, add two tablespoons to the original ¾ cups.

Paper Mache With PVA Glue - The Type of Glue to Consider

You’ll find plenty of glue types in the market, and not all of them are perfect for your paper mache with PVA glue craftwork. Your top options, from best to worst, are as follows:

1. Normal or Regular Wood Glue

The wood glue is the strongest you can use for your paper mache with PVA glue projects. It also absorbs paint better than the other glue types, allowing you to decorate and design your craft without too much hassle.

What’s more, wood glue is non-toxic. Most brands won’t also require water dilution. Additionally, cleaning up requires only water and soap.

The primary issue with regular wood glue is that it isn’t as flexible once it’s already dry. Another problem is you might purchase the wrong type of wood glue since there are many types available.

Some people think that wood and carpenter’s glue are the same, but that isn’t 100% true. Type 1 yellow glue is the same as regular wood glue, but type II and III aren’t. It’s best not to go for the last two since they’re water-resistant and waterproof, respectively.

Therefore, when it’s labeled carpenter’s or yellow glue, ensure you check what type it is. Better yet, always pick a regular or normal wood glue, such as Elmer’s Wood Glue, for your paper mache with PVA glue projects.

2. Mod Podge

Mod podge is a good alternative because it’s also toxic-free and easy to clean. Similar to wood glue, you might not need to dilute it with water.

The difference is that it is more flexible or versatile than wood glue. You can also use this water-based adhesive to give your paper mache with PVA glue projects a good finish. That’s because you can find several varieties, including glossy, glitter, and matte.

The problem with mod podge is that it dries quicker than wood glue, so you need to work twice as fast. That, of course, isn’t great if you’re working with children or want to take time to perfect your paper mache with PVA glue craft. Likewise, you might need more water when the brand you bought requires dilution.

3. White or School Glue

This type of glue is an affordable option, so it’s perfect for those developing their paper mache skills. You can practice as much as you want without the fear of wasting too much money on materials.

Aptly named, this is the glue that children use in school and office workers use in the office. It’s also toxic-free, and you can wash it off with water only, unlike the last two glue types we discussed.

You’ll find many white glue brands and varieties, differing in dry time, components, and thickness or consistency. That said, your best choice for your paper mache with PVA glue arts is the Elmer’s Washable, No-Run School Glue. It has a good balance of bond strength, consistency, dry time, and versatility. The problems you’ll encounter with this glue are it isn’t sandable and tends to soften once exposed to water.

4. Wallpaper Paste

The last adhesive that you can opt for is wallpaper paste. However, keep in mind that you need to stay away from it if you work with children because it has toxic components.

Another problem is that it requires more effort and time to achieve the right paper mache glue consistency because of its thickness. You would need to experiment on the water-glue ratio. You also need to add a pinch of salt to the mixture to prevent spoilage.

Nonetheless, wallpaper paste is a cost-effective option, especially if you love craftwork other than paper mache with PVA glue. It’s also reasonably priced since you can purchase in bulk or gallons.

Paper Mache With PVA Glue - In Conclusion

You can create several beautiful items with your paper mache skills, and this can be a good hobby for adults and children alike. Hence, it’s also one of the best ways to bond with your child or keep your students busy while ensuring you’re both productive and teaching them skills the fun way.

Paper mache with PVA glue is an excellent alternative to using flour because the glue is smoother, safer, and lasts longer. It also has better bond strength and drying time. You can also use glue for your other projects, saving you money and storage space. It will also allow you to hone other art skills. Just make sure that you choose the right type of glue for your crafting projects, especially for your paper mache with PVA glue arts craft.

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