I have had an interest in trying my hand at paper mache ever since I saw some of the amazing things which can be achieved with this medium. I finally decided that the time had come to see what I could do with this art form. My library had a book of crafts(101 Crafts under $10) which showed how to make a small tray out of torn pieces of corrugated cardboard and decoupage glue, so I checked the book out and set to work. This is not really a hard project. Essentially, it is tearing the cardboard into small pieces and soaking the pieces in water for about three minutes to loosen the glue of the corrugation. The corrugated pieces are then blotted to absorb excess water and separated. After using petroleum jelly to coat the inside (or outside, if you prefer) of the container you wish to copy, you simply apply the glue to the damp cardboard pieces with a large paintbrush and press them onto the greased surface of the container, overlapping the pieces a little until you have covered the container with two layers of cardboard pieces. Then let it dry for about 24 hours. When the cardboard has dried and hardened, it can be unmolded and wiped clean of any extra petroleum jelly. Now additional layers of glue and cardboard can be added to the inside and outside of the project until a satisfactory strength is obtained. The project should be allowed to dry between layers and a final coating of the glue should be applied to help seal it. I made this tray using a 9×13 casserole dish as a mold and found it to be very sturdy! I used some leftover rope to line the top edge and create handles for my project, but these probably could have been made entirely out of the cardboard if I had wanted to take the time. This would be a good project for children’s groups that need a long project (something over the course of several days) that the children can work on in spurts. Adult groups who need something low-key might also find this fun as long as there are no major time constraints. Time is the biggest drawback to the project and it can be a little messy, but it is inexpensive and has the potential to produce some very useful objects. My tray sits between the bucket seats in my car and holds all the things that I don’t want sliding all over the floor!

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