By Melanie Tamnjong, UNAFAS CVP, Cameroon

By Melanie Tamnjong, UNAFAS CVP, Cameroon

Paper mash – Making teaching aids with material that costsnothing while teaching waste management and recycling

by Melanie Tamnjong, UNAFAS CVP, Cameroon

Items needed

1. Used papers of the same quality eg typing sheets or newspapers or papers fromexercise books

2. A bowl

3. Clean water

4. A pair of scissors

5. Used/new cotton bolls

6. Pieces of chalk (remains from used chalk)

7. A flat surface e.g a tray

8. Mortar and pistle

9. Grinding stone

10. Small tins/corks


a)Tear or cut papers into small pieces (e.g 4cm sq)

b)Put papers into a bowl and pour in clean water tocover papers like you do with soaked clothes

c)Allow papers in water for at least 10 hours

d)Remove papers from water

e)Rub papers between hands likewashing clothes, to mash them,or pound papers in mortar

f)Cover a tray with dry paper

g)Spread mash on tray to produceany object you want and have adesired thickness and design ofyour choice

h)Put object in the sun to get dry. This can take 3 ormore days depending on the intensity of the sun.

i)Grind the chalk on stone to besmooth

j)Put chalk intocontainers/corks and put in a bit ofwater.

k)Mix so that the mixture looks like paint or coloured water.

l)Dip cotton bolls intomixture and paint objectwith your desired colour.

m)Allow object in the sun to get dry.


Object produced must not be put into water because main raw material used is paper.

It will fall apart if it gets wet.

Handle object with care else it may easily break.

Answers to some common questions we have been asked

Question 1: What if object is produced on a rainy day?

Answer I: Keep object in a safe place until the sun begins to shine then you can dry theobject.

Answer 2: If you live in an area where people use ovens often e.g cocoa producing areas,when they have finished drying their cocoa put in your object to get dry.

Question 2: I have a very big class (more than 60 students) how possible is it for me to workwith them using paper mash.

Answer: Very possible and easier. Produce one object with some students taking activeparticipation in its production, then put students in groups and ask them to make their own.

Question 3: Do you use gum (glue) in the production process?

Answer: No! Gum once put into water becomes weak and useless

Question 4: I am a religious knowledge/science teacher (chemistry, physics, biology) how canthis paper mash be useful to me?

Answer 1: In religious knowledge you can write important declarations, memory verses andwarnings using paper mash.

Answer 2: In Biology most diagrams can be made using paper mash e.g fish, toad, reptiles andmammals including parts of the human body like the heart and the skull.

In chemistry we can produce and present shapes e.g cube when talking about cubic chloride,hexagon when talking about hexagonal crystals.

It would be interesting to know that in a physics class of about 25 students 5 did not knowwhat solids are. Any object produced with paper mash is solid.

In mathematics fractions can be taught using objects produced from paper mash.

Question 5: I work in the domestic science section of my school. How can paper mash be useful?

Answer: there is a lot of decoration done in the domestic sciences. We can use paper mash todo decoration on the walls and corners of our houses‐we can label different objects in thedomestic science room e.g kitchen utensils, drinking pail, laundry equipment.

Question 6: Can we use different kinds of paper?

Answer: No, because they would not get soft at the same time.

General Remarks

Paper mash can be used for general decoration at home or in school. We could use it to makeknown our wishes to people e.g you are welcome to our home/school.

Paper mash could also be used to indicate directions in building e.g an administrative buildingcould have the following directions; office, secretariat, principal, toilet.