Paper mache (or, more properlly, “Papier-mâché” which is French and translates literally to “chewed paper” because of how it looks) is an art construction material consisting of bits of paper that are stuck together using a sticky wet paste such as starch, glue, or wallpaper adhesive.
The artwork to be crafted turns solid when the paste dries out. Paper mache is one of the easiest do-it-yourself materials to work with because it’s so simple and inexpensive–there’s an excellent chance that you’ve actually already got all the material and equipment necessary to make the required paste at home. I’ve got a very short (under 2 minutes) video here showing you how to make your own paste at home, and then as an added bonus I’ve got one showing you how to make a simple paper mache mask. Here we go:
How to make a paper mache mask
Additional Resources and Further Reading
The best paper mache book I’ve got is, by far, The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano (TLC’s While You Were Out top designer). It’s actually better, in my opinion, than most books that are only about paper mache, plus it covers all sorts of other stuff that beat the crap out of the usual arts and crafts drivel that range from a Warhol-esque Ultrasuede iPod case to photo-adorned boxer shorts to African mask patio chairs to wooden night-light boxes.
You definitely need to check out The Papier Mache Resource which has tons of free articles and tutorials plus an active forum, very cool site.
About.com has also got its own section on paper mache with piles and piles of projects and articles.