Papier mache Jack-o’-lantern

Papier mache Jack-o’-lantern

What you need:

  • A round balloon
  • Newspaper, torn into 3cm strips about 20cm long
  • Flour and water – to make glue
  • A pan or tray
  • Orange paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Black permanent marker

Number of players:


First, make your papier mache glue: mix ½ cup of flour into ½ cup of water until the mixture is thin and runny.

For a smoother consistency, stir glue mixture into 2 cups of boiling water in a saucepan, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Let the glue cool before using, and then pour into a tray or flat pan.

Blow up a balloon and place the tied end into a bowl or container to keep it steady.

Dip a strip of newspaper in the glue tray, wipe off the excess glue, and wrap the strip around the balloon.

Repeat overlapping your newspaper strips until the balloon is covered in a layer of newspaper down to the balloon tie.

Leave the balloon tie exposed.

Allow to dry overnight and repeat this process twice more, until you have 3 layers of papier-mache around your balloon.

Allow the balloon to dry completely before painting.

Once dry pop the balloon inside your papier-mache shell, remove and discard the balloon.

To make your Jack-o’-lantern sit flat on a surface, place a damp cloth or sponge on the area that will be the base, until it softens slightly (this can take a few hours).

When it is slightly soft, carefully push the bottom in slightly, making an indentation.

This will allow your Jack-o’-lantern to sit flat on a table.

You may like to cut a hole in the top of your Jack-o’-lantern at this point – so you can fill it with treats when it’s finished!

Now’s the time to paint your creation – grab your orange paint and go for it.

Allow to dry.

Eyes, nose and mouth: Younger children can use a marker to draw on the Jack-o’-lantern’s face.

Older kids may be capable of using a craft knife to cut out the facial features of their creation – but be sure an adult is ready to help!

Your papier-mache Jack-o’-lantern is now ready to decorate your front porch or table!


  • Papier-mache is extremely flammable, and is not intended for use with candles or other flammable paraphernalia.
  • You may like to place a small battery-operated light inside your Jack-o’-lantern – just watch it doesn’t become hot. Remove it immediately if you notice any heat – this can be a fire risk.

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