Perfection Is My Enemy

A Chrisitan mom & crafter shares what's worked for her.

Gluten-Free Paper Mache June 2, 2011

Filed under: Birthday Parties!,Frugal,Gluten Free — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 9:00 pm

If no one in your family is gluten-free it may not have occurred to you that even things like paper mache aren’t allowed. Each year, for their birthday parties, I make the boys a pinata. Since Luke was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last year, anything with gluten is out (regular flour is full of gluten). This is a problem for 2 reasons:

One, just the dust from the flour getting on anything that Luke might put in his mouth is enough gluten to make him sick. Don’t think flour causes much dust, just try to scoop a spoonful out of your flour jar in some direct sunlight. It’s amazing how much dust it creates.

And two, I couldn’t put any candy or whistles or silly straws in the pinata because they would come in contact with the flour and then in contact with Luke’s mouth and make him sick.

So, I did a little research and discovered you can make paper mache with corn starch and water. Who knew? It also makes great paste.

To make it, just combine 1 part corn starch to 10 parts water (I just used our smallest little measuring cup, 1/8 cup I think). Heat on medium until it boils. Continue to boil for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally, then let cool. It worked great and I can’t wait to post pictures of the finished product.

Here’s a picture of a tire pinata I did a couple of years ago. I forgot to take a picture of it before the kids started whacking on it, but you get the idea:




3 Responses to “Gluten-Free Paper Mache”

  1. Kristina Williams Says:

    As a preschool teacher with 2 gluten free kiddos, I am in search of ideas of how to make activities safe for all children. They are going to pre-k next year and I am printing all recipes/ideas and passing them on to their new teachers, as well as making copies for their grown ups. It’s amazing how much I didn’t realize they couldn’t do, such as play dough, paper mache, cereal necklaces etc, but I am in tune in this now, and as safe practice, this may be a professional change I make. I learned Rice Flour is the same price in bulk as regular white flour. I also learned gluten free muffins are delish. I will test out your paper mache recipe for this coming weeks craft! Thank you! 🙂

  2. Virginia Justus Says:

    How many layers of paper mache did you end up doing on your pinata? How hard was it to break?

    • Virginia,
      I did 2-3 layers and I think it’s the perfect amount of “breakableness”. We use a foam rubber bat (about the density of a tire) and each kiddo usually gets 2-3 turns before it bursts open.

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