How Long Does Paper Mache Take To Dry ? Fast Ways To Dry Paper Mache

I’m using elmer’s glue & I’m on my 3rd layer already but hasn’t dried yet. I’m unsure if to pop the balloon already or to start decorating it if it’s not gonna dry.

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Answer from Piñata Boy

The drying time depends on a lot of factors, including temperature, humidity, and air flow. On hot Texas summer days I’ve had layers dry in as little as about 30 minutes, but if it’s cold or humid out, it can take more than 24 hours for a layer to fully dry. Most of the time if I’m working outside in the summer I expect it to take 2-3 hours for a layer to dry. I like to set a small fan blowing on the wet papier mâché whenever I can — that really helps speed up the drying process.

If you apply a new layer on top of a layer that hasn’t fully dried it can take even longer for the moisture to work its way out, so in the long run patience (and a fan!) is the best way to go.

Don’t pop the balloon if the papier mâché is still wet, because the piñata will likely collapse in on itself if you do. That has happened to me more than once when I got impatient.

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8 Responses to “Does it really take 24 hours for the layers to dry?”


PatriciaOctober 23rd, 2016

Making pinata at school for art lesson only have 3 days to complete so they could fill them and take them home on 4 th day. Is this possible?



Piñata BoyOctober 23rd, 2016

Yes, it’s possible if you keep the piñatas simple and small. Each one should be based on only one balloon, and then made special in the decorating, like the piñatas shown here:

I recommend the students apply two layers of papier mâché on the first day, one more on day two, and then on the third day pop the balloon and decorate. This will work better if you have fans to help speed the drying and if you’re able to turn the piñatas throughout the day to help them dry all the way around. If this is a class and the students are only able to work on their piñatas for about an hour each day, you’ll want to do as much of the preparation work ahead of time as possible.

Normally I make my hanging hooks industrial strength so they don’t fail when hanging large and heavy piñatas, but if you’re making small piñatas you don’t need as elaborate of a hanging hook as the ones I describe on this site. You might even be able to do as some web sites suggest and simply punch two small holes near the top and run a length of string through them.

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Good luck!



joanne clelandAugust 2nd, 2018

I have put 2 layers of paper mache on my balloon it as been 24 hours for it to i painted and let it dry then i popped the top balloon its still soft in places but hasnt collaseped is their any way for me to harden it plz


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