Paper Mache is such a versatile material to use in crafting.   For example, here is a great recycled craft project that used paper mache and plastic bottles to make an incredible rain stick for kids to enjoy.

paper mache

Here’s another fun post in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, an Amazon Rain Stick made with paper mache!   As I mentioned before, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates lots of countries so today we will take you down to South America to the Amazon Jungle.  I love that we get to share with our children how diverse the world is around them.  By exploring different Hispanic cultures they will also realize at this young age that Hispanics/Latinos entails such a variety of people, languages and countries. Before we dive into our fun Paper Mache Rain Stick recycled craft I want to share with a lovely book that goes great with this craft, we enjoy reading it to our boys: The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.   We have had the joy of visiting a part of the Amazon Jungle and it truly is lush green just like the movies and story books picture it.  We were not deep in the jungle so we didn’t get to see any ferocious animal, thank God.  The illustrations in this book are amazing but it’s much more beautiful in real life. In the book we discover how a man learns to preserve our earth, our trees, and our forest. This man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, a variety of jungle animals, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear all living things depend on one another.”  When he awakes he realizes he must keep the forest alive, the animals alive, the people alive.

Supplies for Making a Rain Stick

All you need for this easy craft are:
  • 2 recycled water bottles (the size we used 1.5 liter bottles)
  • rice
  • newspaper
  • glue
  • cardboard strips
  • masking tape
  • paint

Paper Mache

We will first need to create the paper mache goo. To make the paper mache, just mix equal parts of glue and flour.   You might also consider this other paper mache recipe but it is a bit more comp Mix and mix until it’s not lumpy. I must admit the last time I made this stuff I was in elementary school so the thought of making paper mache anything was a bit daunting. I kept putting it off and my son would remind me. It wasn’t hard at all, I had just built it up to be overwhelming and tedious but it wasn’t especially since we were using a base that was going to stay in.

recycled craft

My little guy helped me mix this up and thankfully with some supervision there wasn’t paper mache goo everywhere. I used an old water bottle to mix it up and I cut it high so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it overflowing when he mixed.

Rain Stick

1. Make sure your bottles are dry inside. I made the mistake of not checking first and some of the rice got stuck. 2. Cut strips of cardboard (I used a cereal box) and then fold them like an accordion and slip some in that aren’t folded.  See picture above. This will slow down the rice when it’s turned over and help it have more of a rain effect than a splash of rice sound. 3. Using a funnel place 2 cups or more of rice in the bottle. 4. Tape both ends of the bottles with masking tape. Test your rice and make sure there is plenty of rice.   If not, undo the tape, place more rice and re-tape the rain stick.

rain stick

How To Paper Mache

1. Using a paintbrush add paper mache goo to the bottles and place strips of newspaper over it. Keep doing this until the whole bottle is covered. Once my little man got tired I went behind him and patched it up and added glue or newspaper where needed.  Let it dry.   It was a hot day so ours dried in less than 30 minutes.

paper mache craft

2. When it’s dry you will start the painting process. We used similar colors that are in the Great Kapok Tree book for our rain stick. Once it is finished, relax as you listen to the beautiful sounds of the Amazon rain.   Enjoy!

boy with rain stick

Paper Mache turned this recycled craft into a beautiful rain stick.   Here are a few more great recycled craft ideas:

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