Make DIY Paper-Mâché Food On A Stick

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up as we take a stroll down the Midway! Feast your eyes on our selection of blue-ribbon paper-mâché food on a stick! And try your luck at a game of artistry and creative invention, DIY’ing a set of your very own faux foods (can’t you almost see the twinkling lights of the ferris wheel and hear the carousel music…).

Our DIY paper-mache food-on-a-stick art projects laying on a white background.

With state fair season in full swing, we thought we’d break out the newspaper, craft sticks, and paint to turn a bunch of leftover art supplies into the fair feast of our DREAMS. Here in Minnesota, when it comes to fair food, there’s *nothing* we won’t put on a stick.

DIY Paper Mache Food Craft – Table of Contents

So with that spirit in mind, we decided to celebrate some classic family favorites and concocted a stick of raspberry-drizzled donut holes, a classic corn dog, a baked potato on a stick (because, why not!). And everyone’s favorite, one ginormous salty and wonderful dill pickle on a stick.

Watch the video to make your DIY paper-mâché food sculptures along with us!

This deliciously fun art project is an excellent chance to explore imaginative uses for familiar supplies and gives young artists an opportunity to experiment with new art processes.

Our DIY paper-mache food-on-a-stick art projects displayed in front of a light pink background.

In my opinion, the loveliest part of this kids’ paper mache project is that any outcome can easily become a huge artistic win with just a smidge of imagination. Case in point: our baked potato was actually our first attempt at a corn dog (!).

Creating the paper forms can feel a bit unfamiliar at first, but it’s incredible how ANY shape can transform into some type of food on a stick.

Totally feeling this fair food? Design your own mini food truck as a companion art project, or experiment with other faux food supplies by making paper bag ice cream cone soft sculptures.

To make your own paper-mâché food-on-a-stick you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • A few sheets of Newspaper or similar
  • Masking tape
  • A 3/16-inch x 12-inch wooden dowel rod
  • A hot glue gun
  • Paint (Tempera or acrylic paints)
  • Decorative supplies like yarn, paper scraps, tissue paper, etc.


Makes 1 or 2 paper mache food sculptures

  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Note: Making paper-mâché art can get a little messy (in the best way!) so be sure to smock up and work on a protected surface.

I found that it was also helpful to create a simple cardboard DIY drying/painting stand – just poke a small hole in the middle of an old cardboard shoebox or similar. Your kiddo can pop their paper-mâché food in this to dry or use it to hold their food-on-a-stick upright while painting.

*For those considering gluten allergies and airborne particles or contact dermatitis, swap out the flour paste recipe for a glue-based mixture instead. I grew up using the glue recipe, and it always worked like a charm – the only downside is that it uses quite a bit of glue. Mix up a 1:1 ratio of water and Elmer’s Glue (or a similar type of “school glue”).

How to Make Paper Mâché Food On A Stick Sculptures – DIY Instructions:

Our DIY paper-mache food-on-a-stick art projects laying on a white background.

Crunch a few newspaper pages into balls to soften.

Crunch a few newspaper pages into balls to soften

This might seem like a strange first step, but I find it helpful to scrunch the newspaper pages used to create our forms into a tight ball, undo, and repeat a couple of times. This softens the newspaper making it more pliable and easier to form into different types of shapes,

Create your simple food forms.

Create your simple food forms

Once you have the food you’d like to make in mind, mold newspaper around your dowel rod into a simple form. You can slowly build up the layers of newspaper, taping on specific shapes or balls, using masking tape to hold your forms together.

Cut newspaper into strips.

Cut newspaper into strips

Cut or tear thin strips of newspaper or similar (old notebook paper or paper lunch bags work too!). Ours were about a 1/2-inch to 1-inch in width and 5 to 6 inches long.

It’s best to have your strips ready to go and basic forms finished before you mix up the paper-mâché paste so the mixture doesn’t dry out while you’re working on the other pieces.

Mix the paper mâché paste.

Mix the paper-mâché paste

Mix the paste for your paper mache in a shallow container (I like to use an old square takeout container or something similar).

The simple formula is equal parts flour and water plus one half-tablespoon of salt for every cup of flour to help preserve the paste. There ARE other recipes if you’d prefer not to use flour (glue-based is a popular one), but this is my favorite as it doesn’t use too much of any one supply, and I always have everything I need for it.

Wrap your forms in paste-dipped newspaper strips.

Wrap your forms in paste-dipped newspaper strips

Drag your newspaper strips through the paper mache paste mixture (this is where a shallow container comes in handy). Make sure your strip is coated, then gently squeeze the excess off the strip. Apply to your food form, slowly building up the layers of newspaper.

Note: You may find it easier to have squares of newspaper to cover up some spots – you can tear strips into any shape that’s easiest for you to work with!

Let dry completely.

Let dry completely

I’d recommend giving these at least two to three full days (if not more) to dry completely. I had mine sitting outside in the sun for two days, and they dried out after 48 hours, but depending on the humidity and size, it may take yours a little longer or a bit shorter.

Once dry, make sure your food is securely attached to the stick. Mine needed a few dots of hot glue to stay in place, and this is the time to secure it to the stick with glue if you need to.

Paint your paper mache food.

Paint you paper-cache food on a stick

Use acrylic or tempera paint to cover your paper-mâché food forms. This is a fun way to experiment with different painting supplies to create unique textures!

You can use a foam brush to paint flat coats, use different styles of paintbrushes to mix colors right on the food, or use a sponge to add texture (as we did for our corn dog).

Add decorative details and food flourishes!

Add details to your paper-mache fair food.

Here’s where your paper-mâché food REALLY begins to look good enough to eat! For this particular trio of fair foods, we used a variety of art techniques and supplies to give our food a fun semi-realistic look.

For instance, the corn dog was decorated with a ribbon of “ketchup”. Our baked potato got a scrap of thick white yarn “sour cream” and green construction paper “chive” bits. Our donut holes were decorated with a fun drizzle of pink paint when we cut a tiny slice of the corner off a plastic baggie and squeezed a dollop of paint through it (just like the real thing).

For the pickle, I tore thin strips of green tissue paper and affixed them to the pickle using a foam brush dipped in Elmer’s school glue. Once I was done creating the pickled lines, I added the bummy texture by making dark green dots using the ends of a Q-tip. I then when BACK over each dot with a light green dab – giving it that 3D illusion of raised bumps.

For this set of paper mâché food, I went for a bit of realism just to demonstrate different techniques for creating food textures with basic art supplies. But half the fun of this deliciously creative kids’ art project is letting your imagination run wild down the Midway!

Paper Mache Fair Food Inspiration

You can try your hand at something you’ve seen (maybe cotton candy, a soft pretzel, caramel apple, or some kind of kebab). Or take a walk on the wild fried side with deep-fried pb&j, chicken and waffles, siracha empanadas, or even white chocolate-covered bugs on a stick.

Or sculpt something the carnival food scene has NEVER witnessed before! The crazier, the better because the beauty of paper-mâché food is that no one actually has to eat it. Get gourmet, get goofy, get gross. It’s all up to you! Grab some inspiration from this tour of Minnesota State Fair foods on sticks (courtesy of Bon Appetit).

Our DIY paper-mache food-on-a-stick art projects sitting on paper plates in front of a candy apple red background.

Ways to Use This DIY Play Food Project

1. Use for Market or County Fair Dramatic Play

Whether at home or in a classroom, you can use your artistic creations as part of a dramatic play market or fair where kids can display and “sell” their paper mache food items. This can be an engaging way to teach children about commerce while having fun with crafts.

2. Make for a School Art Show or as Ice Cream Social Props

The DIY paper mache fair food crafts can be used as charming table centerpieces or decorations at an ice cream social, adding a playful and festive ambiance. They can also serve as props for photo booths, making the event fun, engaging, and memorable for attendees.

3. Use as Storytelling Props for Bookish Play

The paper mache foods can act as props for storytelling or dramatic play sessions. Kids can use the crafts in their play scenarios, enhancing their creative storytelling abilities.

4. Use as Part of a Summer Library Book Display

Pair the paper mache food-on-a-stick crafts with related books in the library. This can pique children’s interest and encourage them to read books they may not have considered before.

5. Use as DIY Photobooth Props

Kids, parents, and teachers can use these crafts as props in a fun photoshoot. This can be a memorable experience and create lovely keepsakes.

Our DIY paper-mache food-on-a-stick art projects displayed in front of a candy apple red background.

Ideas for a Fair or Carnival-Themed School Art Show

Incorporating this project into a carnival-themed school art show can make for an immersive, interactive, and highly engaging experience, providing students with an opportunity to showcase their creativity and teamwork while learning and having fun.

Step 1: Introduction and Inspiration: Teachers can begin by introducing the carnival theme and the concept of fair foods typically seen at these events. They can show images of real fair foods and pictures of paper mache food sculptures as sources of inspiration. Students can be encouraged to think creatively about the types of food they’d like to make.

Step 2: Creation Process: In art classes leading up to the event, teachers can guide students through the paper mache process step-by-step, using this craft as an opportunity to teach them about the fundamentals of 3D art, texture, color, and form. The students can then use these skills to create their own paper mache food-on-a-stick.

Step 3: Collaboration: To promote teamwork, students could work in groups to create larger installations, like a paper mache food stand or an entire mini-fair scene, contributing their individual food items to the collective display.

Step 4: Pre-Event Preparation: Students can help in setting up the art show by arranging their crafts in creative displays, setting up “food stalls” around the exhibition area, and creating colorful signage and pricing (for a mock commerce experience).

Step 5: The Art Show: On the day of the art show, the school can be transformed into a carnival, with students’ paper mache food-on-a-stick crafts as the stars of the show. Parents and visitors can “buy” the paper mache food using mock currency, making it an interactive experience. This would not only give students a chance to show off their work but also engage the entire school community in appreciating the creativity and effort behind the artwork.

Step 6: Reflection: Post-event, teachers can lead a reflection discussion in the classroom, allowing students to share their experiences, what they enjoyed, and what they learned through this project. This not only concludes the project on a positive note but also fosters a sense of accomplishment among the students.

Need some ideas for MORE fun art projects you can make with kids for a carnival art show? Here are a few projects to fire up your imagination…

More DIY Faux Food Crafts

For more entertaining faux food projects, visit the DIY for our cardboard French market food, use simple supplies to create your own play sushi set, or make something you can actually sink your teeth into with these delish mini hamburger cookie treats.

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

Sign up for the newsletter!

Enter your email address below to have our latest kids projects delivered right to your inbox!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *