Paper mache idols.

Paper mache Ganesh idols are another eco-friendly alternative to be opted for, after Shaadu Idols. Paper mache idols are prepared by crushing paper and using a specific technique to give hardness and a desired shape.

Then a whiteink powder is used to give an even white coat to the idols surface. After that, eco-friendly colours, which do not harm  marine ecosystem are applied to give life to the idol. Organizations like Aniruddha Upasana trust use colours which are manufactured by Pidilite company. The only artificial substance in such a kind of idol is whiteink powder.

In an experiment to see the result of immersion of such an idol, it became soggy rather quickly once placed in the water tank and lost structural strength to stay upright within an hour. In the next three hours all the paper layers and pulp sank to the bottom and created a layered pile. All the painting on the idol was retained by the layers in the pile and the pile remained intact for two weeks in the quiet waters of the experimental tank. Later on, the mass disintegrates a bit.


Advantages of paper mache idols:

  1. It is comparatively environment friendly
  2. Thus it reduces a great deal of toxins in water which would have entered the ecosystem through POP idols.
  3. Lighter than Shaadu idols.


  1. Not totally eco-friendly as it uses Whiteink powder.
  2. Can still create pollution as the remnants tend to form a pile at the bottom of the lake, sea.


The following process is widely used to make Paper mache idols by various organizations.

Ingredients for the Paper mache idols:

  1. Paper which is crushed in grinder.
  2. Whiteink powder
  3. Powder of gum (which can be added to water to form a paste)
  4. Shankh-jeera powder.
  5. Mixture of oil and soap.
  6. Binding gum (which is readymade)
  7. Small pieces of newspaper.
  8. Rolling pin
  9. Stencil brush
  10. Sandpaper of the number 80 to 120.
  11. Small cup.


 Process for making Paper mache idol :

  1. Remove water from the crushed pulp of paper with the help of a cloth sieve (Paper is soaked in water for 5-6 days, which makes it easy to grind.)
  2. To prepare the gum, gum powder is mixed with cold water. Then it is put into boiling water. After sieving it, It assumes the form of a paste.
  3. Binding gum is mixed with the paper fluff.
  4. The mixture is kneaded well to make it smooth.
  5. Add 2.25 kg of Whiteink powder to this mixture. Knead it well.
  6. Oil and soap is applied to the POP mould of Ganesha to ensure that the paper paste doesn’t stick. If the mould is made up of rubber, then use Shankh-jeera powder instead of oil and soap.
  7. Use a rolling pin to make Roti like structures out of the mixture. Put some Shankh-jeera powder to ensure that the ‘Rotis’ don’t stick to the rolling pin.
  8. Take the ‘Rotis’ and place them inside the moulds. Cover the entire mould in this manner. Press them well with the stencil brush. If there are any gaps or the ‘Rotis’ break while sticking, make a small ‘Roti’ of the mixture and paste it on the gap.
  9. Remove the excess pieces of ‘Roti’ which might come out from the edge of the mould.
  10. Take the newspaper pieces and apply the gum paste to it leaving a space of 1 inch on all sides. Stick these to the paper mixture inside the mould and make two such layers. Take care to see that this is done perfectly and no air gets captured between in the newspaper pieces.
  11. Make long, thin rolls of the remaining paper mixture and paste them to the edges of the mould.
  12. The different pieces of moulds are then bolted together.
  13. Hands are made in separate moulds.
  14. After around one or one and a half day after putting it in sunlight, the mould is removed.
  15. Hands are attached separately with the gum paste.
  16. Sandpaper is used to give it smoothness. Take care to see that the jewellery on the Ganesh Murti isn’t harmed while giving finishing.
  17. After this, colouring process begins using water soluble, eco-friendly colours.



(Picture courtesy- ecoexist )

  1. Sources for the article- Video of Paper mache idol of Aniruddha Upasana trust on
  1. Report of Preventive Environmental Management plan for eco-friendly Ganpati festival prepared by Dr. Shyam R Asolekar, Professor & Head Centre for Environmental Science & Engineering Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B), 2007.