Mar 5, 2010

Paper Mache Animals: the Complete "How To"

( Note: there is a special announcement at the bottom of this post.)

 Here is the complete "How To" for  our Paper Mache Doggie (aka Charlie) project. Sorry it took me awhile to pull the tutorial together for this one. As most of my regular readers know, my goal with all my projects and ideas is to make them simple. I must admit, this one (because it required a few days, and several steps) was not the most simple, but it was doable, and my girls had a great time making the Paper Mache Pooch!

Materials Needed:

Newspaper (we used several issues)
Masking tape
Elmers Art Paste is best (we used regular Elmer's Glue, but not as ideal)

How To (Making a Dog):

Step One: Forming the "Frame"

1. Forming the Head:
Ball up an oval shape for the Dog's head. To help form the oval-ball, use the masking tape to cover, and wrap around while forming the oval. This is a part of the process where older children can handle it themselves, but younger children can certainly assist in wrapping the tape around the newspaper oval-ball. 
2. Forming the body:
Ball-up two round balls for the body of the dog. Repeat the same process, forming the shape of the newspaper balls with the tape. 
3.Forming the feet: 
Keep folding one sheet of paper in half until you form a small rectangle approx. 3" by 5" inches, cover with tape and bend slightly while covering. Repeat 3 more times to form 4 feet.
4. Forming the hind legs: 
Make two small ovals, cover with tape. 
5. Forming the ears:
 Using one sheet of newspaper fold until you form a triangle. cover with tape to hold form. 
6. Forming the tail
Using 1/2 sheet of newspaper, fold into a narrow triangle. Cover with tape, twirling the top of the triangle to make it pointy and wrapping the tape around the twirl to hold the form. 
7. Attach all Body parts:
Attach the body parts using the tape. Wrap the tape around ad around the "joints" and smash together to connect. Tape over and over again until you feel all parts are securely connected. Don't stress about perfection. Paper Mache is supposed to look folk-art-like and not completely anatomically correct. I used this part of the process to ask my girls, "Where do the ears go?" and "What is missing now?" 

Pitfall to Avoid: Make sure to use masking tape. I ran out of masking tape (used half a roll) so I just used another tape (with a VERY slick surface) and it didn't work well for allowing the Paper Mache to stick. We had to do several more layers of Paper Mache to make sure Charlie was completely covered. 

Step Two: Making the Paper Mache Paste and Covering the Dog

1. Making the Paste:
Mix 3/4 white glue to 1/4 water. We used a large rectangular plastic container to mix the paste and dip our paper. 

2. The Paper:
Cut strips of Paper. I cut the strips the length of the paper, cutting up the middle to separate the large sheet and then cutting down the sides to form smaller strips. 

3. Dipping and Layering
This part gets messy, so be prepared. The good news is that Elmers Glue cleans up easily afterwards. Dip the strips in the glue and layer on the body of the figure. You might have to dip (and remove the excess drippy paste) then hand to your children for layering. My children, ages 3 and 4 were really great at the layering part.  Be sure to wrap strips snuggly around the joints and tiny parts. I dipped my hands in paste (not diluted) and smeared on top for added adhesive measure around the areas that looked like they needed help. 
4. Drying:
Once Covered, allow to dry overnight. I laid the figure on an old plastic placemat for drying.
 5. Checking and Possibly Layering More:
Check the figure in the morning to ensure it has completely dried. If need be, touch up any areas that might need extra attention. 

Step Three: Painting
Once the figure is completely dry, choose a paint that is age appropriate for your children. I actually painted the body in a layer of acrylic white paint, then allowed to dry and used some kid-friendly non-toxic paints for the children to help me with Charlie's spots, and other details. We used the top of an old spice jar and dipped it in paint to form Charlie's spots and eyes. We then painted the ears black, and filled the spots in with bright colors. 

Allow to dry overnight, then pet your pooch in the morning! 

Please feel free to comment or send me an email if you need additional guidance with this project!

I am working on a new blog (connected to this one) called How To Salsa Pie that will house all my future "How To's", starting with my next project. There is a need for this kind of blog as I realized with this post. It will strictly be a Tutorial Blog, so when I have future projects that I post about here, you will be able to click a link to my How To Salsa Pie blog and get the full scoop--and detailed instructions if you wish. That way, you can just scroll through this blog for ideas, and inspiration and get the complete info on the other site if the project is something you want to try. 
Stay tuned!

Pin It!


Susan Anderson said...

I'm going to direct my daughter-in-law to your site. She is always doing crafty things with her kids, and they will love this!


Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

So fun! I am POSSIBLY going to attempt this (have I mentioned that I am not crafty? I know, I know...I can start...) He is SO cute! SO glad you are feeling better and I love the idea of a new blog. Yeah for you!!!!